From Butch Cassidy’s childhood home to the longest ATV trail in the US, Piute County is Utah’s diamond in the rough.
Want to really get away from the crowds? Head to Utah’s second-least populated county. Located in south-central Utah, Piute County is surrounded by Fishlake National Forest with the Tushar Mountains to the west and Boulder Mountain to the east. Piute has more ATVs than people, probably because it's home to the renowned Paiute ATV Trail. Unspoiled by overzealous tourism, you can hike a 12,000-foot mountain or explore a side spur on your dirt bike without seeing a soul.
If you want a rough and spooky ATV experience, head to Moab. If you want smooth, well-maintained trails that go for days, head to Marysvale. The Paiute ATV Trail system was made official in 1990 by locals who wanted to connect small communities throughout the county. The main drag is 275 miles long, but the side spurs wind around the mountains for a thousand miles. Start out anywhere on the loop to see aspen forest, sagebrush meadows and elk herds. Lose your way? The locals are notoriously kind and can help point you in the right direction. Remember to wear your helmet and ride responsibly!
Start your Paiute Trail adventure with a splash at Bullion Falls, a popular day trip to a 75-foot alpine waterfall. Watch for wildflowers in the summer and changing leaves in the fall. From Marysvale, take Bullion Canyon Road up to the trailhead and then it's a short, moderate hike to the falls.
On your way to the falls, stop at Miner’s Park, a mining history goldmine. Over the last 300 years, prospectors looking for their payload left behind mining cars, cabins, and equipment. The artifacts were preserved and the area was turned into an outdoor mining museum. Visit the sites via ATV or truck and keep your eyes peeled for gold nuggets. Leave everything the way you found for the next visitors to enjoy.
Get down and dirty at the The Paiute Trail Jamboree. Beloved by locals and out-of-towners alike, the Paiute Trail Jamboree celebrates all things Paiute Trail. During the four-day festival you can take a group ride, try the ATV drag race or play ATV soccer. Bring the kids for family-friendly games like bingo and mud races. Don’t bring food, buy an optional meal ticket to dine on brisket, chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, smoked rib and scones. Always the first week of August, the Paiute Trail Jamboree is like an ATV family reunion that you actually enjoy. It’s also a great way to support local businesses and make new friends.
Come for the Paiute Trail Jamboree and stay for all the events throughout the year.
Mama Bear and Papa Bear Runs are fun-filled days of ATV rides, food and prizes.
Weeklong event featuring The Greatest Little Rodeo in the World.
Dress your ATV up in its scariest Halloween costume and ride with the other boys and ghouls.
You’ll need a base camp for you and your trusty side-by-side, especially if you want to spend some time fishing. Otter Creek State Park campground is right on the edge of Otter Creek Reservoir which is packed with rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brown throat and smallmouth bass. Don’t have a boat? No problem. Rent a fishing boat, paddleboard or canoe from the visitor’s center.
The mountain scenery around Otter Creek State Park will go perfectly with your RV. They have 60 RV sites, complete with electric and water hookups, plus showers, bathrooms and a fish cleaning station. Sites can be reserved online, or get there early for a walk-in site.
Robery Leroy Parker got his start in life in a tiny cabin in Piute County. As the oldest of 13 children, he left home early and became an apprentice to a butcher, where he picked up the name Butch. He started cattle rustling and robbing banks with the Hole in the Wall gang until Pinkerton Detectives finally chased him and The Sundance Kid down to South America.
Circleville residents swear that Butch didn’t die there but came back to his hometown years later to visit family. Fact from fiction aside, his restored boyhood home is on Highway 89 just south of Circleville. The property is open 24-hours a day, but call ahead to arrange a tour of the cabin interior.
Peak baggers will feel right at home on Delano Peak, the highest mountain in the Tushar Range. At 12,174 feet, it’s a pretty big deal. The trail is only three miles, but with 1,650 feet of elevation gain, it's not for the faint of heart. Seriously, don’t faint when you see views of the West Desert and Boulder Mountain at the same time.
For floating and biking, head south to Big Rock Candy Mountain. Named after the song, BRCM has a bike path that follows the Sevier River for miles. If it’s too hot to bike, book a rafting or tubing trip down the Sevier, water-level permitting.
You can make a positive impact on Piute County by recreating responsibly. The Paiute Trail has so many side trails, there’s no need to make your own. Respect animals you encounter by giving them plenty of space to do their thing. And of course, respect the local humans too!