Being a sucker for adventure, I thought, “Who wouldn’t want to ride the Mad Dog ATV trail?” It was the second day of the Beaver ATV Adventure Days sponsored by the city of Beaver, Utah, and the Tushar Mountain ATV Club and I had signed up for the Mad Dog ride.
The trail took us south of town on a frontage road on the east side of I-15. “This is interesting,” I thought. As many times as I have made the trip south on the interstate, each time I have seen this frontage road I have wondered where it went. Well, today I found out.
Following that road to exit 100 on I-15, we came to a kiosk marking this as a section of the Old Spanish Trail, a 700-mile trade route between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Southern California. It saw extensive use by pack trains between 1830 and the mid-1850s. I enjoy touching a piece of history when I ride in the back country.
Leaving the frontage road, we headed east a short distance on the Freemont Road and then turned south toward Anderson Mountain. We made a turn into a nameless canyon on a fun trail that wound through a forest of juniper trees.
As I followed, it seemed to me that the trail was becoming fainter by the minute. It was, and soon there was no trail at all. I knew how the leader felt so I didn’t say a word, thinking about all the rides I have led down the wrong road.
Back on the right trail, we passed Anderson Mountain on our right and turned left into Buckskin Valley. This was a very rocky trail.
I have been on rocky trails before, but they all seem to be a little different. Some have big boulders to crawl over, while others have had large rocks that you have to work around. I have been on smooth trails that are spiked with occasional rocks that take the fun out of zipping along.
This trail took me back to my childhood, when I would climb into the family car and yank the steering wheel back and forth while bouncing up and down on the seat. “Look, Dad, I’m driving.” Well, here I was yanking the steering wheel back and forth and bouncing up and down on the seat of my ATV. The rocks were closely arranged and just big enough that you just had to bounce over them.
I noticed something that reminded me of a ride out of Mesquite, Nevada, to the Grand Gulch Mine back in February. I seemed to be losing my ground clearance. Rocks I should be clearing were hitting the undercarriage. On that ride, a sharp rock had pierced my left front tire.
We rode a section of the Burnt Peak Road as we passed Burnt Peak. We were about a mile from Highway 20 when we turned east to Dog Valley. One of the other riders pointed out a low tire on my Ace. It was the same one that I had plugged on the Mesquite ride. In this case, the rocky trail proved to be more than my patch job could handle.
The line halted by Dog Valley while I attended to my tire. I put enough plugs into the hole to make it look like a big wart in the tread and it was still leaking air. A fellow rider came forth with a can of slime that seemed to stop the leak.
When I asked about the conditions of the rest of the trail, I was told that it wasn’t going to be getting any better. Not sure if the fix on my tire would hold up to more of the same, I turned back with my friend Willis Little.
Here is where I learned about how the trail got its name. The ride goes around Dog Valley and you have to be mad to take this rocky trail.
The ride guide put us on the Freemont Road and told us that it would take us back to exit 100 on I-15. This turned out to be a fun and pretty trail. We went over Freemont Pass and through Freemont Canyon.
We made it back to Beaver finishing a ride of about 62 miles. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and drive a UTV with big tires and good suspension.