Utah – An Off-Road Haven

A couple of weeks ago we wanted to find out which state offers the best trail system for riders. We reached out to our fans to see what they had to say, and man, did we get a lot of great responses. The choice was difficult as we received some really strong arguments from riders across the country – from Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, West Virginia and others. But, as all contests go, at the end of the day there can only be one winner. So this week our congratulations go out to Rion Boyd and the state of Utah!

Although Rion is currently living in New Mexico and attending Central New Mexico Community College for a welding degree, he is still loyal to the state of Utah for its expansive and diverse riding trails. Although going to school in New Mexico has cut down on his riding time, he still puts forth the effort to try and get out as much as possible on the weekends, riding with buddies over to the Albuquerque area. For Rion’s sake, let’s take a trip down memory lane, when riding was part of his daily life back in Utah. There, he put 3,000 miles on his Can-Am Outlander 800R in just 2 years!

Can-Am Off-Road: Congratulations on making the best case for your state. Now, tell us why Utah is so awesome. 

Rion: One of the reasons why Utah is such a great place for riders is because it is home to the Paiute ATV Trail System. This is not only the largest single trail system in Utah, but one the biggest ones in the entire country. In my opinion, it may be one of the best  in the world. I could be exaggerating; I just personally love off-roading here that much. Here is a link to the trail’s main webpage; you should definitely check it out: http://www.atvutah.com/southern/paiute.htm.

The Paiute Trail System connects lots of towns across the state, and for this reason, permits riders to have legal access to many of the main roads in the southern half of the state! Also, so much of Utah falls under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or national parks, so there are lots of places to ride. Here is a map that shows a lot of the parks in Utah. These are represented by the colored areas.

 Can-Am Off-Road: In your initial submission, you mentioned the variety of terrain that Utah has to offer – from pink sand dunes, high desert trails, mountain trails to rock climbing and more, what is your favorite terrain to ride?

Rion: I like rock climbing but have never done it on an ATV; instead, I usually drive a 4×4 truck for this. Aside from climbing, I mostly enjoy mountain and high desert trails, mainly for the views and challenging terrain. I am not a fan of cold weather though, so while I do go out riding in the winter, I don’t do a lot of fun or crazy stuff.


Can-Am Off-Road: That’s understandable. There are several places in Utah that link up to lakes, reservoirs, etc. Are there any particular locations that stand out in your mind?

Rion: Yes there are, and I have stopped at a lot! Here are a few that I can remember off the top of my head: Fish Lake, Otter Creek Reservoir, Lower and Upper Box Creek Reservoirs, Big Lake, Koosharem Reservoir and a bunch of others, but I can’t even remember their names. Usually when I make these stops I do a little bit of fishing, but I give up relatively quickly, around a half-hour of no bites. Otter Creek also has crawdads though, so it’s fun to gather them up and cook them on shore. During the summer, it’s fun to go for a quick swim, but the water is usually too cold to dive in all year-round.

Can-Am Off-road: Do you ride with a group of riders? Are you in touch with a rider community?

Rion: I usually ride solo due to the fact that when I go out and ride I am on my own terms; I want to go where I want to go and stay out as long as I please. Also, sometimes I’ll want to stop for a few hours to hike, rock climb or fish. For all these reasons, it’s easier to go out alone rather than taking along extra baggage, if you know what I mean. Plus, I really like to go fast over some trails where most people prefer to go super slow. All in all, groups tend to cramp my riding style.

Can-Am Off-Road:  Does Utah have any annual ATV jamborees? Have you been?

Rion: There are two jamborees that I know of that use the Paiute Trail System every year, and to me, it seems like the jamborees just keep getting bigger every year. Sometimes you see up to 30 or so ATVs or side-by-sides in each group that’s wandering around the trails. During these jamborees, there are usually lots of people, and everyone goes slowly and kicks up tons of dust. To be honest, jamborees are not really my thing since I’m not a fan of big groups of people. I prefer to ride solo.

Can-Am off Road: What’s the most challenging terrain you’ve ever ridden on? What kind of terrain do you prefer to ride on?

Rion: On a scale on 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest, the most challenging ride I’ve been on I would probably rate as a 7. There was a rocky trail above Koosharem Reservoir that was supposed to connect to a mountain that I wanted to get to the top of. In order to reach it, however, I had to hike by foot. The trail was hidden, and I really wanted to climb it since the only other trail was a paved road that was off-limits to ATVs. Not only was it a hot sunny day, but I had to stop every half hour or so just to stretch. It was a slow climb. 

My favorite terrain is any terrain that takes me to good views and is still challenging. I prefer mountain-type rides any day and am not a huge fan of mud bogging and sand dunes. Moab is awesome.

Can-Am Off Road: What is the terrain in Moab, Utah, like?

Rion: Moab is awesome. Bottom line. It’s one of the bigger players for rock related off-roading and hosts several off-road events each year. The town is lined with restaurants, outdoor/ATV rentals and hotels. Moab is dedicated to its riding community; it literally would become a ghost town if the trials were shut down. I try to get there whenever possible. In fact, I just got back from an event called “Cruise Moab.” It was at the beginning of May and it was awesome. I got a lot of really great pictures from this event. Here are some pictures from the Moab trip showing off some of the terrain.  There aren’t any ATVs in the shots, but the terrain is awesome.

Comments (

  1. Jeff Orn

    I would like to add some corrections and comments to the story: First of all the Paiute Trail system is part of a much larger trail system call Great Western Trail, which extends from Mexico to Canada for a total of 4,445 miles. As a matter of fact the Great Western Trail runs right up the middle of Utah, following the Wasatch Mountain Range.

    Speaking of Trails; it is true that the Paiute Trail is the most notable and perhaps the largest trail system in Utah. However, let’s not forget the Shoshone Trail system in northern Utah as it is becoming a very popular place to ride ATV’s. As mentioned Moab provides some of the unique and diverse places to ride, Little Sahara is great place for sport quads with the abundant sand and of course Sand Mountain. The Uinta Mountain’s provide hundreds of miles of forest trails to ride ATV’s on, many trails lead to lakes and ponds.

    Jamboree’s in Utah are more than two Jamboree’s in Utah, in fact there are ten Jamboree’s with the National ATV Jamboree being the largest staged on the Piute Trail.

    Listed are the Jamborees in Utah:

    Tri-State ATV Jamboree
    Salina Rendezvous
    Paiute UTV Jamboree
    Arapeen ATV Jamboree
    Rocky Mountain ATV Jamboree
    National ATV Jamboree
    Manti Mountain ATV Tour
    Bryce ATV Rally
    The San Juan ATV Safari
    Big Ride

    Utah has one of the most diverse riding environments to ride ATV’s, selecting what type of riding is never dull as each location has challenges and scenic landscapes that are breath taking, Can-Am Off Road nailed it when they selected Utah as the best place to ride ATV’s

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