With summer winding down, we still have the best part of the ATV riding season to enjoy. Utah offers some 75,000 miles of trails to ride and some of the most spectacular scenery available to enjoy.
Here are some that I think are family-friendly and include reasons to get away and enjoy quality time together. By family-friendly, I mean nontechnical trails that allow you to focus on the scenery instead of trying to keep the rubber side down.
The Paiute ATV Trail System
Designed with riders in mind, the towns are linked in this trail system and ready to provide lodging, food and fuel. No town is more than 50 miles from another and each one provides access to services on routes especially designated for ATVs.
With Salina on the north end and Circleville on the south, this trail system provides access to the Pavant and Tushar Mountains to the west and Monroe Mountain to the east. The views at an elevation of over 11,000 feet on the Tushar Mountains are unforgettable.
I recommend getting the National Geographic map of the trail system for accurate information. The trails are marked with green circles for easy trails, blue squares for more difficult and black diamonds for most difficult routes. Most of these trails are easy to ride and take you into peaceful forests and mountain settings.
The Arapeen Trail System
Situated between Ferron and Castle Dale to the east and Manti and Ephraim on the west, The Arapeen trails traverse the Manti La-Sal National Forest. The backbone of this trail system is the Skyline Trail that travels from I-70 on the north to Salina on the south. Much of the Skyline follows the tops of the ridges proffering amazing views into the valleys on both sides of the trail.
Featuring over 50 opportunities to fish for a variety of trout, including the aggressive tiger trout in secluded mountain lakes, this trail system is a great place to get away and spend some time with your family. Plenty of camping facilities are available, or you can stay in town at a motel and enjoy hot meals at a variety of restaurants.
The San Rafael Swell
A little more remote, the Swell is a maze of washes with sheer towering walls and deep rock canyons. Full of history, from evidence of dinosaurs to mining with Anasazi rock art in between, the scenery is a stark contrast to what you will find on the mountain trails.
The spring and fall seasons offer the best weather for riding the Swell. While the elevation is about 6,000 feet, the summer sun can turn the rock canyons into ovens.
The towns of Green River, Ferron and Castle Dale offer easy access to the trails while providing services to make your trip more enjoyable. It is important to note that Ferron is not a dependable place to get gas.
Located near the Bullfrog Marina on Lake Powell, the Ticaboo Resort offers a great place to stay while exploring trails in Southern Utah. The rooms are comfortable and restaurants are close by. Staff will provide information on trails and places to ride. The fall is a great time to ride this area—not only is the weather cooler, but the off-season rates are better.
The Paunsaugunt Trails
Bryce Canyon National Park provides a beautiful backdrop for the Paunsaugunt Trails. Casto Canyon is northeast of Panguitch and features a trail that traverses the beauty of Bryce Canyon, but it is outside of the park.
Facilities are available at Ruby’s Inn and Foster’s near the entrance to the park, or in Panguitch. The trail is easy and runs around Tropic Reservoir and on a track near the border of the park with views of the canyon.
The Eureka Trails
Located west of Lehi, Eureka is full of mining history. Trails go on loops from town all around the Desert Mountains. Old rail beds make for easy riding and one of them even takes you through an old tunnel cut through the mountain. Fall is a great time to explore these mining trails and you can stop in town for a hot meal.
When you go take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, take your family and get out of town.