It can be tough to figure out a destination for a guys getaway, because every guy in your crew might want something different. Some of them might want a guys’ trip with a capital G — adrenaline pumping activities like off-roading and plenty of high fives and chest bumps at every turn. Meanwhile, some might secretly (or not so secretly) be jealous of those girls getaways that are all about relaxing, recharging and finally getting to that book you’ve been putting off.
Well, no matter what kind of guys make up your squad, Vernal has something for everyone, from the revvers to the relaxers.
Sure, OHV and ATV riding might seem like it’s catering to the rowdy crowd, but even the most zen members of your crew might find that hootin’ and hollerin’ out on the trail is great therapy. Vernal is one of Utah’s premiere hotspots for OHV trails, and you’ve got plenty to choose from, whether you’re taking it easy by yourselves or hiring a guide to get you through the gnarliest of trails.
Once you’ve got your rentals set up (or brought toys of your own), start slow and go for a jaunt on the John Jarvie trail. With mellow terrain, you can get a feel for your vehicle and figure out what kind of speeds and obstacles your group is comfortable with. This route will also satisfy any history buffs among you — there’s a historic ranch you can visit along the way.
Speaking of history, why not celebrate your guys trip by paying tribute to one of the most famous male friendships of all time? Both Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid have trails in the area named after them. They’re both in the intermediate to hard range, so if you’re ready to take the next step they’re a great option. And while you’re out there, be sure to appreciate the simple act of riding with the boys without a posse on your tail. Butch and Sundance didn’t always have that luxury.
If you’re ready to put your ego aside and admit that some people know more than you (harder for some guys than others), hire a guide to take you on Vernal’s toughest trails. Doc’s Beach, Sand Bar and Red Mountain are some of the more challenging ATV trails in Vernal. They’ll present a rewarding (and occasionally butt-clenching) experience for your gang, and with an expert’s help you’ll get through without any accidents or arguments, either of which will put a damper on any trip.
If there’s anything more surefire than a guy being down for a day of fishing, it’s their inner child being down for a day of dinos. Just 20 minutes outside of Vernal you can find Dinosaur National Monument. This stunning natural area spans two states — Colorado and Utah — and a whopping 210,000 acres. Most of the monument is on the Colorado side, which boasts more sprawling scenery, but fewer fossils.
Scenery, shmenery. There’s enough of that to go around in Vernal. Besides, it’s not called Scenery National Monument. On the Utah side, you’ll find the main event — Quarry Exhibit Hall, which houses an astounding fossil wall featuring around 1,500 dinosaur bones. View legendary dinos of the Late Jurassic period like the Stegosaurus, Allosaurus and Apatosaurus. You can also touch 150-million-year-old dinosaur fossils, view other exhibits and find out all kinds of interesting new facts from park rangers.
And the Utah side still has some pretty dang good scenery too. Don’t believe us? Then take a hike! Specifically, take a hike on the Desert Voices Interpretive Trail or Sound of Silence Trail. Both offer great views without too much effort, and if there’s anyone in your group who’s missing their weekend workout, there’s a connector trail between them that will make the hike a 5-mile affair. Even in its longer form, this hike should give you plenty of time to get back home in time for your mandatory viewing of “Jurassic Park.”
If you’ve never been mountain biking, it’s just like regular biking. Except, ya know, in the mountains. There are several outfitters in town where you can rent bikes for your squad, and there are tons of trails for you to choose from. There are also lots of quiet side streets if you need to teach any of your buds how to ride a bike. Those are the kind of tender bonding moments that guys trips are all about.
Mountain biking in Vernal offers a bit of something for everyone, but experienced riders might find more to love. That doesn’t mean beginners can’t find ways to play, though. The Combo Trail is a quick, easygoing ride that’ll help get you acquainted with your equipment and the feeling of dirt under your tires. Ride it as an out-and-back, or link up with the And Cookies trail (also easy rated) to make it a nice 3.5 mile ride.
If you’re feeling comfortable, the intermediate 4-mile Got Milk loop makes for an appropriate next step, in more ways than one. It’s located at the same trailhead as the other trails, but don’t let that pressure you into doing it all in one day — tired legs are more likely to make mistakes on the trail.
Another great option for a step up is the Field of Dreams trail, located just outside of town and rated easy-to-intermediate. Other intermediate trails include the endlessly picturesque Jazz-Chrome Molly trail and the flowy, aptly named Racetrack trail. Some favorite advanced trails include Slippery When Wet, the Red Fleet Loop, Handsome Cabin Boy, J-Boy and Retail Sale. Be sure not to underestimate expert terrain. Don’t attempt it without the proper experience, and especially not without the proper safety equipment. Guys trips to Vernal are great — guys trips to the hospital, not so much.
No trip is complete without at least one day of relaxing and taking it easy. Heck, even Everest expeditions have some downtime at Base Camp. You and your boys are pretty much explorers at this point, so don’t skimp on the downtime.
You don’t have to go with a full blown cucumber-on-the-eyes spa day (there are several spas in town if you want to let the pros handle it), but if you want to do some exploring while you’re relaxing, visit Red Fleet or Steinaker State Parks. Both offer beautiful scenery and lots of opportunities to enjoy the water however you’d like, whether you’re swimming, fishing, paddling, boating or just plopping your tired bones beneath a beach umbrella. Local outfitters can rent you any water sport equipment you need, and local grocery stores are happy to supply you with $10 camping chairs and sunscreen.
And if you’d rather adventure on the water than relax by it, book a whitewater rafting trip! There are several guides in Vernal that traverse the Green River, which travels down from Wyoming through Flaming Gorge and into Dinosaur National Monument. Your guide can take you on any kind of excursion you’d like, from wet and wild rapids to gently flowing waters. One thing will be the same no matter where you go — the scenery will be incredible. Meandering through towering canyons and lush landscapes alike, the Green River is one of the most pleasant rafting destinations around.
No matter how you like to celebrate a weekend with the bearded bros and huggable homies in your life, Vernal will happily welcome your crew with open arms. Start planning your next guys trip today!