Ride Guide – Trail & Travel 2015

Ride Guide – Trail & Travel 2015

2015.polaris.sportsman850.red_.front_.riding.on-trail.jpg Everybody loves to explore a new ride area, and regardless of where you live, there is almost certainly a great riding area within a day’s drive. With summer here it’s time to load up the trailer, gather up your family and riding buddies, and head out for a little off-road vacation. Go do your best Louis & Clark impression and explore some new territory of your own!location.2015.arizona.side-x-side.red.riding.on-dirt.jpg


With thousands of miles to explore and terrain that can be mountain trails, canyons, sand washes, or desert, Arizona is a desert lover’s dream. Try the Boulders OHV area for excellent riding complete with cactus, desert plants and wildlife. For a serious adventure visit the Arizona Outback, a huge area on the north side of the Grand Canyon cut off from the rest of the state. Ride from Mesquite, Nevada to the Bar-10 Ranch, then to the North Rim and see the Canyon like few ever will. We promise an awesome adventure.


The Little Sahara Dunes near Waynoka, OK have been a favorite Midwestern destination for decades. With 1,500 acres of riding and camping available, it’s a great place to spend a weekend. Other areas include the Ouachita National Forest in Southeast Oklahoma.

CALIFORNIA – Surf and Turf

California has it all for off-road adventure: mountains, desert, sand, and surf! Try any of the forest trail systems like the Rubicon Trail or the Chappie-Shasta ORV area for great forest riding and huge elevation changes, or major sand riding areas like Glamis, Pismo Beach, Dumont, or Gorman. Desert riding is particularly popular near towns like Randsburg or Barstow, while high mountain trails near Big Bear offer excellent rock climbing challenges with spectacular views. Wherever you go, you can find great riding in the Golden State.

FLORIDA – The Off-Road Magic Kingdom!

Florida is the capital of adventure rides, but none are more fun than the state’s OHV parks. The Ocala North OHV Trail System offers many trails for ATVs, bikes, and UTVs, and we like the mix of terrain and challenges. Pine forests are common throughout the system, but the one thing riders will find everywhere is sand and the Rangers do an excellent job of keeping the trails maintained. In many areas, trails wind between trees and heavy scrub, and in other areas an overhead canopy of hanging moss creates a unique tunnel effect. A master plan for the system calls for many interconnecting trails and that means a huge expansion of places to explore, with access to swimming, camping, and recreation areas, as well as fuel and grocery stops.
Trail Condition Hotline: 866-607-2016 www.floridaohv.org
Lake George Ranger District: 352-625-2520
www.atvflorida.com – An excellent website with lots of good info.location.2015.georgia.durhamtown.atvs_.parked.on-dirt-road.jpg

GEORGIA – Durhamtown Plantation

When Walt Disney built his theme parks, he knew it was all about the total experience. The owners of Durhamtown Plantation took the same approach, and they’ve got everything you need from the moment you arrive. There are almost a dozen tracks for riders of every age and skill level, plus almost 200 miles of trails. Expect a little of everything on the trails -from tight trees, to mud, to rocks. Some trails are single track and some open to all vehicles, but most require one-way traffic for safety.
Located about an hour from Augusta, Georgia, Durhamtown has camping, cabins, and RV rentals, an on-site lodge with a restaurant, a well-stocked pro-shop with parts, and even a rental fleet of ATVs, Dirt Bikes, and Side x Sides. Hunting and fishing is welcome also, and there are two well-stocked ponds to fish from. They’ve got everything for endless outdoor adventure.

IDAHO – BEST of the WEST location.2015.idaho.atv.red.riding.on-trail.jpg

Idaho is one beautiful state, and there is no better way to explore it than on an ATV or Side x Side. The American Inn in Rexburg has served as a great place to stay on our past adventures, and there are a couple excellent web sites to help you find the trails. Whether it’s the St. Anthony Dunes or the incredible natural beauty of the mountains, such as those near Wallace, there is plenty to explore in Idaho.

