If you live in Utah, your easy access to the outdoors is the envy of most people across the country. Spectacular scenery can be a short drive away, and for those who’d rather enjoy trekking right up into the mountains, few states can begin to rival the options available to you.

Still, when you go outdoors with friends or family, not everyone is likely to be as willing to trudge uphill for hours. Many people would prefer to conserve their energy and enjoy the view from the top. So upgrade your truck tires and suspension, and break out lift or leveling kits – Salt Lake City and other Utah hubs are the perfect starting point for you to get into offroading adventures.

What you need

For beginners, the array of options to upgrade your truck can be somewhat bewildering. Enthusiasts can be passionate about how they customize their rigs. At a minimum, though, you’ll want to look into increasing your ground clearance, getting reinforced tires with excellent traction, and getting some accessories to protect your vehicle’s body. If you plan on going over more challenging terrain, the improved suspension is also essential.

Besides the vehicle modifications, though, one other thing you need is an excellent working knowledge of your ride. Most of us are only familiar with driving on paved roads, for which you don’t need a deeper understanding of your truck’s systems. If you’re new to offroading, brush up on your technical knowledge and mechanic skills – after all, if anything should happen, you’ll need a plan of action.

Where to go

For a first trip, the Wasatch Skyline Trail is accessible – and popular. The drive is very scenic, with plenty of wildflowers in the right season and occasional encounters with game birds and moose. Pony Express trail is another excellent option with a bit of history – it traces its origins back to an ambitious venture to improve mail delivery efficiency through Utah to California. Trails at American Fork Canyon also offer pretty easy access to some fantastic views but are open seasonally.

As you gain more experience with negotiating rough roads, you can tackle other nearby trails and be rewarded with different scenery and unique views. The trail system is known as ‘The Snakes’ rather lives up to its sinister name with moderate to difficult, challenging trails like Rattlesnake, Constrictor, and Sidewinder. Wherever you choose to take your next adventure, be sure to watch out for closures and weather warnings – snow can be a challenge you don’t want to tackle.

Enjoy the ride

Man on a quadbike

Taking your truck off-road is a challenge. People who’ve only done hiking or biking can see it as a shortcut to get to the top, but as the driver, you know better. Navigating different types of terrain and putting your vehicle to the test is a skill, and it gives the journey the same sense of reward and satisfaction as if you’d been on foot.

As for your passengers, well, your mileage may vary. They may not all enjoy the sensation of going over rough roads, though many kids love it – a lot of people who aren’t into outdoor activities will appreciate being able to take in so many different views on the trip, from the relative comfort and safety of a well-outfitted rig.

So, gear up, take your guests along with you and embrace this modern challenge in the rugged beauty of Utah.