Best ATV Riding Trails In Utah | Hunt or Shred

Utah is known for its beautiful landscapes, including those that make great ATV trails. Head to these spots in Utah and experience the best riding trails!

For ATV enthusiasts, the wild landscapes, between rocky deserts and wide-open natural parks, make for exciting ATV trails to ride. Some of the best ATV trails in Utah include the Arapeen OHV Trail, Paiute ATV Trail, Little Sahara Recreational Area, and the Great Western Trail.

What makes Utah a highly preferred choice for ATV trail riding is the diversity it offers. One day you can ride on the rocky, hard-packed mountains; the next day, you can head toward softer dunes or a greener trail with water streams. Utah is an ATV/UTV-friendly state that allows you to ride through the cities. Beware of the laws, though.

I have been an ATV enthusiast over the past decade, and I will pick Utah any day of the year for ATV trail riding for its diverse and versatile ATV trails. In this article, I will tell you about the four best ATV trails in Utah that I think beat all other trails. I will also talk about how to be prepared for your adventure to enjoy yourself to the fullest!

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Best ATV Riding Trails in Utah

The following trails are my top picks for a day full of challenging yet exciting riding experiences.

Arapeen OHV Trail

The Arapeen OHV trail will make you feel like a gladiator as you ride up and down on the high mountains and hills with a beautiful green horizon ahead of you. This ATV trail is located in Sanpete County in central Utah. The area mostly comes under the Manti-La Sal National Forest, a two-hour drive from South Lake City.

The national forest is spread over 750,000 acres and includes hundreds of trails that accumulate to over 600 miles. If you have got a thing for heights, this ATV trail will take you by surprise with its main trail: the South Skyline Drive trail. This trail starts from Utah highway 31 and is 58-meters long and consists of the wildest pathways going through broad and narrow spaces, between the trees, and crossing streams. You reach the summit with stunning views as you ride up the mountain.

The main access points for this trail are Spring City, Manti, Mayfield, Fairview, Mt. Pleasant, Ephraim, and Sterling. The ATV trails in the Arapeen OHV trails frequently narrow down, suitable for 66" ATVs. So make sure you have the right size of ATV before heading to the Arapeen trails. Moreover, some trails have dead-ends, with a loop around opportunity. So, it would be best to study a map of the Arapeen OHV trails for the best experience.

The trail opens in the summers, usually around May, depending on the conditions. The area receives heavy snow and is closed during the winter months, starting November. Many adventurers have petitioned to open the trail for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing during the winter, but it is closed for maintenance and wildlife protection. Speaking of which, you can encounter bears, hawks, reindeer, and more wild animals on this trail.


  • Location: Manti, UT
  • Size: Over 600 miles of trails
  • Style: Trails, woods, hills, drop-offs
  • Machines: ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles and dirt bikes, 4x4s (restricted to certain areas)
  • Experience Level: All
  • Services Available: Yes
  • Cost: Free

Paiute ATV Trails

This ATV riding trail is one of the best trails across the country! Often, many ATV riders claim that this is the best trail that they have ever ridden on, and it is also mentioned several times in the top ATV magazines. The reason is, this trail has no starting and ending point, and it goes through several cities and distant landscapes, making it the most extensive trailing system in the country.

The trail has no boundaries because it connects old roads to trails. It crosses one of the best camping spots in the country, the Fishlake National Forest. The trail initially had dead ends and narrower pathways. However, the authorities intervened to make artificial routes so the riders could enjoy a complete loop, with the main trail being 275 miles long.

But there's a lot more to explore on this trail. The main trail connects to side trails that extend to over 1000 miles and more forest trails stretching over 1500+ miles. It's impossible to be prepared for the diverse terrains that the Paiute ATV trails consist of due to their broad range and longevity. However, there are numerous spots in the many towns and cities that this trail goes through.

You can plan your trip accordingly and spend the nights in luxurious inns or camp in the wild besides a campfire. There are plenty of places offering delicious eateries and gas stations for you to refuel your ride and stores to stock up essentials. Utah is mostly accessible by four-wheelers, and there are many streets across the towns that you can ride to fulfill your necessities for many days in the wild. However, some places don't allow ATV and UTV riding, so ensure you abide by the laws to smooth your experience.

