Posts Tagged ‘Utah ATV Trails’

ATV Riding / Mountain Biking – Hell’s Hole & Velvet Ridge

Monday, April 8th, 2013

The Velvet Ridge trail to Hell’s Hole is a combo ATV and mountain bike trail located off Highway 24 between Bicknell and Torrey. The trail is 19 miles round trip from both the Velvet Ridge and Sand Creek staging areas (depending on when and where you stop to play).  This thrill-a-minute trail is moderately difficult, with opportunities for some extreme adventure during the last mile or so to Hell’s Hole.  The rough trail is mainly a colorful mix of ash gray bentonite-rich hills and loose red rock, with rugged sandstone cliffs and rock formations along the way.

Velvet Ridge - Mountain Biking Trail

A mountain biker gazes from the Velvet Ridge down onto the Fremont River and valley below.

The Velvet Ridge staging area is at the northeast end of Bicknell, and opens up to a dramatic, twisting trail. The ridge overlooks the Fremont River, winding through the valley below.   To the south, Boulder Mountain rises to 11,000 feet.   To the east, you’ll get views of Torrey and the Henry Mountains.  An open area further down the ridge is a perfect ATV playground.

Hell's Hole

A view of the back of the canyon at Hell's Hole

After cresting a hill along the ridge you’ll cross a dry wash before heading into a long canyon lined with vertical sandstone cliffs. ATV’s may pick up some speed in the soft sand as they get ready for some steep inclines heading into Hell’s Hole, the final destination at 8,650 feet.   Before heading back take some time to explore on foot, and climb the craggy red and white sandstone formations.   There’s a view of Thousand Lakes Mountain at the north end of Hell’s Hole.

Mountain bikers will enjoy riding the rim of the Velvet Ridge or working their way through the rough rock and sparse tree lined areas, but be aware that the Hell’s Hole area is a sandy trail, and less ideal for single track explorers.

ATV trail - Utah

The sandy trail into Hell's Hole near Torrey and Bicknell, Utah

Inside the Sandy Creek area there is a wide open OHV/ATV recreation area.  This section is perfect for playing and exploring, with marked boundaries but no specific designated trails.  Trail coordinates to different trail-heads and points of interest can be found here.

Trail tips: This is a shared ATV/mountain bike trail, so use good judgment and safe riding practices, along with proper equipment and supplies. Check for weather conditions before heading out. The Velvet Ridge trail can also be accessed from Torrey.

Read more about ATV riding in this area – here.

Learn more about mountain biking opportunities by clicking  on the link.

Utah ATV Trails – Capitol Reef Region

Monday, September 26th, 2011

A Good ATV Day with Red & Ray

A few days ago I was sitting in a local diner eating a delicious cheese omelet, hash-browns, and wheat toast for breakfast. My orange juice was getting low as I heard a couple of guys sit down in the booth behind me. They commenced to talk and from time to time I heard the words ATV and trails escape their lips. I finished my breakfast, paid my bill and wandered past the booth where these two men were finishing their own plates. “I heard you two talking about ATV’s and was curious if you are here riding trails,” I said to them. We struck up a conversation and soon I was sitting in their booth talking about all the great ATV trails there are to ride in this region just west of Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park.

I learned that Red is 83 years old and had been invited by his brother-in-law Ray to get away from his home in Auburn, Wyoming and spend a few days riding ATV’s in the Boulder and Thousand Lakes mountains. At the spry age of 75 Ray hailed from American Fork, Utah and has spent the better part of 20 years working and adventuring in southern Utah.  It wasn’t long before we agreed to get out and ride together that morning. I had my ATV in the back of my truck and their ATV’s were just down the street.

Utah ATV riding in Capitol Reef Country

Ray (left) and Red (right) pose along the trail.

In a few minutes we were at the trail-head for the Velvet Ridges and Hell’s Hole, just on the northeast end of the town of Bicknell, Utah. Following a twisting trail, we climbed quickly as a rich blue sky greeted us along with a dramatic section of ash grey and burgundy red hills of clay. Higher above rose a long section of sandstone cliffs that glowed in the morning sun. We wore light jackets and gloves with morning temperatures in the mid 60’s and not a hint of a breeze. One thing about an ATV is it is the great equalizer when it comes to exploring, and Ray, Red, and I easily kept pace with each other.

Utah ATV Tours

A view from the Velvet Ridge plateau to the Fremont River below.

Our first stop was at an overlook along the Velvet Ridges where we could see the famous Fremont River winding through a lush valley below, and the pine forested Boulder Mountain to the south rising to over 11,000 feet. To the east we could see toward Torrey, Utah and beyond to the Henry Mountains. Further along the trail we came to an open area along the Velvet Ridges ideal for an ATV playground. We climbed to the crest of one multi-colored clay hill and rode the ridges for a short way before swinging north toward a raveen.

ATV Trail

Ray crossed a stream along the trail to Hell's Hole.

Crossing through a dry wash we circled around the end of a section of sandstone cliffs and made our way back into a long box canyon. The sandstone cliffs quickly rose vertically on both sides as we pushed along a sandy trail and down through a shallow river crossing. The soft-sand trail ahead allowed us to pick up some speed until we encountered a series of steep inclines.

Capitol Reef National Park area scenic Views

Hell's Hole in the back of a box canyon above Torrey and Bicknell, Utah

As we crested the last of these ridges the Hell’s Hole section in the back of the box canyon opened to our view. Dramatic white and red sandstone formations laid out before us in a wide semi-circle. We paused here for a while as I took some photographs. Some leaves were already taking on their fall colors as a light breeze caused them to flutter by the thousands. The canyon seemed to be the ideal place for Native Americans to have lived in ancient times. Further north we could see the rim of Thousand Lakes Mountain but this was our turning point for this trail.

This is just one of a myriad of possible trails in the Capitol Reef region of Utah, but this truly was the beginning of another good day thanks to my ATV adventure with Red and Ray.

Note:  This trail can also be accessed from Torrey, Utah.  Click on the images in this blog post to see a larger view.    View the following video on ATV riding in the region west of Capitol Reef National Park.