By Lynn Blamires feature writer for My Local Utah
September is a big month for ATV jamborees in Utah. The Arapeen ATV Jamboree happens during the first week followed by the San Juan ATV Safari in the second week. The third week will be filled by the Rocky Mountain ATV Jamboree. Each one features unique and scenic parts of Utah.
Blanding Is This Year’s Host City
The San Juan ATV Safari is scheduled for September 14 – 17. While Blanding is the larger of the two major cities in San Juan County, Monticello shares host city billing every other year. This year Blanding has the honor.
Registration fees are $125 per rider, but if you bring a friend you will save $25 each. The registration includes the dinner on the mountain, three days of guided rides, a zippered hoodie, and the Safari banquet that closes the event.
While the 14th is a travel day, riders need to be there in the afternoon to pick up their packets. At 5 pm participants will leave from both the Monticello and Blanding Visitors Centers on a night ride. A catered dinner will be served at a bowery high up on the mountain where both groups will meet.
Eighteen Rides Will Showcase San Juan County
Each of the 18 rides will be accompanied by three experienced guides who know the trails and the sites of special interest along the way. Many of them are longtime residents of San Juan County and know the country well.
San Juan County ATV Trails are rich in Anasazi history. You will see a lot of evidence of their existence including dwellings, granaries, and ancient writings.
You will be able to choose three of the eighteen trails available at this jamboree. Each one is unique to this part of Utah. Riding these trails will only whet your appetite for more. This has been done by design – organizers want you to come back next year and ride three more of these amazing trails. So you can see that your next six years will find a September trip to San Juan County on your calendar.
All the rides leave at 8:00 a.m. from either Monticello or Blanding. With the exception of two rides out of Blanding, all of the rides will require trailering machines from 20 to 80 minutes to reach the trailheads. Riders will be responsible for their own lunches on the trail. It will be important to bring extra water and fuel.
Trails range in altitude from 5,000 to 11,000 feet and the opening ride will be at night. Riders are encouraged to be prepared for cool and inclement weather.
A Sample of the Rides Offered at the Jamboree
The Bridger Jack Trail
I have been on this trail, which features the stunning beauty of the red rock country. On the way to this trailhead, there will be a stop at Newspaper Rock – a petroglyph panel that records some 2,000 years of Anasazi history. There are archaeological sites along this trail that are a treat to see. It is rated moderate and UTVs are welcome
The Hook and Ladder Trail
This trail is rated moderate. A few technical sections exist that spotters will help you through. Features on this trail include a backside view through Wilson’s Arch, and beautiful views of red rock fins, canyons, and overlooks.
The Arch Canyon Trail
Loaded with arches, archaeological sites, and several stream crossings, this trail is sure to delight. Rated moderate, the Arch Canyon Trail features the beautiful Cathedral Arch and spectacular canyon views.
The River House Ruin Trail
Formerly a part of the Hole-in-the-Rock Trail, this historic track will pass the remains of the historic Barton Trading Post, San Juan Hill, some native rock art, and the famous River House Ruins. The trail is rated easy and scenic.
The Falls Missile Trail
This trail intrigues me because of how it is named. Near the falls on Lower Indian Creek is a spent booster rocket that was launched from Green River. It crashed to the earth at this spot and was never removed. The trail goes by this old rocket and on to traverse slick rock and several stream crossings. Riders will be on a trail next to Canyon Lands National Park offering some great views of the park.
More trail descriptions and information you will need to register can be found here. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and with only 95 people registered, there is plenty of room for you to join this safari.