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Family Vacation Hot Spot!

The Paiute ATV Trail and
Incredible Moab Area

Two Areas in Utah Offer Abundant Riding and Charm for the ATVing Family


      The Paiute ATV Trail, a vastly entertaining and massive trail system located in south-central Utah, is a loop trail that locals boast has no beginning and no end. The main trail is 275 miles long, with over 800 miles of marked side trails and more than 1000 miles of side forest roads. It passes through several towns and has side trails branching off into others. Many who have ridden it (including us) believe that it is probably the best-organized trail system, and the most ATV-friendly area, in the United States. If you wish to hop on an ATV to enjoy the woods, view the scenery, take pictures, fish, camp, or just get away from the daily hassles that life lays on you, this is the place to go. Intended for leisurely, family-type riding--not for those wishing to zoom across the countryside to see how fast they can get from Point A to Point B--the system provides an enjoyable trip through some absolutely breathtaking country. The entire trail should take at least 25 hours of riding time to complete, but to really enjoy the experience, spread it out over three or four days.
      Another unique feature of the area is that towns along and around the Paiute ATV Trail have enacted ordinances permitting ATV travel on their streets so riders can get needed food, gas, repairs and lodging. The ordinances designate which streets are open to ATV travel (they are signed and shown in the Paiute ATV Trail Map, published by Trails Illustrated for the Fishlake Discovery Association). The towns also allow travel on other streets when the rider is going directly to a motel, service station, restaurant, or residence. There are regulations, of course--the speed limit for ATVs in towns is 10 mph, riders must wear helmets, ATVs must be equipped with mufflers, riders must travel with their headlights on, obey all traffic signs and travel on the right-hand side of the road in single file--but, unlike many local municipalities' regulations concerning ATVs, these are sensible and benefit everyone concerned. The Paiute Trail has been in existence for more than 15 years and has given a much-needed boost to the local economy, so in retrospect, connecting the old roads and trails crossing the Fishlake National Forest and linking them into the towns proved to be a prudent, farsighted--and profitable--venture on the part of local officials.

Marysvale, Utah:
At the Heart of The Paiute ATV Trail

      Hoping to attract the ATV crowd are the towns of Marysvale, Richfield and Fillmore. Although Richfield hosts the Rocky Mountain Jamboree (see below) and Fillmore hosts an event earlier in the summer, Marysvale is completely surrounded by the main loop and is probably the best place to make your home base. ATVs are allowed on designated city streets, allowing easy access to the trail. With plenty of camping, hotels, restaurants, services, and ATV rentals available, you will find Marysvale to be the perfect place to stay while you enjoy the many miles of trail. From Marysvale you can get to nearly every point on the trail within a day's ride. Within minutes of downtown, you will be enjoying the most spectacular scenery the trail has to offer.
     Visitors are often astonished at the massive nature of the trail system and the remoteness of some of the areas along the trail. Because of this, an often-expressed concern is about encountering some of the local wildlife, particularly bears and mountain lions. Though some of these animals do inhabit the area, they are extremely wary of humans and, unless they are protecting their young, the chances of seeing a bear or lion are extremely remote and should not be a concern. Many locals who spend much of their time in the mountains would love to catch a glimpse of either of these animals.
       Other species of wildlife, however, are more common--and less threatening--and encountering them can significantly enhance the experience of the Paiute Trail. Mule deer are native to the area and can be seen on any part of the trail, particularly at dusk. The Fishlake National Forest is also home to large herds of elk. The deer will often stand and stare at you long enough for you to get your camera out to snap pictures. Elk are more wary, so when you spot them it's best to already have the camera ready. To view or photograph these animals, stop your ATV but leave the engine running and remain on the vehicle; it is never a good idea to approach wild animals, no matter how appealing they may be. Some animals will be curious and may watch you for several minutes. However, changes in sound or sudden movements will startle the animals.
     There is a herd of moose in the Fishlake Basin and they wander quite freely and over a large area, so there is a chance to see one on the northeast part of the trail. Other animals often seen along the trail include coyotes, ground squirrels, chipmunks, and numerous species of songbirds. The best way to shoot them is with a telephoto lens on a 35mm camera. Above all, do not harass the wildlife. Remember, this is their habitat and you are only a visitor

Roughing it!