As the Paiute ATV trail is located in South/Central Utah, you can access the trails from Richfield, Selina, Beaver, Marysvale, and Fillmore. Due to the trail being super extensive, each part has a different experience throughout the seasons. The higher parts are closed during the winters, but you can ride at the lower ends. The autumn season, including September and October, are the most popular and crowded months on this trail as the weather is pleasant and gets colder during the night. Moreover, if you like colorful landscapes and breezy air, you shouldn't miss this trail in the autumn season.


  • Location: South/Central Utah
  • Size: 1500+ miles
  • Style: Trails, woods, hills, drop-offs
  • Machines: ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles and dirt bikes, 4x4s
  • Experience Level: All
  • Cost: Free
  • Services Available: Yes

Little Sahara Recreational Area

Wondering where you can glide your ATV on a smooth surface without any hurdles in your way? Then the Little Sahara Recreational Area is where you should go. This ATV trail offers never-ending sand basins where you can power your ride with almost no external threats or trees and rocks getting in your way. This is the perfect trail if you want to take your ATV for a non-stop wild and fun ride. It also makes an excellent opportunity for you to get the typical rooster trailing pose with your precious ATV.

The largest dune field in Utah is a result of the Sevier River, which dried out over 15,000 years but left tons of sand which is now enjoyed by riders and adventure seekers. The sand-dunes, formed due to air resistance in the area, are still moving towards the north. That's why the sand is free-flowing, making the Little Sahara Recreational Area a thrilling trail. This trail is spread across 60,000 acres and 124 square miles.

The open and safe trail is why it is one of the best ATV riding trails in Utah. Other than ATVs, the trail is suitable for 4x4s, dune buggies, and other off-road vehicles. On the other hand, the recreational area offers more than one kind of riding experience. You can also ride on trails and flat sagebrush fields for a more demanding and versatile experience. An overnight stay is popular in the area with multiple fully developed campsites, including activities like camping, bonfire, and camel riding. The campsites include the Oasis, Jericho, White Sands, and Sand Mountain. However, there are few to no gas stations in this area, so make sure you come prepared with an extra gallon of gas.

The Sand Mountain is a must-go spot on this trail with a 700-feet high sand wall that is steep and provides a tough challenge for the machines. Mostly, the individuals attempt climbing the sand wall without their machines because of the highly steep elevation. Located 115 miles south of Salt Lake City, the Sahara Recreational Area offers an easy and fun riding experience with many recreational activities and facilities. If you don't have experience in ATV trail riding, this place is a good choice to start your journey.


  • Location: South/Central Utah (115 South of Salt Lake City)
  • Size: 124 square miles
  • Experience Level: Easy to Intermediate
  • Elevation: 4,927 ft.
  • Style: Trails, Sand-dunes, Flat Sagebrushes
  • Machines: ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles and dirt bikes, 4x4s
  • Cost: Free
  • Services Available: Limited

The Great Western Trail

If you are an experienced trail rider looking for a new and stricter challenge for your next trailing experience, you should look no further than the Great Western Trail. This trail is so huge that it starts from Canada and ends up in Mexico. The Great Western Trail's total mileage is 4,455 miles, out of which 1600 miles belong within Utah's boundaries.

I can't stress enough the versatility and uncountable natural beauty of the Great Western Trail pathways. This trail offers almost everything you can imagine from mother nature – Mountains, hills, valleys, plains, rivers, forests, and whatnot! You even get a bit of desert-like terrain in between. Each terrain is spread over hundreds of miles.

The many times I have tried this trail, it surprised me more. The trail offers tons of activities, including boating, fishing, whitewater rafting, hiking, and cross-country skiing. You will probably end up staying here for longer than you planned for, so make sure you have ample leaves saved up!

The Great Western Trail primarily consists of National parks, national forests, and similar public land. So you can enter the trail free of cost and from multiple routes. The Idaho Centennial Trail route is the preferred route from the north. As the trail is extensive, there are loads of recreational activities, facilities, and accommodations for travelers.

You will want to explore the most popular ATV trails in this area. These include the Fishlake National Forest near Richfield, Wasatch Crest Trail near Salt Lake City, and the Dark Valley Trail in the Capitol Reef National Park. These destinations are ATV-friendly and developed for the comfortable accommodation of riders. You can stay for the night in camps, luxurious trailers, and cabins. There are also several eateries for you to end your day with delicious food and refreshments.

