Off-Road Vehicle Camping

One of the discouraging factors about trying to get away from it all is that you have to carry everything. Camping with an ATV, motorcycle, or 4x4 can bring a whole new perspective to the experience. "Farther, faster" is the theme for camping with off-road vehicles. Utah has thousands of miles of state-maintained ATV trails that are world class.

Popular destinations

The Paiute ATV Trail was rated one of the best 15 trails in the country by Dirt Wheels magazine. Two-hundred-and-seventy miles long, from Fillmore and Salina at the north edge of the loop to Circleville at the south, over 800 miles of marked side trails and 1,000-plus miles of side forest roads await you. It would take at least 25 hours of nonstop riding to see just the main trail. That's why camping was created!

The Uinta Basin has a new addition - the Forest Service's two new 30-mile loop trails in the Uintas. Well-marked, they can be conquered in one day or made to last by stopping to fish for hungry trout, taking a hike to a lonely peak, or stopping to admire meadows full of wildflowers. ATVs are available to rent across the state for self-guided tours or you can take an expert to show you the way.

Southern Utah has become a Mecca for 4x4s as well as bikers. Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase and the San Rafael Swell offer challenges as easy as improved gravel roads to frame-wrenching, cage-rolling trails over rocky ledges. A most rewarding trip reaches from St. George south into Arizona to Grand Canyon National Park at Toroweap Point, where a 3,000-foot drop to the Colorado awaits you.

More technical trails with names like Cliff Hanger, Hell's Revenge, and Metal Masher can be found that require modified rigs and guides who know what they're doing. A little practice can be a good thing and there are clubs and associations with rides and trips scheduled on a monthly basis. Many of these clubs also associate service with the hobby, providing clothing for needy villages in Mexico or backcountry trail cleanup projects. When using ORVs or 4x4s to carry you to your campsite, remember to tread lightly. Several thousand pounds of steel and rubber can undo in a few seconds what it has taken nature millennia to build.

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