       You may choose to pick your own campsite within the Fishlake National Forest. Please remember to "leave no trace"--in other words, pack out what you pack in--and be aware of fire regulations that may be in effect, depending on water conditions.
      September and October provide some of the best riding weather on the Paiute Trail. The days are brisk, the nights cool, the trees colorful, and the chances of precipitation generally low. After October, storms may close the trail or make riding unpleasant. Spring riding is possible on the lower portions of the trail, but snow drifts usually close the trail over the Pahvants and the Sevier Plateau until early July, and remain in the higher portions of the Tushars until mid to late July. August is also a good time for the high country, although the lower portions of the trail can be hot. At its highest point, in the Tushar Mountains, the Paiute ATV Trail is 11,500 feet (3,300 meters) above sea level. This is over a mile higher than the towns in Utah's valleys. High-altitude carburetor jetting is strongly recommended.
      In addition to the Tushars, the trail crosses two other mountain ranges: the Pahvant Range and the Sevier Plateau, ranging up to 10,000 feet (2,800 meters). Here, too, snow drifts close the trail until about a month after summer is in full swing at lower elevations. Between these mountain ranges, the trail crosses the valleys of the Sevier River. Elevations in these valleys range from 5,000 to 6,000 feet (1,575 to 1,850 meters). Here the weather is conducive to spring and fall riding, but temperatures in June, July and August can be scorching. Another weather condition important to those interested in riding the Paiute Trail are the thunderstorms that are prevalent over the southern and eastern portions of the trail from mid-July to the end of August. These storms can arrive quite suddenly in the afternoon after what was a cloud-free morning. They produce a lot of lightning, which can be dangerous if a rider is caught on an exposed ridge.

(Special thanks to Gary Bushman for his help with this article.)


Moab

       Moab, Utah, located in southeast Utah, is one of the west's most distinctive landmarks. A land, so distinct and beautiful, it's unlike any place else on earth. With two Alpine mountain ranges, awe-inspiring red rock formations, clear blue skies, crisp clean air and tons of ATV trails, this is one of the best areas we've ever ridden. The variety of terrain far exceeds any area we know of and with most of the trails remote, intensely demanding both physically and mechanically; it's adventure in its purest form. Looking for novice trails? They have it. Looking for "super-extreme" stuff? They've got that too. Lots of it.
     We test rode Kawasaki's new Prairie 360 outside of Moab in April and strongly recommend this area to any avid enthusiast. There's something about seeing this wild country on an ATV that just can't be beat. You can cover lots more ground than a Jeep and carry more stuff than on a mountain or dirt bike. Most of the trails have existed for decades, many forged out by the miners in the boom days of the 50's, and with unsurpassed overlooks and vistas, we guarantee you an adventure you won't forget.
      As beautiful as the riding around Moab is, the weather and terrain can be unforgiving. The desert's mix of hot temperatures, rugged terrain and extraordinary remoteness coupled with a dangerous mix of underestimating supplies and overestimating abilities has created some unfortunate circumstances for many ATVers. And sometimes, even after taking diligent precautions, the desert just has its way with the most prepared of ATV riders. We strongly suggest doing plenty of research on the trails you plan on riding and the necessary riding gear you'll need before attempting this remote riding area.
      For the media intro, Kawasaki hired Dale Parriott from Elite Motorcycle Tours-and with good reason, he knows the area and the precautions to take better than anyone else. We also highly recommend him. For further info, you can contact Dale at: Elite Motorcycle Tours, 1/888/778-0358, http://www.moab.net/elitetours.com

Special thanks: TravelHost, Utah
http://www.travelhost.com

Paiute Trail Contacts

Lizzie & Charlie's
"Paiute ATV Trail System" MAP Order
P.O. Box 126
210 E. Bullion Ave.
Marysvale, UT 84750
435/326-4213

Paiute ATV Trail Committee
c/o Fishlake National Forest
115 E. 900 North
Richfield, UT 84701

Sevier County Travel Council
250 N. Main
Richfield, UT 84701

Millard County Tourism
Fillmore, UT 84631
1-800-441-4ATV

MARYSVALE

  • Lizzie and Charlies RV Park, 435/326-2011 or 435/325-4213.
  • Moore's Old Pine Inn (a Bed & Breakfast built in 1880), 800/887-4565, 435/326-4565
  • Paiute Trails Inn Bed & Breakfast, 435/326-4666 or 866/409-1682.
  • Big Rock Candy Mountain (river trips), 435/326-4321; resort and restaurant, 435/326-2000.
  • Tug's One Stop (gas and groceries), 435/326-4270.
  • Hoovers Wildflower RV Park/Gas/Cafe, 435/326-4252.
  • Paiute ATV Rentals, 435/326-4549; fax 435/326-4248.

