HomeTrails5 Family Friendly ATV Trails In Moab

5 Family Friendly ATV Trails In Moab

Easy ATV Trails In Moab

Monitor and Merrimac Trail

Monitor and Merrimac Trail
  • Length: 18.5 miles (loop)
  • Skill Level: Moderate
  • Driving Time: 3 hours
  • Fees: None
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Open: Year round
  • Surface: Slick rock, soft sand, washes
  • Services Available: None
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATV, SxS, UTV, full size, dual sport

Don’t confuse this ATV trail with the bike/hike trail with same name.

Located 12 miles north of Moab off Hwy 191. Driving north, the trailhead is .6 miles past Hwy 313 on the left.

This riding area goes by several different names including Monitor and Merrimac Trail, Buttes and Towers Trail and Determination Towers.

This is a popular riding area that offers a variety of riding opportunities.

Easy Offroading In Moab Utah

Although this trail is usually rated as moderate, it’s not all that difficult. Most riders with good tires and a bit of riding experience will be able to navigate this trail with no problem.

When the trail is dry the biggest obstacles are some shelves, slick rock and soft sand which are easy to navigate. But, if the trail is wet, things can get a bit tougher. Some of the riding takes you through some washes that can be wet and muddy making it more challenging.

For some added challenge, there is a rock step area called Wipe Out Hill. These steps are adjacent to the trail near the butte area, but not actually part of the trail. So, this challenge is completely optional.

This riding area is primarily open flat desert with some rolling terrain, soft sand, rocky sections, slick rock, washes and a couple shelves.

- Advertisement -

Riders will enjoy views of several towering red rock formations including the Determination Tower pinnacles, Courthouse Rock, Alien Rock, Big Mesa, Pasture Butte and the Monitor and Merrimac buttes from which the trail gains it’s name.

There’s a short hiking trail off the ATV trail where you can check out some excavated dinosaur fossils which are common throughout the Moab area. Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite

Monitor and Merrimac Trail

Long Canyon

Long Canyon ATV Trail
  • Length: 7.5 miles (one way)
  • Skill Level: Easy
  • Driving Time: 1 hour
  • Fees: None
  • Usage: Moderate
  • Open: Year round
  • Surface: Hard pack, soft sand, slick rock
  • Services Available: None
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATV, SxS, UTV, full size, dual sport

You can find the start of this trail at the Jug Handle Arch Parking area off Hwy 279. There are also some petroglyphs at Jug Handle that are worth checking out. You have to hike up to the cliff face to see them, but it’s a short, easy hike.

A short but sweet ride that takes you from the Colorado River up through a steep narrow canyon to a junction where you can access both Deadhorse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park. It’s a fun, “secret” back door entry to these two popular tourist destinations.

This trail is very easy with most of it on hard packed dirt. There’s no scary drop offs or steep descents, so even the most novice of riders will have fun on this trail.

Riders do need to be aware that after heavy rains, there can be some rock falls that may result in the BLM closing the canyon in order to repair the trail.

Long Canyon Moab UT
Long Canyon ATV Trail

Most ATV riders will probably do this as an out and back for a 15 mile trip. You can ride this trail in either direction, or as an out and back. But, the ride down from Canyonlands NP offers the best view.

One fun feature of this ride is a small tunnel that formed when a big boulder crashed down creating a small overhang.

You can easily combine this ride with Potash Road, they both have the same jumping off point.

Long Canyon – Trip Report

Roundup Of The Best ATV Trails In Utah

Hurrah Pass

Hurrah Pass Jeep Road
  • Length: 21.6 miles (one way)
  • Skill Level: Easy
  • Driving Time: 4-5 hours
  • Fees: None
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Open: Year round
  • Surface: Gravel, hard pack red sand
  • Services Available: None
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATV, SxS, UTV, full size, dual sport
- Advertisement -

This family friendly drive is one of the most popular ATV trails in Moab. This also makes it one of the busiest. But, even though you won’t have the road to yourself this trail is popular for a reason.

It’s a smorgasbord of everything that makes Moab great – red rock cliffs, dramatic rock formations, deep red canyons, sweeping views of the Colorado River and petroglyphs.

Hurrah Pass

Birthing Rock (Birthing Scene) Petroglyph is right off this trail. This is one of the best known and most petroglyphs in Moab. The petroglyphs are on Kane Springs Road which becomes the Hurrah Pass Trail.

If you’re looking for a short family outing, Birthing Rock is ideal. A round trip out to the Birthing Scene can be done in less than 1 1/2 hours from Moab.  

More of a road than a trail, even a high clearance two wheel drive vehicle can make this journey on most days.

Hurrah Pass Sign offroad UT
Hurrah Pass ATV Trail In Moab

There is a creek crossing, Kane Creek, that is usually dry. However, desert regions are prone to flash flooding which could make passing unsafe.

If you’re looking for more of a challenge, continue onto Chicken Corners dramatically perched high above the Colorado River. Chicken Corners follows the Colorado River offering breathtaking views and ends with a view of Dead Horse Point across the canyon.

