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By: Robert Janis

Bar 10 Ranch

Former Cattle Ranch Attracts ATVers in Arizona

Grand Canyon ATV scenic tour
Grand Canyon ATV scenic tour

 Free Time Activity
Free Time Activity

ATV recreationists have certain advantages over those of us who may hike to a location of great scenery. The main advantage is to be able to ride a machine to some of the most rugged territory where you can experience some of the best views this great land of ours has to offer. Take the Grand Canyon and the rugged territory of the Arizona Strip, a region in the northwest corner of the State of Arizona which runs from the Grand Canyon on the south to the Utah border on the north. The area is steeped in history and has a plethora of great scenery, and you can enjoy that and more using the Bar 10 Ranch as your point of lodging.

The Bar 10 Ranch, which has the Grand Canyon as its backyard, is a family-run lodge that started to accommodate guests in 1983. The establishment was originally a cattle ranch with an interesting history of its own. For example, the Heaton family, which owns the property, has been ranching there for five generations. It comprises more than 10,000 deeded acres and more than 200,000 acres with grazing rights on Bureau of Land Management and Arizona state lands.

Gavin Heaton, owner along with his mother and brother, explained that his father started off cattle ranching on the land. However, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, interest rates soared and cattle prices dropped. So, he looked for a way to make a living, stay on the Arizona strip and continue to raise livestock.

“Because of our proximity to the Colorado River, he began to work with the white water river rafting companies that took vacationers down the Grand Canyon,” said Gavin. “He built the lodge and the river rafting companies started using it as an exchange point for their white water rafting trips where some people ended their trip, and others started their trip.”

 Bar 10 Ranch
Bar 10 Ranch

Bar 10 Ranch Lodge
Bar 10 Ranch Lodge

Tourists not only come to the region because of the Grand Canyon and the great white water rafting. According to Gavin, the Arizona Strip is a “much fabled region,” he said. “It is very unique because, especially in the early days, it was not patrolled by Arizona because the Grand Canyon cut off the area from the rest of the state, and Utah and Nevada had no jurisdiction. So it was an area that was well known for its lawlessness. It was ruled by the cowboy and the gun. Today the Grand Canyon and the Arizona Strip are the main reason why people come to the ranch.”

Not only is it a place of interest for people who have a passion for the wild west, it is also a Mecca for ATV riders. Gavin noted that many ATVers come there from Mesquite, Nevada or St. George, Utah. “They will ride to our ranch, and some will spend a night then ride back home and others will spend a couple of nights here and do day rides in and around the ranch, in the Arizona Strip and at the Grand Canyon then return home.”

Gavin noted that there are many ATV trails in the area and they go past the ranch. “There are multiple trails leading from the ranch,” said Gavin. He said that the lodge organizes tours for ATVers to the overlooks and the rim of the Grand Canyon and to a mountain range north of the ranch called Mount Trumbull that has a peak elevation of 7,500 feet. “We take tours up there to the high Ponderosa pines,” he said. He added that the lodge has short two-hour tours as well as full-day tours. And each tour includes guides. “All of our guides are trained not only in safety concerning the use of ATVs, but also in the geology, plant life, culture, and history of the land on which the tours take place,” said Gavin. Also, the guides provide information about the land during the rides.

Gavin pointed out that all of the open trails on the Arizona strip are designated as roads on maps. “There is no ‘off-road riding’ in this area. So, ATV riders have to stay on the road or trails. Most of the trails are all dirt. The nearest town or oiled road is 80 miles away. So, we are in one of the most outback areas there is,” added Gavin. He explained that most of the trails are two-track and run in the back hills of the region. The main points of interest are the Grand Canyon, the high Ponderosa pines at Mount Trumbull and the rich heritage and history of the area. All of these sites are part of the tours the lodge provides to guests.

It should be noted that Bar 10 Ranch does not rent ATVs without guiding services. People are encouraged to bring their own machines if they don’t need a tour guide. Moreover, the area is part of the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument so there are special rules governing ATV riding in the area. For example, ATVs must have a license plate.

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