The Tushar Mountains
In The Beginning...
Chalk Creek in the fall
The Paiute Trail began in the small community of Circleville back in the summer of 1988. Two lifelong schoolmates and good friends were sitting on a pickup tailgate sipping on soft drinks and speculating about the recent closure of Highway 153 to OHVs, which at that time consisted primarily of 3-wheelers. This closing was taking away their access to favorite hunting and fishing opportunities. They knew of a horse trail called “Wade’s Canyon” that, if modified, could be made to accommodate their machines. That initial theorizing quickly grew in to “what if” a trail system was developed that would allow riders to access the public lands of the Fishlake National Forest from the small rural communities in south central Utah. It was an idea. It was a dream.
Clyde Lay was the Forest Engineer for the Fishlake National Forest. His good friend, Lindon Romine, was a Piute County Commissioner. Both were prone to action so they rolled up their sleeves and went to work. They improved that route up Wade’s Canyon to accomodate motorized OHVs – their Big Red 3-wheelers as well as those new 300cc Honda 4-wheelers. They rolled out some maps and plotted a large loop that passed through four rural communities, including their beloved Circleville. Much of this 260-mile loop already existed with only a few places needing actual construction. They took their proposal to the counties and towns that would be involved and got overwhelming support. The name “Paiute” was selected, utilizing the spelling of the local Indian culture rather than that of the county by the same name. They also adopted a symbol, nicknamed Tazz, a character taken from a local Fremont Indian pictograph, estimated to be some 700 years old.
In the summer of 1990, armed with a grant from the Utah State Division of Parks and Recreation, they and a small group of believers started marking the trail on the ground. Their hope and their belief was much akin to that in the movie “Field of Dreams” – “build it and they will come.”
While Clyde and Lindon were the initial architects of the Paiute Trail, many other movers and shakers were involved in it’s becoming a reality, including Carma Thomas, Sevier County Director of Tourism; Ron Bushman, Mayor of Marysvale; Sherry Ashworth, Millard County Director of Tourism; Roger Foisy, an interested and active rider; Max Reid, Public Service Staff for the Fishlake National Forest; Stan Adams, Safety Officer for the Richfield District Bureau of Land Management and Fred Christensen, local businessman. These fine people and many others worked tirelessly early on to develop, market and manage the trail system over the years, resulting in what is arguably the best trail riding experience anywhere in the world. Most of the aforementioned have been inducted into the Paiute ATV Trail System Hall of Fame.
Today, the Paiute System is a nearly 900 mile network that crosses multiple mountain ranges ranging in elevation from 5200 to over 11,400 feet, spanning several counties and connecting 16 small southern Utah communities. Our hats are off to Clyde, Lindon and all of those visionaries who worked so hard to take this great riding experience from dream to reality. You, and the Paiute Trail, are the best of the best!