The Great Western Trail is the most versatile ATV riding trail in the United States. Apart from varying landscapes, it has several spots where you can witness beautiful horizons spanning across thousands of miles into the sunset. The diversity also makes the wildlife in this region full of various plants and animals.

The seasons play a heavy role in the accessibility of the trails. The northern trails are closed during the winters, but you can still ride the lower ends of the trail. In comparison, spring and autumn serve the most attractive riding seasons as the trails are full of colorful landscapes and the weather is pleasant. However, early spring and late autumn receive much rainfall, making it dangerous to ride. Some areas see the lowest traffic in summer due to scorching heat, but the higher terrains seem to do fine.


  • Location: North to South Utah
  • Size: 1600 miles
  • Style: Trails, woods, mountains, hills, rivers, rocks, drop-offs
  • Machines: ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles and dirt bikes, 4x4s
  • Experience Level: Intermediate to expert
  • Cost: Free
  • Services Available: Yes

Other Popular ATV Riding Trails in Utah

American Fork Canyon

The American Fork Canyon offers a wild and rugged trail riding experience. It has dirt roads filled with rugged rocks, flat sagebrushes, and hard-packed surfaces. This trail is generally popular among dirt bikers, but the trails are wide and see many ATV and UTV riders picking up the benefits. Not just that, the trail offers steep drop-offs and challenging climbs that are harder for ATVs than dirt bikes. So if you are looking for a new challenge to test your ride, you should explore your chances at the American Fork Canyon.

Knolls OHV Trailing Area

The Knolls OHV trails are another popular trail in Utah and one of the busiest trails as it is only an 80-mile drive south of Salt Lake City and also approachable by Wendover, Nevada. This is another area with less challenging terrains, consisting of white sand dunes, trails, and mud flaps. The best thing about this trailing area is that it is open round the year. The trails are perfect for beginners to work on their skills. However, experts can also have a good time on these trails. On the downside, you have to pay the $6 entry fee. But isn't such a low fee worth it for a full day of rooster trailing and gliding from one dune to another?

Mill Canyon OHV Trails

The Mill Canyon OHV trails are located in Central/West Utah in the Wasatch Mountains. The Mill Canyons trail is a mix of sharp, rugged giant rocks and steep valleys. This place is not for beginners as the pathways are narrow, with deep valleys on the side and filled with hard-packed surfaces. You should come well-prepared and ensure that your ATV is the right vehicle to conquer this demanding trail. The Mill Canyon gets hot during the summer. Therefore, the best time to come here is from mid-spring to early fall. The canyon is hit with extreme conditions from mid to late fall, including scorching heat and heavy rainfall, making it dangerous for even the most expert riders. On the other hand, there are restrooms, camping, parking, and eateries so you can have a smooth and comfortable experience.

How to Be Prepared

ATV trail riding is an exciting and thrilling venture, and thinking about riding over the vast terrains can pump up your veins. But it requires you to be well-prepared and thoroughly research the trail you are going to conquer. The lack of awareness and preparation leads to many riders suffering consequences.

There are several things to remember when preparing for a trail ride.

Safety Precautions

Whether you are an amateur or a professional, it's always better to be safe than sorry! You should keep your safety the first thing on the checklist when preparing for a trail ride. This includes a helmet, knee pads, a first-aid kit, accommodation, and food essentials. Although most trails have camps and cabins, you can still get stuck due to bad weather or fault in your vehicle.

Start Small

While the rush of making full use of your ATV can compel you to take on tougher challenges, you should start with easier trails if you have little to zero experience in trail riding. Trail riding is much more complex than riding on straight roads. The handling, speeding, and braking require a different approach. Once you have a better understanding, you can gradually increase your difficulty level.

Prepare Your Ride According to the Trail

You might have a powerful ATV with enough power to excel on the most challenging trails, but it's essential to have the right gear according to the trails. Different trails require different tires, suspension systems, and body kits. Ensure you have the right ear combination to have a successful experience.




25 years old. I'm from PA. I love horseback riding and riding ATV's. My husband and I own a farm and our ATV's help us work and have fun.

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