ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours
Another Fantastic Adventure in Southern Utah!
I legitimately felt like a little kid during and after my excursion with ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours last week. After it was over, in all seriousness, I had childlike, adrenaline-filled emotions begin to surface – like when you were young and your parents took you somewhere awesome like an amusement park or an arcade or something and then suddenly they tell you that it’s time to go home and you start complaining, saying things like “What?! We just got here!” when really you’ve been there for 5 hours – or “Mom, I don’t want to go home!” because you’re having too much dang fun! Honestly, that’s how I felt. Want to hear all about it? Great! I’ll tell you.
Pre-Trip Training & Introduction
After very easily filling out the electronic waivers and consent forms that were emailed to us weeks in advance, the day of the tour finally came and my wife and I drove from our home in St. George, UT to Sand Hollow Reservoir in Hurricane, UT. Without any trouble, we found the gravel parking lot that serves as the starting point for all three variations of their tours. When we approached we saw 8 ATVs (2 of which were quads) lined up nicely in a row around which participants were fishing through containers for their appropriate sizes of sunglasses, gloves, and bandanas that were provided by the tour staff. Rob (our tour guide) and Gary (the sweeper, meaning he brings up the rear) greeted and welcomed us and helped us pick out equipment that fit and then he directed us to the ATVs that we would be riding; my wife and I were each on our own individual machine. All the participants mounted their vehicles.
Then came Rob’s safety speech that was delivered with assured authority. Rob was obviously very good at his job – an experienced and seasoned guide. I trusted and respected him immediately. Following the safety, speech came instructions on how to operate the ATVs. He gave hands-on, personalized instruction to each rider, making sure we were all comfortable and without questions. Rob then hopped on his ATV and said: “start ‘em up!” We all started our engines and in turn accelerated in a straight line – 2 procession-style – following the rider in front of us while maintaining a safe distance (3 vehicle lengths). Adjacent to the parking lot was a small (compared to what was to come) area of sand dunes used to allow novice riders like myself to get our feet wet and become familiar with how our particular ATV operates and feels. We practiced going uphill, downhill, and even scaled a small rocky incline.
Our Adventure Begins
From there we were off! We began our 4 hours, 22 mile journey at speeds ranging from moderate to brisk and traversed breathtaking sandy backroads – well, more like trails, really – on our ATVs with Rob leading the way and Gary bringing up the back, taking care to follow the tracks of the rider in front of us, all the while viewing some of the most spectacular scenery I never knew was less than 20 miles away from where I lived. We gradually climbed in elevation as we progressed through the tour, stopping a few times allowing Rob to educate us on local plant life, geography, and history (don’t get too close to the Cholla cactus. Trust me).
During the ride, Rob would often speed up which gave us the green light to go faster, which was so much fun! Riding through a box canyon was decidedly a highlight for everyone. About 60% of the way through our journey, as we were traveling on what’s called the West Rim Trail, Rob stopped us at an area he called “Jurassic Park”, affectionately named for the incredible natural rock formations that closely resemble dinosaurs. Many of the participants climbed up some of the “dinosaurs”, taking pictures. From there we walked over to a cliff ledge where we stood and looked out at an empty valley with traces of rock towers placed sparsely throughout, on the horizon of which were miniature versions of Bloomington, St. George, and Washington cities looking microscopic from our high cliff ledge. A lot of pictures were taken there by everyone present, including me. I’ve attached some of them here.
From “Jurassic Park” we hopped back on our machines and elevated only a little bit more until going predominantly downhill for the duration of the trip, which was exhilarating! Less than a mile from the cliff ledge mentioned above were hundreds and hundreds of acres of beautiful sand dunes where we were allowed an extra degree of freedom as far as our speed and cortege were concerned. We went high up against the sides of dunes and sped back down, repeating this as we overtook dunes of all shapes and sizes. It was like I was in control of my own roller coaster – creating, steering, and riding all at the same time. Perhaps someone with more experience off-roading on sand dunes would feel a different sense of fun, but like I said at the beginning, I absolutely felt like a little kid getting the keys to my parent’s car and running amok! It was a complete blast. I didn’t want it to end!
For those who are interested (which you are if you’re reading this), we took the middle-tier tour that was 4 hours long. They have one that’s shorter than that and one that’s longer, so when you book your adventure with them you’ll have your pick of those three options. You can also choose between riding alone, riding tandem, or seating four people (in a quad). If the other guides are as professional and pleasant and Rob, and I’m sure they are, then there just isn’t any way you could go wrong with whatever customized tour you choose. Rob did say that booking tours during the Spring and Summer allow you to see the desert in bloom which is a site to see, but I went last week in December and still had a complete ball. Ah, the perks of Southern Utah.
I can’t thank Sindy Elamrani enough for allowing us to come out with Rob and Gary and have this incredibly fun and memorable experience. The moment we got back in the car my wife started talking about how the next time we do this, we need to bring our kids. Looks like the “next time” is already in the books. Thank you, ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours!
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