Polaris ATV Trek at Summit Bechtel Reserve: where mud and motors meet

Leave your good jeans at home.

The Summit Bechtel Reserve’s Polaris ATV Trek, a new offering for 2018, puts Scouts and Venturers in control of their own all-terrain vehicle for a gritty week of riding the trails.

Participants get hands-on-handlebars training in safe ATV operation before heading out for 60-plus miles of riding. The trek uses trails built specifically for the Polaris ATV program — not trails for mountain biking or hiking. These trails are 100 percent on SBR property — not on neighboring national park land — and built using sustainable methods developed by the U.S. Forest Service.

The trails blend easy, wide-open sections with difficult, muddy features. Along the way, participants stop at the scenic vistas and natural landmarks that make the West Virginia mountains a popular adventure destination.

Thursday might be the craziest day of the week. That’s when participants get their ATVs stuck — on purpose — in some of the gnarliest mud holes available. With the help of trained staff, participants use ATV maneuvers, winches and something called a Z-drag system to get out.

A week of fun on a Polaris ATV in one of the coolest settings in Scouting? Where do I sign up?

Who’s eligible?

No prior ATV experience is required.

Participants must be registered Scouts, Venturers or adult leaders, be at least 14 years old, and be ready to get dirty and push their limits.

Fair warning: Riding an ATV is no passive activity. It can be significantly more exhausting than new riders might expect.

What’s the cost?

It’s $1,200 per participant. That includes pretty much everything, including safety gear, instruction, activities, the use of the Polaris ATV and food.

SBR also provides essential camping gear like a tent, dining fly, cooking set and first-aid kit.

What weeks are the treks available?

  • June 10 to 16 — FULL
  • June 17 to 23 — 12 available slots
  • June 24 to 30 — FULL
  • July 1 to 7 — 12 available slots
  • July 8 to 14 — FULL
  • July 15 to 21 — FULL
  • July 22 to 28 — FULL
  • July 29 to Aug. 4 — FULL
  • Aug. 5 to 11 — 12 available slots
  • Aug. 12 to 18 — 12 available slots

Sample itinerary

Day 1: Arrival and shakedown at Paul R. Christen High-Adventure Base at SBR.

Day 2: Spend the day at the Polaris OHV [Off-Highway Vehicle] Center for Excellence for ATV training and short trail rides.

Day 3: Ride from Polaris Center to Rock Borrow, including a morning ride to a community service location. Afternoon trail riding.

Day 4: Rock Borrow to Garden Ground. Morning ATV basic mechanics course. Afternoon trail riding.

Day 5: Garden Ground to Christen High-Adventure Base. All-day trail riding with multiple scenic stops and an afternoon on the mud hole training course.

Day 6: Elective Day at Christen. Choose an all-day elective.

Day 7: Depart

Learn more and register

At this link.


Photos by James G Parker.