Trails, Roads Aplenty for ATVs

ATV Vacationland

Hundreds of maintained trails and roads on public lands are open for all-terrain vehicle riders in Colorado and Utah, providing summer access to forests of pines and aspens or dramatic backdrops of red rocks and sand dunes.

From Glenwood Springs to Moab and Meeker to Telluride, nearly every area of the region has ATV roads or trails open for all levels of riders through the summer.

“You can pretty much go an hour in any direction from Grand Junction and be by yourself,” said Steve Chapel, president of the Western Slope ATV Association, an organization with more than 250 members according to its website,

In the Grand Junction area, ATV riders can head to nearby Bangs Canyon Third Flats trail system or the North Desert to access Bureau of Land Management trails with no fees.

Visit the BLM’s Grand Junction site at co/st/en/fo/gjfo/recreation/off-highway_vehicles. html for directions and trail descriptions.

Riders also can visit U.S. Forest Service land in the Grand Mesa or Uncompahgre national forests for more remote trails and roads at higher elevation.

“A typical ride for us is on the Uncompahgre or Grand Mesa and would cover 40 to 80 miles in a day,” Chapel said. “Most ATV people like trees. They want to go somewhere. They don’t just want to ride around in circles.”

Maps and information of area trails and roads are available at 49”> or at Grand Junction’s All-Terrain Motorsports, All Sports Honda and Grand Valley Powersports.

All Sports Honda and Funshares also rent ATVs in Grand Junction.

But the Grand Junction area is far from the only place ATV riders can go for an adventure. Other places include:

•The Glenwood Springs area, visitglenwood. com/atv-tours.

•The Rifle area, tourism/4-wheeling-atv.

•The Meeker area, which includes the White River National Forest, whiteriver/recreation/ohv/recarea/ ?recid=40411&actid=94.

•The Gateway area, colorado-adventure-vacations.aspx.

Two of the most popular and beautiful areas to ride are in the Eastern Utah area near Moab and the San Juan Mountains near Colorado towns Telluride and Ouray.

The high-elevation trails around Ouray and Telluride offer unparalleled views for drivers or those on tours. Go to ouray-activities/ATV.php or things-to-do/4x4-roading for information specific to the San Juan area.

One of the most popular ATV rides in the region is the White Wash Sand Dunes 48 miles northwest of Moab. Go to for information about this trail and many others in the area, as well as locations to rent an ATV or reserve a guided trip.

Know BeforeYou Go!

•Register your personal ATV through a Colorado State Parks office or another license agent. Cost is $25.25, and a large portion of that is returned to clubs such as the Western Slope ATV Association in the form of grants for trail maintenance and improvements.

Western Slope ATV Association President Steve Chapel said “registration enforcement is prevalent. The chance of getting a ticket is great.” A ticket costs twice as much as registration.

Colorado owners must obtain a non-resident permit for Utah because there is no reciprocity. Cost is $30. Go to for a copy of the application.

•Expect the unexpected. Colorado and Eastern Utah weather changes in the blink of an eye — consistently. ATVs can carry boxes full of rain gear, tow straps, bug spray and fire-making materials, and Chapel said you may need them all. Never ride alone because you never know what’s going to happen.

•ATVs are not toys. They flip easily, particularly when you get one wheel on a rock heading over a technical part of a trail. Chapel suggests a safety course, particularly for beginners or people unfamiliar with the terrain here. Search “ATV Safety Institute” online or contact the WSATVA at 970-242-8842 for information about local instructors.

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