Experience A UTV Adventure In Reno
UTV Adventure, Sierra Rec Magazine, Sparks NV, I recently had the opportunity to do something new in my Rec lifestyle, UTV Riding in the Nevada desert. What a thrill ride! We hooked up with Rod Hall Drive out at Wild West Motorsports Park just east of Sparks off Mustang Drive on a Sunday afternoon for a quick trip back into the hills behind Reno. Not only was this my first trip on a UTV but the first visit back into the mountains to the East since the huge winter we had in 2017.
Now if you are like many who visit Reno on vacation you typically look to Lake Tahoe for your outdoor adventure package on a visit, and we completely understand, however, this outdoor adventure is an item I would add to your bucket list of possibilities.
If you are unfamiliar with UTV rides, a UTV is similar to what I called a dune buggy when I was a kid, or maybe you would prefer ” the adult version of an off-road go-kart.” It is a vehicle designed to go crazy fast over very rugged terrain and yet give you a riding experience which is very enjoyable. It will climb a boulder, jump ditch, climb a mountain without a road or safely take you across the mud and water without getting stuck.
The crew out at Rod Hall Drive have been doing tours for the past two years. Shelby Hall and her grandfather Rod Hall started the business together after the family has spent the last few decades following Rod on his professional racing career in the off-road industry. (Hall remains the only driver to win Baja overall in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.) Rod Hall Drive, trains people how to drive and race off road, plus they put together unforgettable experiences for groups looking to tour the backcountry either between sparks and Virgina City or Off HWy 89 North of Truckee.
If you have never been out to Wildwest Motor Park, Take I-80 east out of Sparks to the Mustang Drive Exit. Turn Left under the freeway then right at the stop sign, drive up the road just a bit until you see the big blue signs for Wild West Motor Sports. The road is a bit rough but can be accessed by most vehicles. The park is busy many weekends with motorcycle races and or off-road racing events.
If wanting to visit Rod Hall Drive team for a tour, however, you need to visit their website at http://rodhalldrive.com/ and make an appointment, as they don’t keep office hours at the track, instead use it as a staging area for their tours and training.
The UTV Tour Experience
On this Sunday ride, I got to ride the mountain experience from the motor park into the hills to the east of Reno. The desert mountains offer a unique Nevada experience, unique clay colors of the mountains, mixed with rocky canyons, sporadic springs of life and as I found out abundant Wild Horse population.
We took off in a three UTV pack and drive from the park back across the freeway and over the Truckee River. Shelby was my driver for the first part of the ride and as soon as we hit the backcountry roads/trails the excitement began, the runoff of the spring had left plenty of ruts and loose rock throughout the desert floor and these UTV vehicles were built to perform their best in these types of conditions. Reaching speeds of over 30 MPH Shelby drove over, around and through he off-road obstacles that lay before us on our drive.
On our first major climb out of the valley floor, we came around the corner to find three Wild Horses with their new Colts eating next to the road. I love the wild horses in Nevada, such an American treat in my opinion to see these magnificent creatures in their raw setting. A quick stop for pictures and to make sure the young Colts were safe and out of the road and off we were going again, zigging up and over the mountains, following both road and trail as Shelby raced through the backcountry.
I wore a helmet which is required for the ride, but these UTV, ride so smooth for the most part, I wondered If I really needed it on the trip most of the time. As we reached a flat road area Shelby raced forward at over 30 mph the sound of the wind whistling through my helmet brought smiles to my face. We headed West and up a ridge that I would not take my 4×4 over, the color of the mountain valley was filled with reds and tans, looked like a painting.
As we reached the top of the mountain we came to rest above Reno with a tremendous look out over the city and onto the Snow Capped Sierra. What a great view of the city.
Shelby and her team took the time to show me how to drive a UTV, explained some of the unique findings in the mountains around us and overall made me laugh and smile all day long.
Learn to Off Road
I can’t wait to get out again on one of these vehicles. The entire experience opened my eyes to a new form of recreation, I was missing. If you have never taken the time to go out and explore the off road around Reno. Do yourself a favor and call the team over at Rod Hall Drive. They provide plenty of smiles and thrills and would be happy to help you learn how to explore the rugged backcountry of Nevada. They not only teach UTV Riding by the way. They also offer jeep experiences and train all-comers in 4×4 off roading basics if you’re looking to learn.
Sierra REC Magazine is dedicated to sharing the events, news and adventure opportunities that exist in The Sierra Mountains. From Lassen Volcanic National Park to the North down through the Central Sierra and the Lake Tahoe Basin through the rugged eastern slopes of the Mono County and Yosemite National Park to the southern tips near Sequoia National Park and the PCT trail. We invite you to share stories, tips, and photos from your adventures in the Sierra. Please join us on Facebook, Twitter Google + and You-Tube or email us your events and photos at [email protected] #goexplore