Ride Area Review – Smoky Mountain Home

Ride Area Review – Smoky Mountain Home

location.2013.kentucky.wilderness-trail.parked-side-x-sides.JPGBrian Fisher of Fisher’s ATV World is right… The views from Kentucky’s Wilderness Trail Off-Road Park, located in the southeastern part of the state, look more like the rolling foothills of Montana or Wyoming than anyplace near the Great Smoky Mountains. While the area presents a geographical oddity, it also offers excellent riding, and best of all, it’s all free!

My New Kentucky Home

Wilderness Trail Off-Road Park is built on over 9000 acres of heaven in Bell County, Kentucky and within a stone’s throw of the Cumberland Gap. The park was formed in 2008 and is a continuing development between state and local officials, dedicated individuals, and great, enthusiastic clubs like the Holler Crawlers ATV Club. Today there are over 120 miles of trail already in use in the park with much more to come. The Holler Crawlers club does much more than builds trails, however; consider the club an Off-Road entertainment organization.

As if the awesome trails of Bell County weren’t enough, the Holler Crawlers crew had a ride planned like we had never experienced before. On our last visit, we thoroughly enjoyed the Haunted Forest Ride which was designed to scare the bejesus out of even the bravest soul. The woods quickly became dark and sinister with villainous figures popping, hobbling, and leaping out of creepy haunts and deep shadows, usually armed with everything from chain saws to gardening tools, to all forms of spine-tingling destruction. It was fun and super entertaining!location.2013.kentucky.wilderness-trail.haunted-forest-ride-concert.parked-dirtbike.JPG

After the ride we pulled up to a comfy spot and took in a concert from country recording star Colt Ford. There was a minimal $15 fee for the concert, but it’s a bargain for the evening’s entertainment. Ford and his band rocked into the wee hours of the night with a foot stomping, good time concert. Food and drink vendors supplied the crowd during the concert, and we had a great time. During the day, there were plenty of other vendors on hand as well and you could check out displays from Polaris, Corbin Motorsports, Can-Am, Arctic Cat, etc. No event like this would be complete without a proper drag race and mud pit events, and spectators flocked to the sidelines to watch the competition and occasional mayhem. At its core, though, the Wilderness Trail Off-Road Park is all about riding and family recreation.

The trails at Wilderness Trail Off-Road Park offer a wide variety of terrain for novice and experienced riders alike. Expect a little bit of everything. You’ll find hill climbs, rocky sections, open terrain followed by tight woods, plenty of elevation changes, mud, and even some loose, sandy gravel trails. Old logging roads will lead you past abandoned mines, through meadows, and even to a few caves, but we guarantee you’ll find adventure everywhere. The park is well marked and mapped, and you can download the maps for free at the park website. Many local businesses carry the maps as well and currently the park is open to ATVs, Side x Sides, dirt bikes, and also Jeeps and trucks. The park master plan even calls for vehicle specific trails in the future, but for now be aware you may meet somebody bigger than you on the trail. The Wilderness Trail Off-Road Park also offers water, and lots of it.location.2013.kentucky.wilderness-trail.atvs-on-trail.JPG

Ponds are scattered throughout the property and the next time we visit, we’ll drop a line in a pond or two. Local anglers have no problem catching bluegill, largemouth and Kentucky bass, catfish, and crappie. Two other popular spots for catching redeye, long-ear sunfish, smallmouth, Kentucky bass, catfish, and even walleye are Yellow Creek and the cool running Cumberland River. How do we know it’s cool? Thanks to a devious sister years ago. For any fishing, you will need a Kentucky fishing license but access to the water is free.

Play & Stay – The Pine Mountain State Resort Park

There are several lodging and camping options near the Wilderness Trail Off-Road Park, some with direct park access. One of the more popular places to stay is the Pine Mountain State Resort Park. While there we enjoyed the great food, relaxed atmosphere, and the beautiful views of the Smoky Mountains. They even have their own bird sanctuary and hiking trails, but we were completely happy with the clean, comfortable room. For riders who want the total outdoor experience, the Wilderness Trail Off-Road Park allows primitive camping, and like everything else in the park, it’s free. Whether you stay in a cozy room at the Pine Mountain State Resort Park or under a pine tree along the trail, you can’t go wrong.

Wilderness Trail – Western Flavor

The Great Smoky Mountains are beautiful, but if you’ve always had a hankerin’ for western style riding without the 2000 mile drive (each way), the Wilderness Trail Off-Road Park is made for you. It’s about as close as you can come without loading up and heading to Montana and we loved it! The park is beautiful, the Holler Crawlers club members are friendly, and we can’t wait to head back next year. Fantastic job and a big tip of the visor to all!

Wilderness Trail Off-Road Park – Phone: 606-302-1943 or 606-499-0567

www.wildernesstrailoffroadpark.net

Holler Crawlers ATV Club – Phone: 606-302-1943

www.hollercrawlers.com

Pine Mountain State Resort Park – Toll Free US: 800-325-1712

www.kentuckytourism.com/places_to_stay/pine-mountain-state-resort-park/2710/

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February 7, 2013

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