ATV & UTV Riding
Moab is a must visit destination for those who love off road adventure.
Moab has numerous trails suitable for ATVs and UTVs. Much of the public land surrounding the national parks is open to ATV & UTV travel on existing trails. However, please note that ATV & UTV riding is not allowed within either Arches or Canyonlands National Parks. ATV and UTV enthusiasts can use all of the popular Moab 4WD Trails or explore many of the other backcountry trails that surround Moab.
ATVs and UTVs are an amazing way to explore the public lands surrounding Moab. With their booming popularity comes a responsibility to be prepared when you hit the trail, to know trail etiquette, and to leave the land beautiful for the next generation to enjoy. This video is a quick guide of what you need to know! (Watch in 4K on compatible browsers.)
Biological Soil Crust
Help to keep all of our trails open. Protect this fragile, but crucial, soil by remaining on designated roads, routes and trails at all times.
Biological soil crust, also known as cryptobiotic soil, is the foundation of desert plant life. This black, knobby crust is made up of many different living organisms and plays a vital role in maintaining the desert ecosystem. However, this sensitive soil is extremely fragile and can take decades to grow. Even a footstep can damage the crust for decades, having lasting impacts on the desert environment. Please stay on the trials. Help to protect this fragile life by remaining on designated roads, routes, and trails at all times. Where hiking trails are not established, hike in sandy washes or on bare rock.
No one under eight years of age is allowed to operate any OHV on public lands, roads or trails in Utah. Operators eight through 15 years of age may operate an OHV provided they possess an Education Certificate issued by Utah State Parks and Recreation or equivalent from their home state. Resident operators 16 years of age or older may operate an OHV if they possess either a valid driver’s license or an OHV Education Certificate.
Education Certificates are issued to anyone eight years of age or older who completes Utah State Parks and Recreation’s Know Before You GO! OHV education course. Education Certificates are issued for snowmobiles, ATVs, and motorcycles. For information on this training opportunity, contact the OHV Education Office at 801-538-7433.
Properly fastened helmet, having at least a “DOT Approved” safety rating for motorized use are required for all OHV operators and passengers under the age of 18 years. A properly fitting, safety rated helmet is the most important piece of safety gear available to an OHV rider.
All OHVs are required to have certain equipment in working order while being operated in Utah, including:
- Brakes sufficient to stop and hold the machine
- A headlight and taillight while being operated between sunset and sunrise
- A brightly colored whip flag attached to the OHV and at least eight feet off the ground while being operated on designated sand dune areas
- A muffler and spark arrestor (snowmobiles are exempt from the spark arrestor requirement).
Street-Legal ATV Requirements
We want you to have a fun, safe, and enjoyable time while visiting Moab. Street-legal equipment requirements largely parallel the safety equipment you expect to find on a traditional motor vehicle. However, please note that if a vehicle is street legal in your home state it may not necessarily be street legal in Utah. Carefully examine the requirements below:
ATVs and UTVs are allowed to be operated on paved roads, streets, and highways in the Moab area when the vehicles are:
- Properly registered as street-legal.
- Properly insured for highway use.
- Properly registered as street-legal and comply with all of the UTAH street-legal equipment requirements shown above.
If your ATV/UTV does not meet these requirements it must be transported to and from the trailhead.
Please note that street legal UTVs are not allowed on interstate highways.
Any OHV being operated or transported on public lands, roads, or trails, of the State of Utah must display a current OHV registration sticker. All OHV registrations are handled by the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles.
ATVS, UTVs, or motorcycles brought into Utah that are not registered in compliance as street-legal under Utah law must obtain a non-resident permit to allow operation as an off-highway vehicle on public lands, roads, or trails. Non-resident permits are valid for one year from the date of purchase and can be purchased on-line or in person. Certain states are granted reciprocity and are allowed to operate currently registered OHVs in the state of Utah without having to purchase the “Non-Resident Permit.” Many states do not have this agreement with Utah. A complete listing of states that do not have a reciprocity agreement with Utah can be found here. On-line purchases of the non-resident permit can be made on the Utah State Parks website.
Permits are available in person at authorized vendor locations throughout the state of Utah. The following authorized vendors are located in Moab:
Moab Information Center
Center and Main
1805 S Hwy 191
435 N Main
985 S Hwy 191
Spanish Trail Shell
2420 Spanish Trail Rd
When applying in person, you will need the following:
- Proof of residency: driver’s license or other state issued identification.
