Whether you’re after wide-open dune riding, technical rocky routes, or remote singletrack, Moab and the surrounding area have some of the best terrain around for OHV enthusiasts. But when it comes to picking a place to ride, the sheer variety of options can be somewhat overwhelming. Not to worry, though—here are a handful of can’t-miss destinations to help you get started on planning your trip to the desert.
White Wash Sand Dunes
Located about 45 miles northwest of Moab, the White Wash Sand Dunes are a fantastic place to play around and pick your own line on wide-open dunes. Outside the dunes themselves, hundreds of miles of trails and dirt roads are also available to explore; just make sure you stay on designated routes. Respecting the nearby private property will help keep these areas open for future enjoyment. Be advised that there are no facilities of any type at White Wash Sand Dunes—make sure you’re prepared with plenty of water, a portable toilet, and a way to pack out all trash.
Monitor and Merrimac Trail
Not to be confused with the slickrock mountain-bike trail of the same name, Monitor and Merrimac Trail sits just 12 miles north of Moab on Highway 191. Incredible canyon views and rolling pastures greet you in between deep, sandy wash crossings and occasional stretches of ledgy slickrock. You’ll also get a great look at the Monitor and Merrimac buttes (both named after Civil-War ironclad warships, in case you were wondering.)
Bartlett Wash Road
A relatively easy road starting just off Highway 191 outside Moab, Bartlett Wash Road serves as the access point to many interesting sites like Tusher Tunnel, Hidden Canyon, and lots more. Though the relatively mellow terrain will tempt you to open up the throttle, remember to keep your dust down to allow others to enjoy the incredible scenery. The route to Tusher Tunnel branches off from the main Bartlett Wash Road, and arrives at the tunnel after approximately 1.2 miles. Tusher Tunnel is a fascinating geological feature over 80 feet long and between 6—7 feet high, carved out by seeping water over the course of millennia. It’s also about 20 degrees cooler than the surrounding desert, which makes it a nice, refreshing stop on a hot summer day.
Hidden Canyon is another great ATV/UTV trail branching off from Bartlett Wash, and offers amazing canyon views of rolling sandstone as it takes you up and through over 5.5 miles of mostly beginner-friendly terrain. Despite its relatively easy technical requirement, it’s still one of the most enjoyable trails in Moab for offroad enthusiasts of all types, due to the interesting trail and jaw-dropping scenery. Try to spot the different layers of Windgate and Entrada sandstone as you climb up the canyon—and remember to stick to the main route to avoid damaging sensitive soil that can take years to recover.
Fallen Peace Officer Trail
An intermediate-level trail in an often-overlooked area just outside Moab, the Fallen Peace Officer Trail is significant not only for its dramatic views of the La Sal mountains and Arches National Park, but for its memorialization of the many Utah peace officers who have lost their lives in service to the public. Located between the popular Sovereign and Klondike Bluffs trail areas, the Peace Officer Trail makes a 14-mile loop on a mixture of dirt and exposed slickrock, and includes a few rock steps to negotiate. As you’ll be sharing the area with full-size off-road vehicles and motorcycles, remember to ride courteously and respect other trail users.
These four areas will give any ATV or UTV enthusiast a great place to start planning their trip, but there’s a whole lot more of Moab to discover. For even more memorable destinations and useful insider tips, visit doitlikeamoablocal.com.
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