- Total Trail Miles: 275 mile loop (with 900+ additional miles)
- Location: Central Utah
- Skill Level: Easy/moderate
- Fee: Utah OHV permit required – $30
- Usage: Moderate
- Open: Late spring/late summer – late Fall (depending on elevation)
- Towns With Trail Access: Marysvale, Richfield, Beaver, Fillmore, Salina +
- Vehicles Allowed: Bikes, ATV, SxS, UTV (Varies by section)
The Paiute Trail is more than just a single trail, it’s more of an extensive trail network of interconnected trails.
However, there is a main loop trail that swings through mountain ranges and several different small towns along it’s journey. This is the primary loop trail and typically what most people are referring to when talking about the Paiute Trail.
Central Utah and the Paiute Trail offer some of the best ATV trails in Utah. In fact, we like the Paiute Trail so much we include it in our roundup of the 10 Best ATV Trails.
Although this is a popular riding area, with a riding area this big, it never seems too crowded on the trails. With hundreds of miles of trails and roads, it’s possible to run into only a handful of other riders all day.
On some days, especially Monday – Thursday, it may even seem like you have the trails all to yourself.
Terrain: Forests, mountains, meadows, desert, canyons, valleys, small towns, ridgelines, sweeping vistas.
Activities: Off roading, camping, hiking, biking, horseback riding and fishing.
Wildlife Viewing: Deer, elk, mountain goats, golden eagles, bald eagles.
Utah No Longer Offers Reciprocity
As of 1/1/2020, Utah no longer honor out of state OHV registration.
The Main Paiute Trail Loop
The main Paiute Trail Loop is 275 miles long. Plan on 25 hours of riding just for completing this main loop.
Over 75% of the Paiute Trail is in the Fishlake National Forest. The remaining 25% is primarily BLM land combined with a small amount of private land.
The loop is rated as overall moderate, but its a mix of easy and moderate. More adventurous riders can find some advanced trails off this primary loop.
Travel over mountains, through remote canyons and across harsh desert – all the best that Utah has to offer.
Riders will traverse three mountain ranges: Tushar Mountains, Monroe Mountain and Pahvant Range.
The elevation of the Paiute Loop varies from just under 6,000′ to mountain passes over 11,000′. These large differences in elevations mean that riding conditions can vary widely depending on elevation.
Portions of the trail at these higher elevations may still be under snow well into the summer. So, while lower elevation portions of the trail may be open for riding in late spring, the mountain passes are closed and unsafe for travel.
So, if you’re planning on doing the whole loop, it’s generally recommended that you wait until mid – late July. Unfortunately, the lower desert portions will be pretty hot at this point, but that’s all part of the adventure.
Personally I think the fall is always the best time for most rides and this ATV trail is no exception. September/October are almost ideal for riding in Utah. The lower desert cools down a bit and the upper mountains are still clear of snow.
End of September through early October is when the foliage is at it’s Autumn finest. Riding through the mountains under a canopy of golden Aspen is truly off roading at it’s best.
Of course, there’s always the possibility of icy conditions or an early snowstorm at higher elevations, so riders need to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature dishes out.
Petroglyphs and Pictographs are common throughout this region and can be found in several places along the trail.
Fremont Indian State Park in Clear Creek Canyon has some excellent examples of this prehistoric artwork.
More Great Riding – Utah OHV Sand Dunes
Little Sahara Recreation Area (Eureka, Utah)
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park (Kanab, Utah)
Paiute ATV Trail Width Restrictions
Everyone can have a good time on the Paiute Trail without having to worry about size.
The vast majority of the trails are open to vehicles <60”.
Some small sections and side trails are designated < 50”, but this is a non-issue. There are so many trails that it’s easy to find an alternative route to get you where you need to be.
Some Forest Service roads are even open to off roading for full sized 4x4s, but you can’t do the Paiute Trail in a full sized vehicle.
Paiute Trail Jamboree
In early August, join 100s of other off roading enthusiasts for the Paiute Trail Jamboree. You’ll be talking and dreaming about this event for the rest of the year.
More Paiute Trails
The main loop trail also provides access to almost unlimited ATV trails and roads. Riders will find an additional 900+ miles of marked ATV trails in the Paiute Trail system as well as 2,000 miles of additional forest service roads and trails.
Honestly there are far too many trails to list, but here are are some of the most popular/most beautiful Paiute trails.
Bullion Canyon (Canyon of Gold)
Fremont ATV Trail – You can pick up the Fremont Trail in Circleville. This 50 mile trail takes you to to Tropic Reservoir just outside of Bryce Canyon National Park. Off the Fremont Trail you can access Casto Canyon Trail – widely considered one of the best off roading routes in Utah. US Forest Service: Casto Canyon Trail
Forest Service: Trails In Fishlake National Forest
Forest Service: OHV Roads In Fishlake National Forest
Multi-Day Trips On The Paiute Trail
The Paiute Loop is perfect for multi-day trips. One of the beautiful features of this trail is that you can plan a trip to suit all riders.
