When you visit Zion you’ll quickly discover that one of the best outdoor adventures available to you is riding an ATV. You’ll soon love how fast an ATV can get you to some of the best locations in southern Utah. In truth you can get there by horseback, hiking, and mountain biking, but with an ATV you’ll be able to cover a greater amount of ground in a much shorter time frame. Which gives you the chance to take more time to take photos, explore and just enjoy the beauty that surrounds you in this wondrous place.
From spring to fall (March – November) Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort has guided ATV tours available daily. These tours will take you across the forested plateau on the east boundary of Zion Canyon. They have trail locations that give you the chance for views into parts of Zion canyon, meaning you’ll get the best views of Zion on an ATV that are possible from outside Zion Park. You may have the option to jump off your motorized machine to explore the edges of the park on foot.
Recently there’s been some dynamic changes come in the ATV riding world with quad ATV’s and side-by-sides. Giving people the ability to ride right next to each other as they soak in the views of Zion, or even have 4 or 6 people in one side-by-side is something that’s made the ride that much more enjoyable. With Utah’s ATV age limit of 16, it’s opened up new opportunities for families young and old to travel together and operate an ATV. That way they can still experience the trails and the views that the upper-east side of Zion has to offer. Everyone has their preferences though, some like to ride all by themselves as they experience the trails, whereas others prefer to ride sitting next to someone they care about, allowing them to share what they see together and observe the tremendous wildlife and points of interest together.
Quads conversely are much smaller and manageable on technical trails. They allow a rider to negotiate the more difficult terrain and allows the driver much greater control over their experience. Luckily Zion Ponderosa has options for any preference or riding style, take your pick of a side-by-side or a quad that will give you the chance to see incredible views like those afforded you from Jolley Gulch or Pine Knoll.
The elevations at Zion Ponderosa range from 6,500 – 7,000 feet, and among Zion Ponderosa’s 4,000 acres Pine Knoll is one of the highest points, which means you’ll have incredible views north to the Cedar Mountain’s which reach heights in excess of 11,000 feet. Then turn the other direction to soak in the Virgin River Rim pink cliffs that represent the northern boundaries of Zion. These views will allow you to see many of the other canyons that make up Zion National Park, the red and white tree covered buttes and mesas in the distance make for sights that are hard to compare.
You then can take on your fear of heights when you see Jolley’s Gulch, which is a vast and deep chasm where you can stand at the edge of staring down into the abyss. To give you your bearings, it’s Jolley’s Gulch that flows southward and eventually empties near the famous Checkerboard Mesa. The ponderosa pines that dot the edges of this gulch make for a pretty impressive photo opportunity.
For those coming to Zion to try some hiking trails, then Zion Ponderosa is also your spot. As they have trails that lead into Zion for the Cable Mountain and Observation Point hikes. These hikes offer two of the more sought after and amazing overlooks in all of Zion and in my humble opinion all of Utah, which is backed up by Backpacker Magazine itself which claimed Observation Point to be the best view in all of Utah. Luckily both of these trails are available from the Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort property!
Hopefully this gives you a taste of what awaits you on a Zion ATV experience, there’s truly so much to see along the upper east side of Zion National Park. Learn more about Zion Ponderosa ATV tours here.