    RICHFIELD LODGING

  • Super8, 435/896-9204.
  • Best Western Appletree Inn, 435/896-5481.
  • Comfort Inn, 435/893-0119.
  • Days lnn, 435/896-6476.
  • Jensen's Motel, 435/896-5447.
  • Luxury Inn, 435/893-0100.
  • New West Motel, 435/896-4076.
  • Quality lnn, 435/896-5465.
  • Weston lnn, 435/896-9271.
  • Nights Inn/Budget Host, 435/896-8228.
  • Romanico lnn, 435/896-8471.
  • Topsfield Lodge, 435/896-5437.

    RICHFIELD CAMPING

  • Richfield KOA (1 Cabin), 435/896-6674.
  • JR Munchies, 435/896 9340.

    RESORTS

  • Big Rock Candy Mountain, 888/560-ROCK.

    FISHLAKE RESORTS

  • Fish Lake Lodge, 435/638-1000.
  • Bowery Haven, 435/638-1040.

    CAMPING AREAS

  • Bowery Haven Resort, Fish Lake; 435/638-1040.
  • Lakeside Resort RV, Fish Lake; 435/638-1000.

    TOURS, OPERATORS & RENTALS

  • Big Rock Raft & Yak (river trips, mountain bikes, ATVs, rafts/canoes--rent your fun!), 435/527-3447, 435/896-6408.
  • 5-Star Rental (ATV rentals), 435/896-RENT

    Special thanks for their help in this article:

  • Gary Bushman
  • Paiute ATV Trail Committee
  • Richfield Office of the Fishlake National Forest Service
  • Bureau of Land Management

    Clubs and organizations who support the trail are:

  • Cerbat Ridge Runners ATV Club
  • Fillmore ATV Jamboree
  • Great Western Trail Association
  • Mohave Desert ATV Riders Association
  • Paiute ATV Trail Committee
  • Pathfinderzz ATV Club of Utah
  • Rocky Mountain ATV Jamboree
  • Sage Riders
  • Southern Utah OHV Club
  • Utah ATV Association
  • Utah OHV Trail Patrol
  • Utah Shared Access Alliance
  • Utah Trail Machine Association
  • Moab Area Contacts

    Hotels/Motels

    (By calling 888/442-4222, you can make all hotels/motel reservations in the Moab area)

  • Apache Motel, 166 S. 400 E., Moab, UT 84532
  • Best Inn, 950 N. Main, Moab, UT 84532
  • Best Western Greenwell Inn, 105 S. Main, Moab, UT 84532
  • Motel Days Inn, 426 N. Main, Moab, UT 84532
  • Moab Ramada Inn, 182 S. Main, Moab, UT 84532

    Campgrounds

  • Arch View RV Campground, N. Hwy 191 - 435/259-7854
  • Canyonlands Campground, 555 S. Main - 435/259-6848
  • Dowd Flats RV Park, 2701 S. Hwy 191 - 435/259-5909
  • Kane Springs Campground, 1705 Kane Springs Rd - 435/259-8844
  • KOA Campground, 3225 S. Hwy 191 - 435/259-6682
  • Moab Rim RV Campark - 435/259-5002
  • Moab Valley RV & Campark, 1773 N. Hwy 191 - 435/259-4469
  • OKAY RV Park, 3310 Spanish Valley - 435/259-1400
  • Pack Creek MH Park & Campground, 1520 Murphy Lane - 435/259-2982
  • Portal RV Park, 1261 North Highway 191 - 800/574-2028
  • Slickrock Campground, 1301 N. Hwy 191 - 435/259-7660
  • Spanish Trail RV Park, 2980 S. Hwy 191 - 435/259-2411
  • Up the Creek Campground, 210 E. 300 S. - 435/259-6995

    Local Off-Road Resources

  • Arrowhead Motorsports - repairs/parts, 435/259-7356; email: moabmc@citlink.net; web: http://www.angelfire.com/ut/moab
  • Canyon Voyages Jeep Tours - 800/733-6007; email: info@canyonvoyages.com; web: http://www.canyonvoyages.com
  • Castle Rock Jeep Rentals - 435/259-5432
  • Farabee's 4x4 Rentals - 888/806-5337; email: farabee@moci.net
  • Highpoint Hummvee and ATV Tours - 877/HUMMVEE
  • Navtec Tours - 800/833-1278; web: http://www.navtec.com
  • Slickrock Jeep Rentals - 1-435-259-5678 ; email: moaboffroad@lasal.net
  • Tag-a-long Tours - 435/259-8946; web: http://www.tagalong.com
  • Two Excellent Resources: http://www.moab.com; http://www.moab.net

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