UTV owners often put specific trails on their adventure “bucket list”…places like Moab, the Rubicon, Hatfield-McCoy…if you haven’t added the Pauite ATV Trail in central Utah to that list, you should. Kawasaki introduced me to this great adventure as part of their 2014 Kawasaki Teryx4 release, sharing both the new features of the Teryx4 and the spectacular riding and scenery of the Pauite Trail, and it’s not only been checked off my personal bucket list, it will remain one of my “must do” trail systems of the future.
Our journey started in Beaver, Utah…this friendly town of 3000 or so residents has welcomed the ATV/UTV crowd into their businesses and daily lives for years, and is an excellent base point for the Pauite Trail system. Kawasaki had brought in roughly 20 Teryx4’s for our team of editors to drive in the coming days. Most of these machines already had 400+ miles/two trips over the mountains between Beaver and Marysvale, and were about to have another group of media work them even harder.
Our first evening was spent on covering the new features of the 2014 Kawasaki Teryx4. Visually, the most noticeable change is color…LE seats are now tricolor and matched to the body, suspension arms are color matched, and the LE boasts two new vibrant colors, Candy Lime Green and Candy Burnt Orange. EPS is now standard on all models. Once you begin to drive, the performance enhancements begin to shine. The engine displacement bumped from 749cc to 783cc, increasing both horsepower and torque, AND increasing fuel economy. Additional sound deadening around the engine/body improved the interior noise, particularly at cruising speeds. Fox Podium shocks made an impressive improvement in the ride, and the adjustable compression damping allows each driver to tweak for their own ride preference. And finally, LIGHT…yes, LED headlamps are standard, and a night and day difference between the anemic lights of prior years.
Additionally, the history of the Beaver UT and the Paiute ATV Trail system was covered. Beaver and the surrounding communites were settled in the mid 1800’s by Mormon pioneers, and the existing Indian game trails were travelled to access lumber for building homes and for grazing routes. Silver was discovered in 1875 and added to the boom of this area. The ATV enthusiasts began to infiltrate in recent years, and the area residents quickly recognized that this type of recreational traffic would be of benefit to the local economy.
The official Paiute ATV Trail system was designated in 1990 and consists of a 238 mile primary loop with another 912 miles of additional designated trails through 5 counties and 18 communities. Combine the Paiute system with the Great Western Trail, Fremont Trail, Gooseberry Trail and Arapeen trail and you end up with over 2200 miles of available riding. Economically, over 77,000 riders traversed the trails in 2010 and the past 5 years have benefited the local economies to the tune of over $190 million.
Our journey began on a beautiful Thursday morning in August. Following the usual pre-trail meetings, our team of media split into two groups. I found myself in a camouflage 2014 Teryx4 and in the second group. We waited about 30 minutes to allow group one to get ahead of us, then meandered our way out of town and onto the trail system. Day was also “photo” day, and each group had a Kawasaki photographer along, since taking photos of ourselves would be challenging 🙂
Our initial miles covered a lot of smaller loose rock, and gave each driver the opportunity to test the compliance of the suspension and Fox Podium shocks. Since I own a 2012 Teryx4, I was particularly impressed with the improved ride of the 2014 T4…it was obvious that these shocks were well dialed in for most drivers and terrain. As we made the initial climb up the first mountain, the suspension did an excellent job keeping power to the ground…additionally, the larger motor was impressive at the mid-low speeds both with the consistent power and lower noise.
Following that initial ascent, we had a long downhill stretch that allowed us to stretch the limits of the T4 a bit…FYI, the speed is still limited to 50mph. The Paiute Trail system relies on waterbars to manage rainfall runoff, and the design of the waterbars is “less than ideal” during a downhill launch. As a result, I was wishing for more rebound damping as the rear suspension would occasionally pogo off the jumps. Fortunately, I only had a couple instances where I feared the rear would pass me overhead!
Our final stretches before lunch covered a couple of fun sections that were designed for our 60″ wide machines…tight trails and bridges that the Teryx4 just fit through. This was one of the most enjoyable stretches of the Paiute system that we travelled, and allowed the mid-range power of the Teryx4 to really shine. Between the waterbars, the tight corners and trails, and the short stretches where some quick speed could be achieved, the Teryx4 simply made the trails a lot of fun to drive.
Following lunch around the Big John’s Flat area, we continued our final climb over the Tushar Mountains before beginning our long descent into Marysvale. Elevations topped 11,000′ and despite this altitude, the 2014 T4 still had more than adequate power for the climbs. NOTE: this downhill stretch into Marysvale is a fairly wide stretch, but the loose trail surface combined with some seemingly bottomless edges could make for some long screams and abrupt landings if you aren’t careful. Again, another advantage to the Teryx4 is the selectable front differential locker…running most of the trails in 4wd and keeping the front end unlocked allowed for great handling and control, and the quick responding engine compression braking allowed us to simply back off the throttle quickly to lighten the rear and bring it around for some smooth drifting. The unlocked front kept the steering responsive and really made the higher speed cornering a lot of fun.
Our evening in Marysvale was spent at Hoovers Resort…located north of Marysvale, Hoovers combines camping sites with cabins and is easily accessible by ATV/UTV. Our hosts served an excellent dinner under the pavillion and treated us to a delicious breakfast as well. Best of all was a couple scoops of ice cream following our Thursday ride!
Friday awoke to a drastic weather change…cooler temperatures and rainy conditions were going to make for an interesting day. Our morning began with a ride up PST74 to the Silver King Mine. This is a historical site with a log cabin and offers a view of the mine as well. The ride up and back was also a great deal of fun, since this stretch isn’t much more than 60″ wide and offers a variety of tight trails and quick turns.
Following some other area exploring and a quick lunch, we then began our ascent and our return to Beaver. Unlike Thursday, where frequent stops for photography was the game of the day, Friday was for driving. Other than brief stops to ensure our group was keeping together, we simply drove the trail system and drove it hard. We are now well into 500+ miles on these 2014 Kawasaki Teryx4’s in the hands of unforgiving media drivers…the “insured rental” mentality was prevalent, and each of us was pushing the machine more and more, trying to find their limits and faults. Other than two flat tires, zero mechanical issues occurred (note that Kawasaki does not manufacture tires!).
If you are looking for a UTV that simply brings a smile to your face, then look hard at the 2014 Kawasaki Teryx4. The T4 is at home on the trails, exploring with your family or getting your hunting buddies to your destination comfortably. Kawasaki has put together a UTV that combines sport and utility and style all in one enjoyable package.