UTAH’S ULTIMATE OFF-ROAD ADVENTURE: TOP 12 RIDING DESTINATIONS FOR SIDE-BY-SIDES & ATVS
UTAH’S ULTIMATE OFF-ROAD ADVENTURE: TOP 12 RIDING DESTINATIONS FOR UTVs & ATVS
We love to ride our side-by-sides and ATVs in a variety of states, but Utah is one of our favorites. From scenic mountains full of trails to the ride wide-open desert to multiple unique sand-dune areas to the red rocks where you can test your crawling skills, Utah has it all. This ATV/UTV-friendly state even allows legal riding around towns and some cities as long as you check local laws beforehand.
We’ve broken down a list of our favorite spots in Utah. The list includes all sorts of terrain, so you are certain to read about whatever type of riding you like to do.
1. AMERICAN FORK CANYON
American Fork Canyon offers miles of OHV trails, ranging from dirt roads to single-track trails. American Fork Canyon is widely known for the singletrack motorcycle trails, but it also offers stunning views and roads wide enough for ATVs and UTVs. ATV and UTV/SxS trails, including dirt roads and designated ATV trails, are considered to be of moderate difficulty, although they do include steep drop-offs and edges. Visitors should explore the trails that lead to locations like Silver Lake, Mineral Basin, Cascade Springs, Mill Hollow, Snake Creek Canyon and Soldier Hollow. For more information on American Fork Canyon, see www.stateparks.utah.gov
2. ARAPEEN OHV TRAIL SYSTEM: The Arapeen OHV trail system is located in Sanpete County, two hours south of Salt Lake City, Utah, and includes 750,000 acres of national forest on the Manti Mountain and hundreds of trails to explore on your ATV, motorcycle or UTV. This location is ideal during the summer or for a weekend getaway. You can access the trails from the towns of Fairview, Mt. Pleasant, Spring City, Ephraim, Manti, Sterling, and Mayfield. For more information on the Arapeen OHV trail system, visit www.sanpete.com/pages/atv.
3. CASTO CANYON OHV TRAILS: Casto Canyon, located in Panguitch, Utah, allows you to explore the sandstone cliffs that range in color from white, pink and green while enjoying a nice trail ride on your ATV, motorcycle or UTV. These OHV trails allow you to travel through pine trees and can easily connect you to the Fremont ATV trail. Once on the Fremont trail you can go south and get to Tropic Reservoir and the Great Western trail or head north to the Paiute ATV trail system that is also on our list. For more information on the Casto Canyon trail, visit www.utah-trails.com/casto-canyon-trail.
4. CORAL PINK SAND DUNES STATE PARK: The Coral Pink sand dunes are located just north of Kanab and are easily accessible right off of the freeway. The sand dunes include 1200 acres of red sand in which junipers and pine grow—a very unique site to behold. This riding location also offers a campground with paved roads, restrooms, showers and a sewage dump station. This location is ideal for the whole family, as it is convenient but also full of great riding for ATVs, motorcycles and UTVs. For more information on the Coral Pink sand dunes state park, visit www.stateparks.utah.gov/parks/coral-pink/.
5. FIVE MILE PASS OHV AREA: Located 25 miles west of Lehi, Utah, Five Mile Pass is a popular riding location for ATVs, UTVs and motorcycles. This OHV area allows riders to explore many types of terrain, including hills, washes, desert and mountain terrain. For day users there is a large parking area with many accessible dirt roads for riding and camping. Plans are currently in the works to install facilities, including water and developed campgrounds, but it’s a good idea to come prepared until then. Currently, there are four new restrooms on site. For more information on the Five Mile Pass OHV area, visit www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/salt_lake/recreation/off-high way_vehicle/fivemile_pass.html
6. KNOLLS OHV AREA: The Knolls OHV area is about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City, Utah, and only 45 miles east of Wendover, Nevada. This diverse area consists of white sand dunes, mud flats, trails and hills cascading over 30,000 acres of land. This land is managed by the BLM and is open for riding and camping year round. The cost to ride this location is $6 a day and $40 for an annual pass. There are toilet facilities available, but no running water. For more information on the Knolls OHV area, visit www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/salt_lake/recreation/off-highway_vehicle/knolls__srma_.html
7. LITTLE SAHARA SAND DUNES: Little Sahara sand dunes located in Jericho, Utah, has been named one of Utah’s premier riding destinations. This recreation area includes 60,000 acres of large sand dunes (up to 700 feet), trails and rocky hills. Sand Mountain is a drag racer’s paradise where you can bring your machine and race it against the fastest machines Utah has to offer. When riding here, it is a requirement to use whip flags. A day-use fee or an annual permit are also required. When camping or just riding, the main staging areas include Sand Mountain, White Sands, Oasis and Jericho. The best time to ride this area is spring, summer or fall. For more information on the Little Sahara sand dunes, visit www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/fillmore/recreation/special_recreation/little_ sahara_recreation.html.