Hurrah Pass

Best Guide Book For Off Roading In Moab

Chuck Wells’ book is by far the best guide for off roading in Moab with 80 trails for all skill levels.

Trail descriptions = 34 advanced, 23 moderate and 23 easy.

This guide tells you what types of vehicles are allowed and/or recommended on these trails so it works for ATVs, UTVs, SxS, dual sports and full sized vehicles.

Each trail has it’s own detailed section with a full map, turn by turn directions, historic points of interest and GPS waypoints. There are also lots of pictures. One of the most helpful parts is the pictures of the most challenging sections so you can really see what you’re getting into.

More Great Riding – Utah OHV Sand Dunes

Little Sahara Recreation Area (Eureka, Utah)

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park (Kanab, Utah)

Wild ATV
  • Summers are crazy hot in Moab
  • Expect temperatures over 90 degrees from mid May – mid September
  • Spring and late Fall are ideal for riding the ATV trails in Moab
  • Ride in May to experience the beautiful wild flowers
  • Utah allows street legal ATVs that meet certain requirements

Potash Road (start of the Shafer Trail)

Potash Road
  • Length: 17 miles (one way)
  • Skill Level: Easy
  • Driving Time: 2 hours
  • Fees: None
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Open: Year round
  • Surface: Hard pack
  • Services Available: None
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATV, SxS, UTV, full size, dual sport

Super easy ride along the Colorado River with dramatic red sandstone cliffs and interesting rock formations.

This drive doesn’t strictly qualify as an ATV trail, but Moab does allow for street legal ATVs so I’m including it! Most of this drive is on a paved road, so vehicles will need to be registered and licensed as street legal.

Potash Road has a couple family friendly attractions including two large panels of petroglyphs and some dinosaur tracks. The petroglyphs can be viewed right from the road – perfect for families with small children or visitors with disabilities not up for a hike.

The dinosaur tracks are also fairly accessible, but they do require a short hike over some rocky terrain. Potash Road Petroglyphs and Dinosaur Tracks

ATV Moab Utah
Potash Road petroglyphs viewable from road

Another interesting surprise on this trail, is the technicolor potash evaporation ponds. Potash is a salt that contains water soluble potassium used in farm fertilizing. Potash is pumped into the ponds that is dyed an electric blue to help it absorb sunlight to accelerate evaporation. Over 300 days, the water slowly evaporates leaving the potassium behind.

This process is considered environmentally friendly and is closely monitored, so enjoy the view. Walking down to the ponds is discouraged, but they can be clearly seen from the road.

At the start of this road you can visit Jug Handle Arch and Petroglyphs which is easily accessible, but not one of Moab’s best arches. But, if you’d like to stretch your legs a bit, the Corona Arch is a 3 mile hike off Potash Road. Corona Arch is one of the best, most dramatic arches in the Moab area.

This road leads to the Shafer Switchbacks (Shafer Trail) that is part of the White Rim Trail. Unfortunately the Shafer Trail and the White Rim Trail are not open to ATVs because these trails are in Canyonlands National Park.

Even if your ATV is street legal, you can’t ride the trails or roads in Canyonlands National Park.

You can easily combine this ride with Long Canyon, both have the same jumping off point.

Family Friendly ATV Trails In Moab

Geyser Pass (La Sal Mountains)

Geyser Pass ATV Trail
  • Length: 25.4 (one way)
  • Skill Level: Easy
  • Driving Time: 2-3 hours
  • Fees: None
  • Usage: Moderate
  • Open: Year round
  • Surface: Hard pack, sand, gravel
  • Services Available: None
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATV, SxS, UTV, full size, dual sport

A bit more off the beaten track than most Moab ATV Trails, but still popular and well worth the effort.

Ride from the desert floor, through forests of pine and aspen, visit back country lakes and top a high mountain pass with sweeping view.

There are a couple trails in the La Sal Mountain, this write up is for Geyser Pass which is an easy drive. La Sal Pass is a different trail altogether and is rated as easy/moderate. (La Sal Pass isn’t actually too difficult, there are just some rock fields that are a bit bumpy, but nothing technical. See the write up and rating from the local 4×4 club: La Sal Pass)

These two trails can be combined for a 44 mile loop of the La Sal Mountain or you can do Geyser Pass as an out and back with a return to Moab on either Hwy 46 or 191.

La Sal Mountains Moab UT
La Sal Mountains

If you’re braving the hot summer sun of Moab and looking for a break from the heat, this is the ATV trail for you. A big selling point of this trail is that at 10,600 feet, Geyser Pass is a lot cooler than down in the valley.

Consider driving this trail late September to early October when the Aspen are changing to gold and you won’t be disappointed.

You’ll see some side trails off the main road which can be a fun diversion, but most don’t go too far.

La Sal Mountain Loop – This is a great write up from a Jeeper. Excellent pictures from an early fall ride.

You can enjoy the La Sal Mountains even without an ATV, check out the paved La Sal Mountain Loop State Scenic Backway

Read Next