Looking for a place to take your family where you can
canoe, hike, golf...and go on a scenic ATV ride with a park ranger? Head for Palisade State Park
where they've started a new program called "ATV Ride With The Rangers." For
$30, you get a two-night campsite stay, a day-long ride and a souvenir T-shirt.
One of 42 Utah State Parks, Palisade is located near the
town of Sterling, about 130 miles south of Salt Lake City. The new
ATV program is designed to show the public what the state park has to offer in
motorized recreation, while adding a few extra dollars to increasingly tight
Park rangers held their first ride in early June. Six
riders participated but the program allows for up to 30 riders. Participants
must provide their own ATV or recreational off-highway vehicle (ROV or side-by-side),
food and beverages. "There's a lot of good riding straight from the park, and
we do a different trail each time," said park ranger Chad Wade. On the first
ride, the group went off the state park property onto Forest Roads and OHV
trails in the Manti-La
Forest. They rode on the Arapeen Off-Highway
Vehicle Trail, a multi-use system that includes scenic canyon roads and
narrower ATV trails that are also open to hikers, bikers and horseback riders.
Their route included the Harmon Trail (Arapeen Route #36), which travels
through the 2006 Six-Mile Wildfire area, the Pinchot Trail, a stop in the town
of Mayfield for ice cream and a visit to a local elk farm. The group rode 60 miles and the ride
lasted about 7 hours, including stops.
"We had a lot of fun," said park manager Shon Tripp. "We're
not trying to guide them, just go with them and enjoy the ride with them. At
this time of year, there is water coming off the waterfalls and a lot of
beautiful flowers on the meadows. People want to see that and see the wildlife,
so we stop here and there. The idea is to help the public find out what's in
the area, so they come back and camp with us again."
All drivers must pay the $30 program fee. Those age 16 or
under who ride as passengers are not charged. In order to operate an ATV on
public lands in Utah,
riders must have either a driver's license or ATV safety certificate. No one
under age 8 may operate an ATV on Utah
The route taken on the June ride was restricted to vehicles 50 inches or less in
width, allowing ATVs and some Polaris RZR ROV models. Future rides will be on
OHV trails and Forest Roads where both ATVs and ROVs are permitted. Routes are
planned to accommodate riders, with stops to have lunch, learn about the area
from the park rangers and use available toilet facilities.
Rides are scheduled on weekdays, giving participants the
opportunity to use other recreational facilities at Palisade. "A lot of the
people that went with us on our first ride did other activities as well. They
golfed or used the paddle boats and canoes on Wednesday, and they rode with us
on Thursday," said Tripp.
The group also stops along the way to pick up litter in the
National Forest. Tripp encourages riders to bring rain gear and to take along a
GPS. "There are a few places up there with geocaches where we can stop, walk
and search for them," he said.
The monthly rides are scheduled from May through September,
with a different trail each time with up to 10,000 feet of
elevation. The next full-day ride is July 18. For details, go to the Palisade State Park web site by clicking here.
Reservations are required. Call (800) 322-3770 or (435) 835-6676.