INDIANA – Midwest Badlands

The 800 acre Badlands Off Road Park near Attica, Indiana offers large, sandy sections with good sized hills, northern forests, southern style creek crossings, mud bogs, rocks to climb, and leafy, green hardwoods. It’s a little like riding in every part of North America all in one day and they’re even open in the winter! A private campground adjoins the park and many park visitors stay for the weekend. There are also plenty of local lodging options, restaurants, and everything else you could need nearby. We can’t wait to go back!
www.badlandsoffroad.comToll Free Phone: 866.762.2981

KENTUCKY – Mine Made Paradiselocation.2015.kentucky.side-x-side.red.riding.through-mud.jpg 

Kentucky has a knack for making the most of their resources. When mining or timber operations wrap up, a golden opportunity exists for recreation whether it’s hunting, biking, or off-roading.
The City of Evarts in Harlan County, Kentucky offers the Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area which has 8,000 acres to explore and over 150 miles of trails. Black Mountain is open year round and for $5.00, you can park at the Harlan County Campground. A general store carries supplies, maps, etc. There are even two miles of zip lines to carry you above the forest canopy. We’ve had an awesome time during our visits to Evarts and the surrounding area!
Mine Made Paradise is over 43,000 acres of riding and recreation just outside of Hazard, Kentucky. As the name suggests, this is part of a huge mine reclamation project, and long term plans even call for linking up with the Hatfield-McCoy system. Wilderness Trail Off-Road Park in Bell County offers over 9,000 acres of trails to explore with camping, fishing spots, mud bogs and ponds, and excellent scenery. Best of all, it’s FREE!
RUSH Off-Road near Ashland is Kentucky’s newest Off-Road park, and we had a blast exploring the trails, mud, and hill climbs at this facility. The owners are enthusiastic and we look for this park to become very popular as well. You could spend all summer riding in Kentucky, and you wouldn’t be disappointed.


Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area General Store (606) 837-3205

MAINE – The Great Northern Trail System

The Maine system is huge and has the potential to become the largest and longest trail system in the country. We tried parts of the Maine trails and the geography offers rolling terrain, generally wide trails that also served as logging or fire roads in many areas, and great views in every direction. Covering over 100 miles in a day is not uncommon, and you’re as likely to find wildlife on the trails as other riders, so be aware! A run-in with a moose is not something you’ll enjoy. One of our favorite places to visit is North Country Rivers. The North Country Rivers crew can guide you to the best trails and sights, and they’ll even provide you with a machine if needed. There’s nothing like a ride through a cool pine forest, and there are even festivals that cater to ATV and Side x Side riders like the annual Moxie Fest held in the town of Lisbon. You can’t go wrong in Maine.
www.atvmaine.org – 207- 767-5412location.2015.michigan.atvs.parked.by-lake.jpg

MICHIGAN – Great Riding in the Great Lakes State

Michigan’s two peninsulas offer thousands of miles of riding, but both have their own unique characteristics. The
Lower Peninsula system features both loops and dedicated play areas, with the Silver Lake Dunes along Lake Michigan offering huge dunes. To the south and near the Ohio/Indiana border is the BUNDY HILL OFF-ROAD Park which has trails, hills, extreme rock crawling, drop-offs, and bottomless mud pits. The owners of BUNDY HILL make sure it is very family friendly, and it’s a great place to explore.
St. Ignace is the Gateway to the North and the jumping off point for a lifetime of adventure in the outdoor lover’s paradise known as the Upper Peninsula (or U.P.). In every direction there are shimmering lakes, pine and cedar forests, and excellent riding. We’ve been to St. Ignace too many times to count and it always feels like home. Far to the west is the Keweenaw Peninsula jutting out into Lake Superior, the Porcupine Mountains, and endless trails to explore. If you love riding, you’ll be right at home in the U.P.


Check out our review of  Wildlife Refuge Cabins in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. https://atvillustrated.com/content/wildlife-refuge-cabins-review

MINNESOTA – Home Field Advantage

You would expect a state in which two of the sport’s major manufacturers (Arctic Cat & Polaris) call home to offer plenty of riding, and Minnesota does not disappoint. Between private ride areas and those managed by the state or local officials, you can find a place to ride nearly anywhere. In the south, you’ll find hardwood trails. In the north are cedars, lakes, and mining territory. Try the Iron Range mining country north of Duluth and expect friendly locals, lots of trails, and plenty of places to explore.

