Arizona Strip For ATV Riding
The 10th most popular all terrain vehicle trail in Arizona.
Monday 11 July 2016 04:12 GMT
In the far northwest corner of Arizona, the vast Arizona Strip has over 5,000 miles of dirt roads open to ATV riding. The roads traverse high desert and some ponderosa pine forest. The Frontier ATV Trail is one of the more popular routes with local ATV riders.
To reach the ATV trailhead for the Frontier ATV Trail from Hurricane Utah, turn south off of State Street onto S700W (Airport Road). Turn Right just before the Hurricane Airport (at the Animal Shelter) then continue south around the Hurricane airport. Continue on the road past a second airport, the Grassy Meadow Sky Ranch Air Park. Turn right at the end of the runway just before you cross the cattle gaurd. There is a parking area on the right side of the road.
The 63 mile Frontier ATV Trail is a combination of trails south of Hurricane, Utah, along the Arizona border. The loop combines several smaller routes including: the Honeymoon Trail, Temple Trail, Sunshine Trail, Warner Valley Trail, and Sand Hollow OHV Park. The name, Frontier ATV Trail, is not a formal name, but what many local riders call the route. While the loop can be ridden by an Novice/Intermediate rider, however there are two places, one on the Honeymoon Trail and one on the climb out of Warner Valley, that can be tricky and intimidating for the less experienced riders they will need help to get through these two areas.
From the parking area, ride south on the dirt road into what is called Grass Valley. At about 3.5 miles you come to a fork in the road. Take the left fork. Along your left youll notice a huge cliff line running N-S. This is the Hurricane Cliffs, formed by the Hurricane Fault, which runs the entire length of the valley. At some time in the ancient past, a huge earth quake dropped the valley and raised the cliff. The only way to get to the top of the cliff is up the Honeymoon Trail, which is our first destination. Use caution as there may be automobile or even truck traffic on the first part of the Grass Valley road. The farther south you go, the worse the road gets (better for ATV s). It may be dusty too, so goggles are suggested.
Continue south for approximately 9 miles. Just as you cross a large wash there is a trail that takes off to the left called the Honeymoon Trail (approx. 37 00 08N/113 18 16W) which is almost directly on top of the Utah/Arizona border.
The Honeymoon Trial zigzags from the valley floor to the top of the Hurricane Mesa. Its about 2 miles from the valley floor to the top of the mesa, and is basically an up and back down as theres no place much worth going after you get on top, but the views from up there are breathtaking. Near the top the trial crosses a rock flow that can be intimidating to less experienced riders as it causes an off camber situation very near the edge of the road near a steep drop into the gully. After you descend back to the valley, again turn south (TL) and go south approx. 5 miles where youll pick up the Temple Trail about the time that you cross Fort Pearce Wash.
About 9 miles further on south, youll ride underneath a set of high tension power lines (approx. 36 55 41N/113 21 53W). If later on you decide to take the short cut route back (blue trail), and not continue on the entire loop, this is where the shortcut return trail will drop you back onto the Temple Trail. From there you just backtrack north back to where you left the truck.
Continuing south, the trail becomes tougher, and more interesting. The cliff remains on your left as you traverse through an area of volcanic black basalt (approx. 36 54 07N/113 21 49W) called Black Canyon. Youll see what remains of an old Ford pickup trailer someone used to haul something in there.
Beyond the Black Rock canyon you will come to a large grass flat. Notice how the gullys have abruptly formed from the left out into the middle of the flat. The trail here has moved over the years as the gullys deepen. A Grand Canyon in the making.
Just beyond the flat, the trail forks. Turn right. If you continued south, you could follow the trail clear to the Navajo Trial and on to Mount Trumbell.
Continue west now for about 2.5 miles till you come to a fairly good north/south road (approx. 36 51 58N/113 23 56W). This is the turn around point on our loop. Heading south will take you towards Mt Trumbell. TR (north) back towards St. George. About 2.5 miles more on the left youll see the Blake Pond (approx. 36 52 49N/113 25 22W). Heres a good place to have lunch. Notice the lava capped ridges on the sides of the valley. There was once some serious volcanic activity in this area.
Leaving Blake Pond, you are heading north on the Sunshine Trail. The trail begins to zig zag back to the bottom of the valley. When you get to the bottom of the valley, the trail will "T" as you again come to the high tension power lines. Turning right (east) will take you to the short cut back to the Temple Trail. Turn left and the trail will run West for a few miles, then turn again North to continue the loop Northbound towards Warner Valley and the Sand Hollow Sand Dunes.
Just after the trail again turns North, watch on the left (west) side of the trail for a glinting glittery hill side that looks like shining pieces of broken glass. That’s not glass. It’s a mica (a mineral made of thin, layered glass like sheets) mine. You can find chunks of mica that are 6 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick. Its an interesting place to spend a few minutes. Theres no shafts here, just gouges where they’ve dug the mica out of the hill side. It’s a neat place to explore for a few minutes.
Continue North for about 9 miles until you come to a piece of pavement. Continue for about 3/4 mile then turn right heading east through a narrow pass that will take you into Warner Valley.
After about 2 mi going east, turn left heading north. If you do not turn left, this road (south east bound) will take you past the old Fort Pearce site and all the way back to the Grass Valley road where you began. After turning left, into Warner Valley the trail follows north up a sandy gully through Warner Valley. The canyon walls will be on both sides of the trail, and youll come up on some neat sand dunes hills that you can play on. Youll see the red Sand Mountain Cliffs on your right.
Continue north through Warner Valley for about 10 miles until you come to the actual road that parallels the Virgin River (it goes W and NE) through the hill that’s been on your left. You cant miss it cause you cant cross it.
TR (North east) when you hit the road and follow the road for about a mile. Bypass the first large valley youll see on your right. At the top youll run into a series of mega steep tall sand hills. If you climb them you will you end up on the same trail described below.
OTHERWISE, pass that first valley, and after a mile on this road, youll see a parking area on the right (apex 37 07 06N/113 25 35 W). Here youll see a well defined sandy road/trail that heads straight East, climbing up between the Sand Mountain cliffs.
Once you are on top, after about 1 mile there is a trail that turns South (TR) through an old fence line (approx. 37 06 44N/113 25 18 W). If you continue straight (east) the road will take you to the sand Hollow Reservoir.
Now it starts to get fun. TR through the old fence line and follow that sandy dual track whoop dee doo trail south about a mile and youll come the top of a huge sand dune. Drop down it into the valley (remember to play here a little) then climb up the trail on the other side. From here the main trail curves SW then SE around the top of the rim towards an area of slick rock that youll see farther to the south. There are tons of trails on top, so its hard to describe which one to take, but watch for trails that head towards the slick rock towards the SE as that’s the direction you want to take. You cant get lost here as most other trails dead end at the edge of the Sand Mountain cliff (don’t get too close…it’s a long way down!). Once you get to the slick rock youll come to the second place where you should help each other up a 18 inch ledge. Its an easy up, but can be a little spooky. Low range 4X4 here if you have it. Help each other up the ledge.
Once on top of the slick rock, continue in a SE arc around the top of Sand Mountain. Youll see one tall hill off in the distance about 5 or 6 miles. The trail goes right to it. There are lots of side trails to the right that will take you down into some interesting sandstone rock formations, but again youll come to cliffs with no way off, so ultimately youll need to continue on to that tall hill which youll want to do, because just beyond that hill is the back side of the Sand Hollow Sand Dune where the wonderful sand dune bowls are located.
Overall, Arizona Strip is the 10th most popular ATV riding trail of all 42 ATV trails in Arizona.