- Proof of ownership: title or current registration or bill of sale
Revenues generated from OHV user fees are dedicated to construction, improvement, operation and maintenance of OHV trails.
For assistance with questions concerning OHV’s, along with online registation forms, visit:
Utah State Parks and Recreation
1594 West North Temple, Ste 116
White Wash Sand Dunes
One area that is particularly popular for riding ATVs is the White Wash Sand Dunes. The White Wash Sand Dunes are located 48 miles northwest of Moab, and 25 miles southeast of Green River. The Sand Dunes themselves are delineated and fenced for open OHV play; cross country travel is allowed only in the open area. Outside this area, there are hundreds of miles of designated roads and trails to be enjoyed. All motorized travel outside the open area must stay on the designated routes. Staying on the designated routes helps keep these routes open for your enjoyment. Damage to adjoining private property has occurred, and is a threat to your continued enjoyment of this area. Staying on designated routes assures that you will not trespass on private property. Please avoid the oil production facilities and the adjoining ranch, and never chase or harass livestock. When going through gates, leave them open or closed as you found them.
You must stay on designated roads and trails when riding outside the dune area. These routes are marked with white arrows and/or white paint. Bighorn sheep inhabit this area; riders should avoid stressing these animals by giving them the space they need. The cottonwood trees growing in the White Wash area are quite unique. Please avoid damaging these trees and give them a wide berth to reduce potential for soil compaction.
To reach the White Wash Sand Dunes from Moab drive 7 miles west of Highway 191 on I-70. Take Exit 175 (Floy) to the south. Continue southwest on the Floy Wash Road for 12 miles. Be sure to bear right 4.5 miles from I-70, and then continue straight at 7.8 miles from I-70. Go east (left) at 12.3 miles southwest of I-70. The trailhead latitude/longitude is 38.80348623, -110.0444765.
There are no facilities of any type at White Wash Sand Dunes. Visitors must pack out all trash. There is no drinking water in the area. If you camp, please use a previously used camping spot. Be advised that the closest dump stations are in the town of Green River. Specific campsites are not marked and portable toilets are required.
- K-M Trailer Parking – 2431 Spanish Trail Rd, Moab, UT 84532 – 435-650-3866
- Old Spanish Trail Arena – 3641 S. Highway 191, Moab, UT, 84532 – 435-259-6226
By following a few simple rules, OHV riders can make certain that every trip is a safe and enjoyable experience.
- Always ride in control. Ride within your abilities and your machine’s capabilities. Never attempt anything that is beyond your skill level.
- Always wear the appropriate safety gear. At a minimum, this should include a helmet, shatter resistant eye protection, long sleeves, long pants, gloves, and boots that cover the ankle.
- Only carry passengers if your OHV is specifically designed to do so. ATVs and off-road motorcycles are designed to be ridden by only one rider. Carrying passengers can alter the balance of the machine, causing a loss of control.
- Riders under the age of 16 should be supervised by a responsible adult at all times.
- Riders should be able to straddle the machine with a slight bend to the knees while both feet are on the footrests. Riding a machine that is too big is a major cause of injuries to young riders.
- Always tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Provide them with a map of your intended riding area.
- Be prepared for any emergency. Always carry a tool kit and spare parts, a first aid kit, and survival equipment when you ride. Carry plenty of extra food, water and fuel.
- Check the weather forecast before leaving home. For winter riders, always check the avalanche forecast before venturing into the back country. Avalanche information is available from the Avalanche Forecast Center at 801-364-1581
- Never, ever drink and ride. Alcohol and OHVs don’t mix, but create a deadly and illegal combination.
Moab Outdoor Adventure Guide
The Moab Outdoor Adventure Guide is a new comprehensive guide to adventures and activities that are available on the public lands surrounding Moab. If you are interested in hiking, off-road driving, river activities, scenic byways, dark sky observing, mountain biking, e-biking, rock art tours, camping, dinosaur trails, or traveling with pets, this guide will set you on the right path. It will be going to press in a few months however the FREE eBook version is available right now!
Click here to view the Moab Outdoor Adventure Guide online.