Demanding Vernal trails offer thrills for serious off-road enthusiasts.
Two is better than one when it comes to the OHV gems Doc’s Beach and Sand Bar. Both have loop trails that intermingle with each other, giving you a variety of terrain, from sandy washes to extreme hills.
Thrill seekers will appreciate Doc’s Beach, one of the toughest ATV trails in Vernal, Utah. It’s mainly grippy sandstone, making for a fun but tricky ride. Considered an advanced run, be prepared for steep climbs, ledges and overhangs. There are straddle points and crevices to be wary of as well.
You can dig into the sand washes or focus on climbing steep walls of rock. This one is for experienced drivers only, with rollovers a real possibility. The 10-mile, two-way trail goes from 5,580 to 6,400 feet in elevation. This one will take plenty of patience. Remember to pass other vehicles with care.
The Sand Bar OHV trail is definitely an easier ride, but because it intertwines with Doc’s Beach, it’s probably better to sit this one out if you’re not prepared for the ambitious sections.
Sand Bar trail, itself, will get your blood pumping, with serious inclines — and declines. Despite being sandstone, the trail is pretty sticky, so you’ll have traction even if it doesn’t look like it. This one is rated a four for difficulty.
While you're up on some of those ledges, take a few minutes to soak up the scenery. There is a superb view of unique formations you won’t find anywhere else. Keep your eyes peeled for eagles and falcons, maybe even deer or cougars.
Jeeps and 4X4s
How to Get There
The trails share a parking lot, about 15 minutes from downtown Vernal. Head north along 2500 West. You’ll find the trailhead down a dirt road on the west side. When staging your vehicle, be sure to keep clear of the trail entrance.
Doc’s Beach Loop
Sand Bar Loop
Need to Know
Download or take a screenshot of the trails, because cell reception can be spotty. There is no onsite gas station, so be sure to fill up all your tanks before heading out. While there is water at the nearby Steinaker State Park campground, it’s a good idea to bring plenty with you. Be sure to pack out anything you carry in.
No OHV? No problem. Rent an ATV or UTV for your day’s adventure.
Nearby Places to Stay
Stay within 15 minutes of the Doc’s Beach trail.
Pick up some fresh produce and other local goodies at the Ashley Valley Farmers Market. Vendors set up Saturday mornings from July to September at the Library commons, 200 East Main Street. Listen to local buskers perform while you peruse the food and handmade items.
If in-person thrills aren’t enough, try the paranormal kind. The annual Phenomecon takes place in Vernal in September. The event kicked off in 2021, bringing in visitors from 24 states. Activities include UFO dark sky viewing, lectures with guest speakers and a downtown ghost hunt.