MISSOURI – Mark Twain Trails

Missouri offers both public and private ride areas, and trails through the Mark Twain National Forest, but great riding is only a stone’s throw away. Try the Chadwick Motorcycle and ATV area, the Mark Twain National Forest, and the St. Joe State Park. Expect stream crossings, rocky bluffs, shaded trails, and great woods riding.

NEVADA – Old West Outpost

If you’ve ever wanted to ride the Old West, Nevada has just the place for you with great trails and a few ghost towns along the way.
There are two main trail systems out of Elko, Nevada, the Spruce Mountain Trail and the Merritt Mountain Trail. Both offer excellent trails for riders of all skill levels with many elevation changes, sunflower covered meadows, exhilarating climbs, spectacular views, and rocky, snowcapped peaks. The view from the top of 9,000-foot Merritt Mountain is incredible. Back in town, Elko is a modern town with everything from a casino to a Home Depot, but the western roots run deep in Elko.
The “Valley of Fire” near Logandale, Nevada (about an hour from Vegas) is another amazing place to ride. Expect rock crawling, red sand, beautiful red rock formations, and even Native American petroglyphs carved into the rock. We love the diversity of this place and we guarantee we’ll be heading back. Nevada is also home to huge sections of open desert and in some areas you can ride from town to town as we did recently. Just be sure to bring a GPS, a map, your phone, and supplies because it can be a long way between towns in Nevada. Saddle up, cowboy!

NEW HAMPSHIRE – Member Nationlocation.2015.new-hampshire.atvs.riding.on-trail.jpg

New Hampshire is not a huge state, but they do have many ATV clubs and a list of hugely enthusiastic members! To the north, the Matallak ATV Club does a great job with their awesome local trails, but they also play a key role in bringing clubs together with the ultimate goal of linking the state’s trails together.
One of the largest local events is the Jericho ATV Festival near Berlin, New Hampshire, and every year this event gets bigger and better. It’s now one of the most popular ride events of the East. Besides the world class trail riding on over 7500 acres of the Jericho Mountain State Park, the festival features new model demo rides, aftermarket displays, poker runs, obstacle courses, a huge block party, and an enormous mud pit! In the park though, are trails for all levels from basic to “you had better bring a winch and a buddy!” All the trails provide endless loops through forest, over streams, and past Jericho Lake, with many scenic outlooks. Expect plenty of good natured fun, live entertainment, great riding, and a fun weekend on all the New Hampshire trails.

NEW YORK – Private Country Club

New York State is unique in that much of the riding is on private club land. One exception is the trail system of Lewis County, which offers the state’s only publicly accessible trail system with more than 400 miles of trail open to those purchasing a permit through the county. Luckily there are a large number of active local clubs and many private riding opportunities. Tall Pines ATV Park near Andover, New York is the newest area for Northeastern riders looking for a family friendly trail riding adventure, but it’s got a lot going for it already. Trails are currently being expanded, more cabins are being built, and they’re even looking for more events to host. We enjoyed its rustic, relaxed feel. It’s a little like a trip to your grandparents’ farm, a weekend camping trip, and a good old mud bog and riding adventure, all in one place! Like all the New York trails, the diverse topography makes use of hills, streams, and valleys, and scenery in New York ranges from serene rural farmland, to views of the Adirondacks. For East Coast riders, it’s a great place to spend a relaxing couple days.


North Carolina has a new ride area, and it’s operated by a familiar name. The Durhamtown Tellico ride area is deep in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest. At over 3000 acres, there is plenty of territory to explore for ATVs, UTVs, jeeps, buggies, rock crawlers, and even dirt bikes. If you are looking for a play to play, this is it. Tellico is also a great getaway for a family off-road experience, and there are campsites for tents and RVs, stocked streams and ponds for fishing, waterfalls, and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. You can even hunt here during the season!
Durhamtown Tellico’s property adjoins the original Tellico ORV facility and shares much of the same type of terrain, scenery and rock-crawling challenges. It’s a well-managed facility dedicated to providing fun, family adventure for many years to come while providing protection for the natural resources as part of a sustainable outdoor experience.