8. MILL CANYON OHV TRAILS: Mill Canyon, just west of Midway, Utah, in the Wasatch Mountains, is best to ride during late spring through early fall. The staging area can be found north of Soldier Hollow golf course and includes parking and restrooms. These trails stretch across 75 miles of mountains. An added bonus to the great mountain views are the chances to spot wildlife, such as deer, elk, moose, coyote, eagles, hawks and black bears. It is best to visit this area during the late spring through the early fall. Some of the best camping can be in the Wasatch Mountain State Park, American Fork Canyon and Little Deer Creek Campground. Also, these trails can be accessed from surrounding areas such as Soldier Hollow, Snake Creek Canyon and Tibble Fork in American Fork Canyon. For more information on Mill Canyon OHV trails, visit
9. MOAB OHV TRAILS: Moab OHV trails can be found 230 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, Utah. This area is world-renowned for its technical slick rock and off-road trails, but it also offers sand trails. No matter the terrain you are riding, you will see some amazing scenic views. Because of its more technical terrain, riding in Moab is suggested for experienced riders or drivers. Even less experienced riders can enjoy the views by taking a local RZR or Hummer tour. The area is great year round; however, the summers may get unbearably hot. For more information on the Moab OHV trails, visit www.discovermoab.com/atv.htm.
10. PAIUTE ATV TRAIL SYSTEM: The Paiute trail system allows riders to enjoy over 1000 miles of trails, as it is Utah’s longest and one of the country’s most popular ATV trail system. As it is located in south/central Utah, it can be easily accessed from Beaver, Fillmore, Richfield and Salina. Each of the previously mentioned towns offer all the necessary accommodations. Riders can plan a trip in which they can ride from city to city while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the national forest and surrounding mountains. Riders can also enjoy stops along the way to fish or camp. The National ATV Jamboree, which brings in thousands of riders and drivers, is held in Fillmore and Richfield. The jamboree utilizes the Paiute ATV trail system for the largescale event. For more information on the Paiute ATV trail system, visit https://utah.com/atv/paiute-trail.
11. PINE LAKE OHV TRAIL: Pine Lake Trail, 37 miles east of Panguitch, Utah, offers mountain trails and views of the national forest. It is suggested that you park and camp at the Pine Lake campground because you can ride directly from there. This trail provides riders with great trails and camping. The trails are not technical, and it’s only a 21-mile loop, but you will be rewarded with outstanding views. For more information on the Pine Lake OHV trail, visit www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/dixie/recreation/recarea/?recid=24982&actid=31.
12. SAN RAFAEL SWELL RECREATION AREA: The San Rafael Swell recreation area is 30 miles west of Green River, Utah, in Emery County off of Interstate 70. The 1500 square miles of BLM land consists of beautiful desert, canyon gorges and colorful landscape. When visiting this recreation area, it is a must to ride Devils Racetrack, Iron Wash, Buckhorn Wash, Ernie Canyon and 5 Miles of Hell. Some of these trails may be limited to singletrack only, but there is a wide range where you can ride your ATV or drive your UTV. For more information on the San Rafael Swell recreation area, visit www.sanrafaelcountry.com.
13. SAND HOLLOW SAND DUNES STATE PARK: Sand Hollow State Park is a short drive east from Saint George, Utah, in Hurricane. The only access to this park is through Hurricane, Utah. Sand Hollow allows you to explore scenic red sand dunes, sand trails and red rock. There are several challenging trails where you can test your ATV, motorcycle or UTV on rock-climbing obstacles. Beyond the beautiful scenery, camping sites are available, but must be reserved ahead of time. One thing that is unique about Sand Hollow is the lake that is located there. You can ride near the beach and then take a swim or go fishing. For more information on the Sand Hollow Sand Dunes State Park, visit https://stateparks.utah.gov/parks/sand-hollow/.
14. WHITE WASH SAND DUNES: White Wash sand dunes, also referred to as “Dubinky,” is about 25 miles southeast of Green River, Utah, and 47 miles northwest of Moab. The area is open for OHV use and includes sand dunes, washes, slick rock and desert trails. If you are looking for a trail to test your technical riding skills, you should explore Brian’s Trail and Mary’s Trail for difficult slick-rock sections. East of the slick rock, one can find sand, washes, singletrack, and two-track. For more information on the White Wash sand dunes, visit www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/moab/recreation/motorized_routes/0.html.