One of the Trails that is Part of the Arapeen OHV Trail System

The Arapeen Trail System is an incredible series of mountain trails in the geographical heart of Utah. This piece discusses the entire trail system, but since it covers such a vast area, each trail has a unique experience that can be enjoyed on its own.

Despite its rather secluded nature, the Arapeen is easily accessible. In fact, some portions of the trail system are reachable within two hours of Salt Lake City. With hundreds of miles of trails and forest roads, it won’t disappoint you.

US Forest Service Map of the Arapeen OHV Trail System Need a map of the Arapeen Trail System? Check out the resources at Sanpete.com. There are maps for single trails or loops, and there are also maps for a four-day ride. You can also request a physical map by mail to help with your planning and navigation.

Arapeen Trail System

Named after a Ute Indian chief who lived nearby when the first pioneer settlers moved into the area, the Arapeen Trail System is known for its beautiful landscape and serene environment. It has more trails above the 9000-foot level than most (and perhaps any) other trail systems in the United States.

Some routes open in May and June, though depending on the snowpack in a given year, not all routes may be open until July. They generally remain accessible through October or even later, though some routes have temporary closures during the year for cattle movement. You should check with the appropriate district office before planning a trip.

Location

Sanpete County on a Map of Utah

The Arapeen Trail System is located primarily in Sanpete County, Utah as part of the Manti-La Sal National Forest, though parts of it extend into neighboring counties and the Fishlake National Forest. It is accessible from a number of nearby towns, including Fairview, Mt. Pleasant, Spring City, Ephraim, Manti, Sterling, Gunnison, Mayfield, Redmond and Salina on the west or Cleveland, Huntington, Orangeville, Castle Dale, Clawson, Ferron and Emery on the east.

Many of these towns recognize the value that the Arapeen has on local economies, and they openly welcome trail riders. OHVs are even permitted on many roads, so it’s possible to park in town and ride directly up the mountain from there. (Check in advance with the specific cities you plan on riding through. Some allow OHVs on all roads except for the highway, while others only allow OHVs on specific routes.)

The photo below depicts one of these parking spots. It was taken at approximately 39°06’27″N 111°40’26″W, just outside of Mayfield.

A Parking Spot Just Outside of Mayfield

Types of Trails

There are plenty of trails for all skill levels, from easy to advanced. Some are aggressive trails scattered with rocks and tree roots. Others are relatively mild and easily navigable. Regardless of your vehicle of choice, you will be able to find an appropriate route to take. However, many of the trails have width restrictions, so machines that are 50 inches in width or less are your best option if you want to enjoy everything the Arapeen has to offer. Wider vehicles can still enjoy many of the forest roads, even if they can’t access some of the trails. Dirt bikes are great options as well.

A “Gnarly” Trail

ATV on a Mild Trail

A RZR on a Forest Road

Crossing a River

On the Arapeen, each trail has its unique flavor, both in terms of difficulty and in terms of what you’ll see. There are plenty of lakes, flora and fauna, giving the Arapeen a great sense of adventure. Most trails are well maintained and have markers identifying them, making the trail system very approachable if you aren’t already familiar with it. They can give you a good idea of whether a trail will be compatible with your type of vehicle and skill level.

A Trail Marker on the Arapeen

Items of Interest

Some of the trails have several bridge systems set up to pass wet areas. These bridges are fun and add to the variation already present on the trails.

An Wildcat Trail Traversing a Bridge on an Arapeen Trail

Skyline Drive is the backbone of the mountain, and it serves to connect many of the different trails. What’s more, it runs north-south throughout the entire Manti-La Sal National Forest, from U.S. Route 6 to I-70 – over 100 miles. The road is well maintained, so it’s ideal for transferring from one portion of the trail system to another.

There are a number of lakes and reservoirs in the Arapeen Trail System, and there are also a several impressive mountain peaks. One of the most interesting sights to see, however, is the Twelve Mile Canyon Landslide of 1983 – an incredibly large landslide at 2.5 miles long. A great vantage point of this landslide is located just off Skyline Drive at 39°04’41″N 111°32’14″W.

The Twelve Mile Landslide

You can hit parts of the Arapeen for a great day trip, or you can ride as much of it as you can in several days. The trail system is set up in a way that allows you to stay at a different town every night if you’d like. There are also several campgrounds available right in the Manti-La Sal National Forest. Backcountry camping is also permitted.

Two riding events take place every year in the Arapeen Trail System: the Manti Mountain ATV Run (August) and the Arapeen ATV Jamboree (September).

Two UTVs on a Trail

Go Ride

Whether you live right in Sanpete County or across the country, the Arapeen Trail System is worth the trip. (Just remember that if you’re from another state, you might need a non-resident permit.)

If you’re planning a trip to the Arapeen, check out the trail map page at Sanpete.com. It has multiple maps available for download, or you can request a large physical map sent to you for free as well.

Have you been to the Arapeen? Are you planning to go? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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