Having written a lot about the Paiute ATV Trail System this year, I thought that an overview of the system and what it means to Utah might be of interest. While the greatest impact relates to the four counties in which the trail system resides, other trail systems have been or are in development as a direct result of the success of the Paiute System within the state of Utah.
A ride on the Paiute Trails has been described as “a unique, fun, and exciting motorized riding experience.” I wish that I had said that, because that is what it is.
The fact that these trails connect 16 communities on 682 miles of side trails where key services are available is part of why that statement is true. There is no need to carry extra gas because these towns are close enough together to fill up when you need it.
You don’t need to camp unless you want to. A variety of motels provide a comfortable bed and a hot shower. I have packed an ATV with everything I need to go camping and cooking before and I could barely see over the cargo to negotiate the trail. I prefer a real bed and hot shower.
Plenty of restaurants with hot meals are scattered throughout these communities. They offer menus from fast food to home cooked meals.
The main Paiute trail makes a 238 mile loop through Sevier, Millard, Piute, and Beaver Counties. It crosses three mountain ranges – the Tushars, Phavant, and Monroe. From the lowest point on the trail at 5,200 feet, a rider will climb to 11,450 feet and witness spectacular views.
In addition to the views from the tops of the mountains, there is a variety of historic sites to be explored, wild life in abundance, wild flowers, red rock country, and fall colors. Four jamborees during the year showcase things to be discovered on the Paiute Trails.
Ties to the Great Western Trail, the Arapeen Trails, Freemont, the Paunsagunt, and the Markagunt Trail Systems, make this the largest interconnected motorized trail system in the country.
The Paiute Trail Committee has information on the number of riders using the system that was gathered with trail counters and cameras. The data goes back to 1995 when ATV technology was fairly primitive. That year saw 23,660 riders. I say primitive because one machine meant one rider.
The latest information was published in 2017 where the number of riders exceeded the number of machines. The popularity of UTVs that can handle from two to six riders made it necessary to count the riders separate from the machines. The 2017 numbers were 162,000 riders riding 110,164 machines.
Those numbers become very significant when discussing the economic impact on the four counties mentioned. Here is an accounting of the money spent in three different groups of riders:
Riders from outside the state of Utah spend an average of $338.77 per day
Riders from within the state of Utah spend an average of $78.32 per day
Local riders within the four counties spend an average of $55.34 per day
When the number of riders is connected with the money spent in 2017, it was a staggering 32 million dollars.
Where do they spend it? It goes for lodging, accessories, repairs, food, ATV rentals, and fuel.
It is little wonder that other counties in Utah are looking for ways to attract the ATV community. Tooele County along with Utah and San Pete Counties are promoting their 847 mile Prospector Trail System. The Shoshone Trail System in Cache County has become a very popular place for Northern Utah riders.
New trail systems are being mapped out to provide more riding opportunities. The Badlands Trail System, which will take off from the Avintaquin Campground located atop Indian Canyon off Highway 191 between Duchesne and Helper has 300 miles of trail to ride and is growing every year.
The High Desert Trail in Southern Utah will be open soon. That will make it possible to ride from near Tooele on the Prospector Trails south to near St. George on dirt trails.
The ATV community wants to have trails to ride and they are spending thousands of dollars on machines and accessories to ride them. They also have money to spend on the trail. When you go take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and go explore Utah’s ATV trails.