Winters in Utah can be tough on everyone and everything. Heavy snowfall can damage houses, temperature fluctuations can crack roads, and the frigid air can affect your health. It’s a season when a lot of people follow the examples of bears and other animals, and settle down for a few months of lethargy.
But if you’re more adventurous, winter can be the perfect time to take your all-terrain vehicle out for a spin. Although there are businesses that offer ATV winterizing in Salt Lake City, you can take advantage of the fewer crowds to explore some of Utah’s finest trails. If you do, be mindful of the cold temperatures and follow a few guidelines for riding your vehicle in the winter.
Although some parts of the state become snowbound in the winter, these trails remain open to ATVs throughout all four seasons. They offer varying vistas, from sand dunes to lush juniper forests, which are perfect to break the monotony of bleak winter landscapes.
The national forests of Utah have a variety of roads for you. They range from rough, leaf-strewn switchbacks to paved roads under the forest canopy.
The Monte Cristo Trail System at the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest is a looping 16-mile trail. Parts of the trail are open to ATVs year round. Three trails are open throughout the entire year at Ashley National Forest. Among them are the Yellowstone ATV Trail, Old Carter Military Road Trail, and Outlaw Trail. You’ll enjoy the sagebrush and juniper trees that line these trails, which perfume the air with their aroma.
You can ride your ATV up sand dunes hundreds of feet tall and explore windswept rocks at the Little Sahara Recreation Area, in north central Utah. The area has four campgrounds spread out over 60,000 acres of desert with amenities like playgrounds, hiking trails, and camping grounds.
Bear Lake State Park has trails that wind through rough canyons where you can find secluded meadows. You can even ride around Bear Lake, which has a lovely blue-green shimmer because of the calcium carbonate in the water.
Tips for the Winter Rider
Before you take on these trails, make sure that you won’t get into an epic ATV fail by preparing yourself and your vehicle.
You should protect yourself from the cold. Your usual riding jacket and attire may not be enough to keep away the winter chill, so wear insulated and layered clothing before you climb aboard your ATV. Keep your extremities warm. Your ability to steer and control your vehicle relies on your feet and hands, so make sure they remain flexible and functional in freezing temperature. Wear socks and tall rubber boots on your feet and keep your fingers warm and snug with a quality pair of mittens.
Your ATV also needs to be ready for the winter weather. Clean and grease important parts of your ATV, such as the electrical connections, control cables, and the lube points of the chassis. This will keep your ATV functioning smoothly through your rides. All your fluids, like gas and coolants, should be treated or replaced with substances that remain effective in the cold.
Utah can be the playground of an adventurous soul even during the winter. You can find stirring vistas and uplifting experiences along its trails on your ATV. Just be sure to take sensible measures, and prepare for the snow and cold so that your journeys become an inspirational tale instead of a cautionary one.