Challis Bridge Off-Highway Vehicle Education and Training Area
This site was designated as an OHV training and education area as part of the 2008 BLM Challis Field Office Travel Plan. The purpose of the site is to provide OHV enthusiasts with a safe place to hone their skills, play to their heart’s content, and to learn to ride responsibly. Be aware that this is also an active permitted gravel pit: when the gates are closed and/or equipment is operating in the pit, come back another day.
Within the confines of this site, there are no designated routes. Ride where you please and build the skills that will help you become a better rider.
Once you leave this site, however, ride only on designated roads and trails, use TreadLightly outdoor ethics, and be safe! Free maps of designated routes are available at the BLM Field Office in Challis.
Hours of Operation: Dawn to Dusk / Permitted Vehicles: Motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs
10 Tips for Safe & Responsible Riding
- Don’t ride cross-country—Stay on established trails. Cross-country travel can increase soil erosion, ignite wildfire, spread noxious weeds and damage wildlife habitat.
- Always ride in control. Ride within your abilities and your machine’s capabilities. Never attempt anything that is beyond your skill level.
- Always wear the appropriate safety gear. At a minimum, this should include a helmet, shatter resistant eye protection, long sleeves, long pants, gloves, and boots that cover the ankle.
- Only carry passengers if your OHV is designed for them. ATVs and off-road motorcycles are generally designed to carry only one rider. Carrying passengers can alter the balance of the machine, causing a loss of control.
- Riders under the age of 16 should be supervised by a responsible adult at all times.
- Be prepared for an emergency. Always carry a tool kit and spare parts, a first aid kit, and survival equipment when you ride.
- Respect closed areas and private property. The future for OHV access is in your hands.
- Avoid wet areas and waterways. They are a vital resource for plants and animals.
- Don’t cut switchbacks. Taking shortcuts damages trails and causes erosion.
- Share the trails and make friends with other trail users. Stop or slow down and lower the noise and dust levels when approaching equestrians, hikers and others.
Rider Education Trail
Every ATV rider starts out as a beginner. For most people, the first time on an ATV is both fun and challenging. The first day of riding can also be somewhat risky. That’s why safety is paramount while learning basic ATV riding skills. The BLM encourages new riders to enroll in an ATV Safety Institute (ASI) ATV Rider Course. This rider education trail highlights some key strategies for safe riding through a similar step-by-step procedure.
Know Your Machine
The first step is to carefully read your owner’s manual and become familiar with the way your machine works. As you read the manual, sit on the ATV and get a good feel for where all the controls are—brakes, throttle and shifting. Do you need to shift, or is your machine an automatic? Then figure out the proper procedure for starting. Where is the choke? How long should you let it warm up? Is there a back-up pull start and can you pull it?
Inspecting the mechanical condition of your ATV before each ride is important to minimize the chance of being injured or stranded. This also ensures long enjoyment of your ATV. Remember, you can ride farther in one hour than you can walk in a day. A good method for working through your daily inspection is the T-CLOC process.
- T-Tires and Wheels
Check air pressure, tread condition, lug nuts, bearings (grab the tires and rock them back and forth to try and detect worn-out bearings).
- C-Controls and Cables
Test the action of the brake levers, throttle, and foot shifter.
- L-Lights and Electric
Try out the ignition switch, engine stop switch, and lights.
- O-Oil and Fuel
Check the levels and condition of your fluids, look for leaks.
- C-Chain/Driveshaft, Chassis and Suspension
Check the chain and sprockets (if applicable) for adequate adjustment, wear and proper lubrication.
Straight-line Riding Posture
The correct riding posture will help you to easily operate the controls and help you react more quickly when shifting your body weight. Proper straight-line riding posture includes:
- Head and eyes up, looking well ahead.
- Shoulders relaxed, elbows bent slightly out, away from your body.
- Hands on the handlebars.
- Knees in towards the gas tank.
- Feet on footrests, toes pointing straight ahead.
ATVs are rider-active, so to enhance the performance capabilities of the machine, you must shift your body weight. This is especially true in maneuvers such as turning, negotiating hills, and crossing obstacles.
Starting and Stopping
The first thing to work on is simply starting and stopping in a straight line:
- Set up two markers, about 100 feet from your starting point, and slightly wider than your ATV.
- In first or low gear, ride to the markers (riders with a clutch will have a chance here to learn how to release it slowly) and slow down before you reach the markers.
- Come to a smooth, non-skidding stop using both the front and rear brakes, with your front tires between the markers. If you have a shifting model, do the course again, taking off in first and shifting to second, and then downshifting to first as you start braking. Whether you have an automatic or a manual transmission ATV, do this procedure several times, increasing your speed slightly each time.
The following basic turning techniques apply to ATVs being ridden at low to moderate speeds:
- Move your body weight forward and to the inside of the turn.
- Turn the handlebars while looking in the direction of the turn.
