The Fremont ATV Trail a long ride but worth it

Lynn Blamires courtesy photos
While riding the Fremont Trail the scenery takes on a new look through each...
Story by Lynn Blamires
August 4, 2010
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The Paiute ATV Trail system is famous in the ATV community. It connects the cities of Fillmore, Richfield, Salina, Marysvale, and Circleville in a 300 mile loop.

What is not as well known is the Fremont Trail that connects the Paiute system with the Paunsaugunt and Panguitch trail systems. That means that you can pack an ATV and leave from Salina on an adventure that would take you all the way to Bryce Canyon. While you can’t ride ATVs in the park, the Paunsaugunt trail offers great views from outside the park. A side trip down Casto Canyon to Panguitch provides access to trails around Panguitch Lake.

I recently led a group from the Northern Utah ATV Trail Riders on a round-trip adventure on the Fremont Trail. We traveled from Bryce Canyon on the south end, north to Circleville and back. I told them the ride would be about 110 miles, but I missed a turn that added 30 miles to the ride.

We stayed at Foster’s Restaurant and Motel on Highway 12 near Bryce Canyon. They offered the

club an attractive package that included meals and lodging.

We left on a frontage trail that took us to the East Fork Road. I was planning to go a short distance, but I missed my turn and rode all the way to Tropic Reservoir where the south end of the Fremont Trail begins. We turned back north and followed along the other side of the East Fork of the Sevier River through Coyote Hollow across Highway 12. I like the Fremont; the trail is smooth and it covers a lot of ground. It allows you to scoot along at a good clip and see a lot of scenery.

We followed Tom’s Best Spring Road and then Berry Spring Creek to Tent Hollow where I missed another turn. Instead of going straight into Tent Hollow, I turned left on a trail that dead-ends on a ridge. The view is nice, but I was leading thirty riders and I am sure they were beginning to wonder if I knew where I was going. I could have acted suave and gathered everyone for a view from the point but they had already seen me stop and pull out the map.

I turned back and smiled sheepishly at the riders as I passed them. Actually, I was the only one who knew I was smiling because I was wearing a full-face helmet.

Turning down into Tent Hollow, we moved onto a section of the trail know as Sand Wash. From there to the bottom of Sanford Creek Canyon there are some great water crossings. The trail comes out of Dixie National Forest at the bottom of the canyon and then turns back into the forest through Smith Canyon passing Bull Rush Peak and Horse Valley Peak on the way into Circleville. We had lunch at Butch Cassidy’s Café where we contemplated our ride back.

The Fremont Trail is not a loop; you go back the same way you came. Here is a great example of a phenomenon enjoyed by trail riders. The views on the way back are like being on a completely different trail. While I prefer to ride a loop, I enjoy seeing the views on a trail going the other way.

The variety of vegetation and landscape is very enjoyable. Toward the south end, the huge ponderosa pine and carpets of Manzanita bushes provide the backdrop. Through the Limekiln Creek area, the land is white against the pines and ground cover. Near the base of Blind Spring Mountain, the trail turns east through a burned out area of forest. The bark has been burned off the trees creating tall white sentries producing an eerie scene. The rock formations in Smith Canyon are gargoyle-like and you can easily get the feeling that you are being watched. I noticed many formations along this trail like the ones in Bryce Canyon only without the orange color.

I would rate this trail as intermediate because of its length. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and make sure your friends know it is going to be a long ride.

You may contact Lynn Blamires at quadmanone@gmail.com.

Lynn Blamires

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