This is West Coast riding as it was meant to be with beautiful Northwest forests, and you can go from sand, to forest, to desert all in the same ride. In Oregon try the Coos Bay and the Florence Dunes on the shores of the Pacific. Further inland go for the awesome Jackson Hills riding area near Medford and ride to the mountain top as we recently did.
When in Washington, explore the Capital Forest trails and once again work your way through challenging and beautiful trails as you climb ever higher. Along the way, you’ll find water, off-cambers, a little dust, tight trails, rocks, and logs, but the views from the top of the mountain are awesome!
www.waatva.org/Trails.html – GREAT site. Info. on trails for Washington, Idaho, and Oregonlocation.2015.pennsylvania.side-x-side.green.riding.over-rocks.jpg

PENNSYLVANIA – Home of Adventure 

One of the best states for ATV & UTV lovers is Pennsylvania. You will find lots of trails, hilly terrain in most areas, forests, rocks, and mud. The Mines & Meadows ride area has all that with one added twist: you can even ride through an old, underground coal mine! Turn off the lights for an added thrill! If outdoor riding is more to your liking, we really enjoyed our time at the Rock Run recreation area as well which has great trails and scenic views. Pennsylvania’s newest off-road adventure area – the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area is another gem in the making. We’ve been to AOAA a few times and we’ll be happy to venture back again anytime. It’s big, it’s got plenty to do for all outdoor lovers, and it can be challenging.
Camping and ATV riding go hand-in-hand, and nobody makes it easier than the Potter County Family Campground near Coudersport on scenic Route 6. They’ve got almost 50 spacious campsites, cozy rental cabins, a well-stocked camp store, and a clean, heated bath house with private showers, all right on the trail. It’s a great place to unload and unwind! Regardless of where you park your trailer, you can’t go wrong in Pennsylvania.

SOUTH CAROLINA – Carolina Adventure World

Since its opening, Carolina Adventure World has quickly become one of the premier destinations for East Coast riders. We’ve been to many factory events here and with 2600 acres, there is plenty of room to explore. There are several tracks at Carolina Adventure World, tons of trails, creek crossings, hills to climb, mud bogs, and just about every type of terrain you could want to test yourself and your machine. Carolina Adventure World also likes to make sure their guests are comfortable, and they’ve got an excellent pro-shop stocked with gear you might need, plenty of stuff to eat, a clean shower building, a bike wash, and even rocking chairs. Camping is available with power and water sites, and RV spots with full hookups are available on site as well.

SOUTH DAKOTA – The Black Hills

The Sioux Indians believed the Black Hills were sacred. So do we. There are tons of trails, great riding, and incredible scenery. Start in Rapid City, SD, check out Mt. Rushmore, and explore the back country. Stop at the Nemo store for lunch during the day, and spend the night in the historic cowboy town of Deadwood. We can’t wait to go back to S.D.!

TENNESSEE – Daniel Boone Trail System

Tennessee takes a different approach to their trail riding, and rather than looped trail systems, there are several well developed, highly popular, and very large riding areas in Daniel Boone’s home state.
Brimstone features woods riding, rock crawling, water crossings, and plenty of elevation changes. That’s only half the package though; Brimstone takes care of their guests with camping, cabins and everything else you could need for a week’s adventure. Their annual events are a blast and are often capped with a country music concert. Coal Creek (Also known as Windrock) is located near Oliver Springs and is a mere 72,000 acres of area to explore. We’ve been there several times and there is a wide variety of trails, from open gravel roads to challenging hill climbs with plenty of rocks of every size and views that are spectacular. You’ll likely never see the same trail twice. Ride Royal Blue near Pioneer, TN offers a unique mix of Tennessee style riding – hills, rocks, woods – but also areas that are very much like western riding with huge sweeping meadows and enormous views. You can’t go wrong with any of the riding in Tennessee.


www.coalcreekohv.com(865) 435-1251
www.rideroyalblue.com(423) 784-9445(937) 286-7658

