During a recent (amazing) spring break trip to St. George Utah, we decided to take a gamble on a KINDA crazy idea- taking an ATV/UTV ride with the ENTIRE extended family. And WOW are we glad we did- the UTV ride was definitely the highlight of our already amazing trip! In fact, we were able to get the whole family, including 3 toddlers, and 3 older kids, and adults of all ages, on ATVs or UTVs. For my nearly 3-year-old twins, I think this was the highlight of their entire lives- honestly.
We spent our day riding UTVs and around the Sand Hollow area. The Sand Hollow Dunes area is HUGE- 15,000 acres of trails. And it covers all types of terrain and skill levels. You can drive over some huge sand dunes, drive through rock formations, and even go check out the reservoir. Or, if you are little bit nervous out there, check out some of the tamer trails that still provide gorgeous scenery and lots of fun. It’s a great area.
Mad Moose Rentals
When it comes to ATV rentals, Mad Moose Rentals is the best. They have a huge selection of high-quality rental gear (even water sports gear), good prices, and excellent service. They are also located right at Sand Hollow, making them super convenient. They were able to help us pick which machines to rent for our larger group who are not experienced in all-terrain vehicles, and provided helmets and goggles for our use. They were also great about letting us take toddlers and their car seats on the UTVs without any problems. They even upgraded one of our UTVs for free because the lower-end model we’d rented was out of service for the day.
Since Mad Moose is ultra kid-friendly, we assumed we’d be sent out on a really easy trail and given an overall ‘beginners’ experience. That was not at all the case! We certainly could take it super easy out there, or you could out onto some super technical, advanced trails. Since we had our kids, we weren’t interested in getting TOO crazy, but we loved that we got to have a real ATV experience. Whether you are traveling with children, or not, renting from Mad Moose at Sand Hollow is an awesome experience.
The Highlights of Sand Hollow
Many trails are not very well established just because of the nature of the area. Washouts are always changing, and it’s not really possible to make a trail in a sand dune. So it’s definitely possible to get lost if you aren’t paying attention. You’ll want to figure out how to use read the terrain on google earth BEFORE you get lost, and have a reasonably good plan, if you are heading out very far. It’s such a wide-open space, that it SEEMS like you can see 100 miles, but you really can’t.
Top of the World
There are a few pretty well-established sights to see out there. One absolutely must-see is the Top of the World. The views from the top are stunning. Plus it’s a perfect little break/picnic spot. The only bathrooms in the area are also located nearby.
The Devils Playground
The Devil Playground/Maze area was another favorite for our group. You can drive your UTV under and around some of the beautiful red rock formations. It’s a strange feeling to be heading into the maze of red rocks. The bright orange rocks are quite a sight with the backdrop of the deep blue desert sky. It’s definitely an experience you won’t want to miss.
The Devils Playground is another great break spot. ATVs and UTVs are pretty loud, and can be a bit overwhelming for kids, so planning to take lots of breaks will help them enjoy the experience. The Devil’s Playground is an EXTRA great break area because old kids (and adults) can make a game of getting up to the highest possible rock. My family had fun seeing who was the bravest and able to get the highest. The toddlers loved the sandstone rocks because, when you throw them, they disintegrate. If you are a toddler, breaking rocks is a pretty magnificent experience.
The sand dunes north and east of Top of the World were another really wild experience. The surface of the dunes looks so smooth and perfect, and you can’t really tell how deep the sand is. Driving on sand dunes is DEFINITELY tricky and we saw even experienced drivers get over-confident and very well stuck. I have no idea how you’d get un-stuck in a sand dune (can’t exactly dig out of it), so I’d definitely recommend trying to not get stuck in the first place. But don’t let the fear of getting stuck stop you. It’s hard to describe the feeling of driving through the pristine dunes with the wild blow sand across the surface, but it’s another one-of-a-kind experience you’ll love.
The Kids’ Impressions
My boys LOOOOVED it. My little vehicle-obsessed boy had a perma-grin and said ‘It’s SOO BUMPY and SO FAST!’. Apparently bumpy and fast are great things in his mind? The bigger kids felt like they’d had a big adventure and couldn’t wait to tell their friends back home. The adult-kids also had a ton of fun, though a few of us got a bit scared at times, I think we still enjoyed every moment.
For the littlest kids, it was a bit tricky for them to see out, even in their car seats, so just keep that in mind when you are picking out a UTV and arranging your toddler’s seat. They enjoyed the complex trails and watching the other UTVs drive by.
We had the UTVs for about 4 hours, and we took a few breaks to get out and look around. For toddlers, 4 hours was just about right. They thoroughly enjoyed every moment, and were only BEGINNING to be board of the ride. However, the adults and older kids could have EASILY stayed out the rest of the day. The price difference between a half-day and a full-day is so small, so if you have any doubts, go for the full day!
As you plan your trip to St. George, I’d definitely recommend a day at Sand Hollow. Of course, getting ATV rentals in St. Goerge can get a bit pricey, but well worth it for the experience for our family. This opportunity to ride UTVs at Sand Hollow with kids is something we’ll be talking about for a long time, and I hope we’ll get the chance to try it again soon!
Read about the rest of our trip in Salt Lake City here.