- As you increase your speed or turn more sharply, move your body weight farther toward the inside of the turn to maintain your balance.
- If your ATV starts to tip while turning, lean your body farther into the turn while gradually reducing the throttle and making the turn wider, if possible.
There are two drills you can use in the field to practice turning:
- Start with a large oval made with two markers. Ride around the outside, making left turns and then try some to the right. Do not shift gears during the exercise.
- The second drill is a figure eight exercise. As your skills increase, move the markers closer together (25 feet apart) so that the figure eight becomes smaller. During these exercises, be careful to not tip or make wide turns. To compensate, slow down, lean your body into the turn, put more weight up front, use more effort to turn the handlebars, and look in the direction of the turn.
Going Up Hills
Climbing hills improperly could cause loss of control or cause the ATV to overturn. It’s a good idea to remember these tips:
- Some hills are too steep for your abilities. Use your common sense. If the hill you are approaching looks too steep, it probably is.
- Some hills are just too steep for your ATV, regardless of your abilities.
- Never ride past the limit of your visibility; if you cannot see what is on or over the crest of a hill, slow down until you have a clear view.
- The key to being a good hill rider is to keep your weight uphill at all times.
When approaching an uphill climb, you should:
- Shift the ATV into a lower gear and speed up before climbing the hill so you can maintain momentum.
- When approaching the uphill climb, move up on the seat and lean forward, or stand and position your torso over the front wheels.
Going Down Hills and Traversing a Slope
- Always check the terrain carefully before you start down any hill.
- Choose a downhill path that is as straight as possible, with a minimum of obstacles.
- Shift your weight to the rear of the machine and use a low gear.
- On steeper downward slopes, straighten, but do not lock, your knees and elbows.
- Bend forward sharply at the waist so that your posterior is over the back of the seat.
- Utilize both brakes to gradually slow down.
When you cross a slope, you are traversing.
- Avoid traversing slopes with excessively slippery, rough, or loose surfaces.
- Lean your upper body uphill.
- When riding on soft terrain, you may need to turn your front wheels gently uphill to keep your ATV on a straight line across the hill.
- If your ATV begins to tip, turn the front wheels downhill if the terrain allows.
- Avoid making sudden throttle changes.
Quicker Stops And Turns
Being able to make quick turns can come in handy when you need to avoid obstacles on the trail. Practice this by putting five markers down at 35-foot intervals.
- Travel to the left of the first marker and then to the right of the second and continue until you reach the last marker. At first, practice at slow speeds, and then gradually increase your speed.
- The key to doing the quick turn exercise is to shift your weight quickly to initiate the turn. To shift your weight effectively rise up slightly, standing on the footrests, and lean your body to the inside of each turn.
- To go left, apply a slight left turn to the front wheels, quickly lean left and apply a short burst of throttle. To go right, do the opposite. Do not look at the next marker you are approaching. Look ahead and do not fixate on a marker.
How To Handle Obstacles
Its inevitable that you’ll have to go over some obstacles out on the trails. Whether it’s a rut, boulder, log or ridge, there’s a way to get over it smoothly and safely. Here’s a step-by-step method of handling obstacles:
- Stand up on the footrests as you approach the obstacle with your arms and knees bent.
- Keep a firm grip on the handlebars to keep the ATV pointed straight ahead.
- Apply a small amount of throttle as the front wheels meet the obstacle. Release the throttle as soon as the front wheels have gone over the obstacle.
- Lean forward slightly once the front wheels have gone over the obstacle in order to remove weight from the rear wheels. The throttle must be released before the rear wheels hit.
Choose a small obstacle for your initial practice. A small rut, mound, or small log will work fine. Approach the obstacle at walking speed and as close to a 90-degree angle as possible.
Trail Riding Strategies
To get the most out of your ride, you have to know the land you are riding on and what your machine can do.
- Carefully choose the places you ride.
- Always use designated trails.
- Ride when trails are dry.
- Stay away from terrain where you do not belong, such as dangerous slopes and meadows.
- An expert rider looks well ahead on the trail. Know what is coming up and be prepared to react long before you get there.
- Go at a speed that is proper for the terrain, visibility, operating conditions and your experience.
- Scan far enough down the trail to pick the best ‘lines’ (or safest paths of travel) around or over hazards or small obstacles.
Once you’re comfortable with the operation of your OHV and familiar with the ethics of responsible riding, the next step is to hit the trail. Plenty of riding opportunities are available to you in the local area, starting with the Blue Mountain ATV trail which takes you on a twisting scenic ride from The Land of the Yankee Fork Interpretive Center to the Bayhorse Townsite. Please leave all historic sites as you find them. Check in with the Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service for maps and information on where to ride.
Where to Ride (detail area maps)
Ellis - North Pahsimeroi /Challis South /Pahsimeroi South /Herd Lake Area / Mackay Area
Regional Field Office Travel Maps Challis North and Challis South
Have a great time!