UTAH – Beautiful and Rugged

Locals say the Paiute Trail and Great Western Trail have no beginning and no end. With connecting branches there are over 2000 miles of marked trail to explore, so you’re unlikely to see both ends of either, but along the way, you’ll find cliffs, canyons, open desert, and huge rock formations. Higher into the mountains, you’ll find quaking Aspens, dense pines, and beautiful lakes. Some of the trails are quite challenging, but it’s a huge thrill to look at the endless views and unforgettable scenery. With a careful eye, you can even spot paintings left by the Native Americans who told their story through their artwork. Many riders choose the ATV friendly towns of Marysvale, Richfield, and Fillmore as their base camps.
Located in Southeast Utah, Moab features the West’s most distinctive landmarks. With two Alpine mountain ranges, awe-inspiring red rock formations, clear blue skies, and tons of trails, this is one of the best areas we’ve ever ridden. The variety of terrain here far exceeds any area we know of and with most of the trails being remote, it’s intensely demanding both physically and mechanically. Looking for novice trails? They have it. Looking for “super extreme” stuff? They’ve got that too and lots of it. You can’t go wrong with any of the Utah trails; it’s trail riding paradise! 

VIRGINIA – Four Wheel Friendly

Since it’s on the same part of the map as its neighbors in West Virginia, the Spearhead Trail system of Virginia offers a similar type of riding. That is to say, GREAT! Access to the area is excellent, there are new shopping centers with many restaurants, numerous places to stay, and you can even rent an ATV or Side x Side at Mud Slingin’ ATV Rentals. Best of all, it’s one of the friendliest places we’ve visited.
There are currently four trails in the Spearhead ORV Trail group, and recently we tried the Mountain View Trail out of St. Paul. The Mountain View system is a multi-use trail primarily designed for ATVs and Side by Sides. The system offers a good mix of terrain with trails for all skill levels. Expect mostly woods riding with some mud and rocky sections at times. Trails are well marked, and system managers are very pro-active in trail maintenance and making sure your adventure is both fun and safe. We expect this system to continue growing at a rapid pace. One of their best assets is a web site that is beyond excellent. It’s got everything you need to know about the system, and to plan your adventure. It’s very clear Wise County takes great pride in their area and the Spearhead Trail System is a jewel waiting for you to discover.

WEST VIRGINIA – Trail Heaven!

West Virginia has a unique mix of private ride parks, and the most famous trail system in the country.
Burning Rock is a well-developed ride park near Sophia, WV and it features race courses, over 10,000 acres to play on, and 100 miles of trails. As their web site states, they are “family fueled and mom-approved.” They’ve also got everything from rustic cabins to campsites, a general store, and a zip line for overhead adventure. You can even rent a Can-Am Outlander or Commander Side x Side as well.
The ever expanding Hatfield-McCoy trail system now offers eight unique branches, making it the most famous and most developed trail system in the country. One by one the branches are being interconnected as well. What began as a state sponsored move towards developing rural tourism has turned into the envy of other states, and excellent local support makes the entire system work. We’ve ridden much of the Hatfield McCoy system, and each branch has unique features. Most of the trails are based on former mining or logging access roads and there are challenges for riders of all levels. Each of the Hatfield-McCoy branches is open 365 days a year.


When looking for a place to stay during your Hatfield-McCoy ride, there are many options. The Open Trail Lodge located in Ragland, WV is only 4 miles from the Buffalo Mountain Trailhead which offers 95 miles of trails to explore. You can ride your machine right to the trails from your fully equipped home away from home.
McDowell County, WV is the most ATV friendly county in the United States and home to hundreds of miles of trails, including parts of the Hatfield-McCoy system. You can stay at the upscale Elkhorn Inn, where the meals are fantastic, and you might even get a peek at their resident ghost. They’ve even got a power washer on site for your use!
The Cowshed Motel in Pineville, WV has been host to ATV riders for many years, and their proximity to the Pinnacle Creek trail head makes it a natural fit. The Kimball ATV Hideaway in nearby Kimball is within 10 minutes of both the Indian Ridge and Pinnacle Creek connector, and a new system called Warrior Trails is set to open nearby as well.
www.TrailsHeaven.com Toll Free: 800-592-2217
www.burningrockwv.com Sophia WV (877) 573-2001
www.opentraillodging.com Ragland, WV 304-475-3761
www.elkhorninnwv.com Landgraff WV (800) 708-2040
www.cowshedmotel.net Pineville, WV 304-732-7000
www.kimballatvhideaway.com Kimball, WV (304) 320-7832

September 4, 2015

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