If your idea of roughing it is to stay in hotels every night with a warm soft bed, then the Paiute Trail is for you. If you like camping in the remote wilderness under a blanket of stars, then the Paiute Trail is for you too.
There are many small towns scattered along the loop with lodging, campgrounds, gas and restaurants. You can easily get on and off the trail. So, enjoy that hotel room, hot shower and restaurant meal.
Or, if camping on the trail is more your idea of an adventure, you’ll find plenty of wide open nature to pitch a tent, relax and unwind.
No matter what your needs, it’s easy to make it happen on the Paiute.
More Great Riding In Utah
5 Family Friendly ATV Trails In Moab
Preparing For The Trail
Even though the Paiute Trail travels through several small towns, this is a large trail system in big wild nature. All riders need to be prepared for dramatic weather changes and emergency situations such as flat tires and breakdowns.
It’s always best to ride with a partner and pack basic safety equipment such a winch, an emergency kit, extra gas, plenty of water, flat tire repair kit, first aid box and ATV tool kit.
With the lower portions of the trail at 6,000′ and the mountain crossings at 11,000′, this 5,000′ difference in elevation will result in large temperature differences. Temperatures can vary by as much as 20 -30 degrees, so plan accordingly.
In the desert, temperatures drop dramatically once the sun goes down. If you’re planning on camping on the trail, plan for a 30 – 40 degrees temperature drop even at the lower elevations.
Riders with respiratory problems or heart conditions need to be aware that reduced oxygen levels at the higher elevations can create health risks. It’s advised that people with existing health conditions consult with a doctor prior to embarking on an adventure at a high altitude.
Also, some otherwise healthy riders who live at sea level sometimes experience elevation sickness such as nausea and energy loss at higher elevations. Typically these symptoms resolve after a couple days of acclimatization.
Anyone experiencing altitude sickness symptoms should immediately go to a lower elevation. Consult a doctor if symptoms are severe.
Free Forest Service Trail Maps
Free motor vehicle use maps (MVUM) are available at local Forest Service offices.
Click to open these Forest Service OHV maps (opens in a new tab)
- Beaver Map
- Fillmore (South)
- Fremont River North
- Fremont River-Teasdale Portion
- Richfield (Salina Section)
Best Map For The Paiute Trail
The free maps are good for an overview, but they lack important details. If you’re planning to do the whole loop, it’s worth it to buy this map.
Paiute Trail – Great Western Trail – Fillmore Loop, Marysvale Loop – Richfield Loop
- Paiute Trail vehicle width restrictions
- Shows new <60” Trails
- Contains trail numbers
- Color coded trail difficulty (easy, moderate, difficult)
- Comprehensive ATV trail map of entire region
- Includes the Paiute Trails as well as other roads and trails
- Campgrounds are marked on the map
- Designated routes through towns
- Lists other features such as bathrooms, picnic areas, fishing, restaurants and gas
ATV Friendly Towns
Marysvale, Richfield, Beaver, Fillmore, Salina, Elsinore, Annabella, Circleville, Junction, Koosharem, Antimony, Angel, Monroe, Joseph, Aurora, and Kanosh.
The Paiute Trail is essential to the economies of the small towns scattered along the loop, so they are all ATV friendly.
ATV routes run through the towns to make it easy to get on and off the trail for gas and services.
- With a 5,000′ difference in trail elevation, temperatures will fluctuate wildly
- Temperatures drop dramatically at night (even at the lower elevations)
- Out of state trail riders need to purchase a non-resident OHV permit
- When passing horses on the trail, pull to the side and turn off your engine
- Utah has special rules governing youth operators
Utah Youth Operator Rules
- Utah State law requires that operators of ATV’s be 8 years of age or older.
- Operators between 8 -16 years old must be state certified in order to ride on public lands.
- Any rider between the ages of 8 and 16 who is certified or otherwise legal in his or her home state can legally ride in the state of Utah for a period of 14 days.
- Parents or guardians of younger riders are required to provide close supervision while riding.
Paiute Trail Rules
- Yield to non-motorized users
- When passing horses, turn off engine, so horses don’t get spooked
- Stay on designated trails
- No cross country travel
- Minimize environmental damage
- Cross streams slowly to limit damage
- Respect wildlife
- Do not litter
- Practice “leave no trace principles”
Utah OHV Registration Requirements
- Utah residents are required to register all OHVs for $35
- Non residents will need to purchase an OHV permit for $30
- If you purchase a non-resident permit online, there is a $5 surcharge
- All OHV registrations/permits are valid for 12 months from the time of purchase
- Non resident permits can be purchased online or in person (call before you drive!)
Utah Residents: Register OHV
Non-Residents: Non Resident Permit
Featured Image Of The Paiute Trail By Michael Wachel Photography | Flickr