We are a week into the new year and if you have pickled your machine thinking there is no place to ride, you have made a big mistake. The hustle and bustle of Christmas is behind us and planning a January ATV trip is just the thing to fight the winter blahs.
My friend Ty Tyler of Roy just spent a day out on the Pony Express Trail last weekend. He reported little snow and temperatures in the 40s — great conditions for a fun day on the trail.
I began checking my weather app and found several great places to ride with temperatures in the high 50s. These places are in Southern Utah and you have to watch the weather carefully to avoid bad road conditions between here and there, but that is part of the challenge. If you are flexible, you can have a successful trip.
As my friend learned, there are also places close by that can provide a good day ride. Remember, the days are shorter, so don’t plan on an early start. Stop for breakfast or even an early lunch and let the day warm up. The best temperatures are in the afternoon.
Look for places with lower elevations, sandy trails and lots of bare rock. The sun reflecting off the sand and rock can make a 10-degree difference in what the temperature feels like. Here are some places to consider close by:
Little Sahara Sand Dunes near Delta
While I am not a big fan of sand, there are trails in the area that are quite fun. The Cherry Creek Trails, for example, are worth the trip. A cloudy day can make for a cold ride, but if the sun is shining, you will enjoy the day.
The Pony Express Trail and Five Mile Pass west of Lehi
These two areas are fairly close together. In fact, one route to the Pony Express Trails goes through Five Mile Pass. The lower elevations make them attractive to visit on a sunny day. While the Pony Express Trail is a route, Five Mile Pass has so many trails that it will take a long time to ride all of them. Later in the year, it is fun to ride from Five Mile Pass to Eureka.
About halfway to Wendover is a little place called Delle. It is a good place to ride in the winter, but you have to watch the temperatures.
There is some interesting history in Delle — the Donner-Reed party passed through here in 1846 on their way to California. Their trail is marked to follow through the Cedar Mountains.
Now for places to go for more than a day:
Mount Carmel Junction
Located on Highway 89 at the junction with State Road 9, the temperatures are in the 50s and there are good accommodations in town. Just south of the golf course, there is a road that drops into the river bottoms to a nice staging area. From here, the trail goes in and out of the Virgin River several times and then climbs the slick rock through some amazing vistas.
This Southern Utah town has nice temperatures and access to some very fun places to ride. You can ride right from town to the Hurricane Sands and also have access to Sand Hollow State Park. East of town, there is Lost Springs Mesa with its fascinating water glyphs, and to the north, you can ride to see the Toquerville Falls.
While St. George is close to Hurricane, Washington County has many trails to enjoy. The Joshua Tree Trails, the Gunlock Trails and trails off the Black Rock exit, to name a few. To get a better list, Google “Tri-State Jamboree newspaper” and go to the ride map.
As long as you are in St. George, things are only warmer in Mesquite and the rooms are less expensive. While you do need a permit to ride Nevada trails, it is a small price to pay for the fun.
As long as you are in Mesquite, you are close to the Logandale Trails and they are even warmer. Located south of Mesquite, these trails are fun to explore. Ride through prominent dark red rock formations dotted with rock windows and pink sand; it is like being in another world.
When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and get out and enjoy this mild winter weather.