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While Jeeping provides plenty of adventure, to get closer to the terrain, rent an ATV or Tomcar; the latter are like Go-Karts on steroids, based on vehicles created for the Israeli military. Sedona Off-Road rents Tomcars; owner Mark Ranges calls them UTVs, or Utility Terrain Vehicles. “They have a high ground clearance and are hard to tip, plus they have full roll cages and four-point harnesses” he says. “The four-seaters have 35 horsepower and they travel more easily than a Jeep – it’s a smoother ride. They are only two-wheel drive but they’ll go on all the Jeep trails.” Tomcars are popular with families, but you have to be 18 or older to operate one. We took out one of Mark’s two-seaters (he has five cars available for rent) on the Soldier Pass trail and marveled at how much smoother it was than the Jeep. Plus, being so close to the ground provides a new perspective. The Tomcars have windshields and roofs but no doors so you’re only a few feet from red rock. The four-seaters can go as fast as 35 mph but, being so close to the ground and on a relatively crowded trail, we weren’t feeling the need for speed.
For even more adventure, rent one of Mark’s eight ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles). Three of his ATVs accommodate two riders while the rest are for singles. Unlike Tomcars, ATV riders are required to wear helmets and eye protection. ATVs are open with no seatbelts – it’s like a four-wheel motorcycle. Prepare to return dusty or muddy, depending on the time of year, walking bow-legged like you’ve just ridden a horse and with a backside that’ll vibrate long after you’ve returned the keys. Your hands may ache as well – you control gas and brakes via the handlebars. That said, ATVs are a blast and bring out the little kid even in 30-something writers.
“We like to encourage both ATV and Tomcar renters to use the trails out west, off Forest Road 525,” Mark says. “We don’t allow our ATVs on Broken Arrow and we even tell Tomcars to steer clear of Broken Arrow because of all the Jeep traffic – it’s going to detract from your experience.”
Of the three four-wheeling options, ATVs are the easiest to tip but it may happen with rental Jeeps and Tomcars too. Nena says Farabee’s had three rollovers in a row on an area of Broken Arrow referred to as the Devil’s Staircase – thankfully there were no injuries. Mark says the worst ATV accident happened to a competitive ATV driver who wound up with a broken femur. But both companies provide renters with detailed maps that include trail ratings on a scale of one (easier) to five (difficult), and give drivers the lowdown on safety both for the renters and Sedona’s unique environment, emphasizing the principles of Utah-based nonprofit Tread Lightly, which advocates responsible outdoor recreation (www.treadlightly.org). If you think you’re going to rip through the red rocks like you’re at the X Games, think again. Sedona is a small town, says Nena. Residents and tour companies will call Farabee’s if they see something wrong. “Everyone looks out for each other here,” she says. “A renter broke a shock a while back and we’d received three phone calls about it before the renter could even contact us.”
Farabee’s Jeep Rentals
Rent Jeeps by the day or half-day
Sedona Jeep School
On-the-trail instruction on driving 4x4s
Sedona Off-Road Center
Rent Tomcars and ATVs by the day or half-day