We’re often asked about great places to ride. There are thousands of miles of trails, forest, dunes, and desert to explore. With summer here, it's time to gather up your family and gear, load up the trailer, and set out for a little off-road vacation. We've picked out a few of our favorite places, and by no means is our list complete, but regardless of where you live, there is a riding area near you. Go make a memory!
UTAH – Beautiful and Rugged
Utah is a riding paradise. Trail riders love the Paiute Trail and Great Western Trail which locals say have no beginning and no end. With connecting trails, there are over 2000 miles of marked trail and back road byway to explore. 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 centuries old 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, and the towns allow ATV travel on their streets so riders can get needed food, gas, repairs and lodging.
Moab, located in Southeast Utah, is one of the West's most distinctive landmarks. With two Alpine mountain ranges, awe-inspiring red rock formations, clear blue skies, crisp clean air and tons of ATV 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. Moab is adventure in its purest form. 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.
Moab Events - www.moabatv-utv.com
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.
www.carolinaadventureworld.com phone: 803.482.3534
The Hatfield-McCoy trail system is the most famous and most developed trail system in the country. With the recent openings, there are now eight distinct branches of the system, but they all offer excellent riding. One by one they are all being interconnected as well. Trail organizers took the theme park approach to trail development and considered the complete experience. What that meant was not only great trails, but also trail access to ATV-friendly towns. There is excellent local support with restaurants, stores, camping, and great places to stay such as the award-winning Elkhorn Inn. The Hatfield-McCoy system also has one of the best websites we’ve ever seen for a ride area and all the info you need can be found with a visit to their site. There are trails for riders of all skill levels with plenty of challenges, and we promise you won’t be disappointed. Each of the Hatfield-McCoy branches is open 365 days a year to ATVs, dirt bikes, and UTVs. You owe it to yourself to give the most famous trail system in the off-road world a try. Hatfield-McCoy is rapidly becoming one of those "must do" off-road adventures.
www.TrailsHeaven.com Toll Free: 800-592-2217
Pocahontas ATV Resort - www.pocahontasatvresort.com
Cow Shed Motel and Resturant - www.cowshedmotel.net
MAINE – The Great Northern Trail System
Before you could ride every mile of the Maine trail system, you would almost certainly wear out your machine. The Maine system is vast already and still expanding, potentially becoming the largest and longest trail system in the country, thanks to the active participation of over 90 thriving clubs and the cooperation and good will between land owners, timber companies, and government officials.
We tried a small part 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. It’s easy riding and covering over 100 miles in a day is not uncommon. It is also common to see moose or other large animals wandering across the trail, so be aware! Bullwinkle will probably survive any unfortunate encounter, but you may not! One of our favorite groups 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 one of the best places to experience it is Maine. 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.northcountryrivers.com - 800-348-8871
www.atvmaine.org - 207- 767-5412
NEVADA – Old West Outpost
When you want to ride a piece of the Old West, Nevada has just the place for you. Elko, Nevada is a modern town with everything from a casino to a Home Depot, but its western roots run deep.
There are two main trail systems out of Elko, 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 especially captivating.
A truly amazing place to ride is known as the “Valley of Fire” near Logandale, Nevada. This place has everything from rock crawling, to red sand, to 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!
While point to point or looped trail systems are common to many states, Tennessee takes a different approach. The state is home to several huge, well organized riding areas, the most famous of which is Brimstone.
Brimstone features woods riding, rock crawling, water crossings, and plenty of elevation changes. 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 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 from the top the scenery is spectacular. You’ll likely never see the same trail twice at Coal Creek. Ride Royal Blue 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.windrockpark.com (865) 435-1251
www.rideroyalblue.com (423) 784-9445 (937) 286-7658
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.com Toll Free Phone: 866.762.2981
Florida is chock full 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 you will find. 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 well maintained. In some areas the trails wind tightly 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 areas 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.
GEORGIA – Durhamtown Plantation
The owners of Durhamtown Plantation took the theme park approach when developing their little slice of heaven. Realizing it’s about the total experience, they’ve got you covered with everything you need from the moment you arrive. There are SIX motocross tracks, two peewee tracks, a dirt drag strip, mud pits, a dirt oval track, a new European style Gran Prix course, and 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 here also, and there are two well-stocked ponds to fish from. We don't know of anywhere else quite like Durhamtown Plantation. They’ve got everything for endless outdoor adventure.
Michigan’s two peninsulas offer thousands of miles of riding, but both have their own unique characteristics. The Lower Peninsula has a well-developed trail system, with both loops and dedicated play areas, and the gem of the system is the Silver Lake Dunes on Lake Michigan’s shore. 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 also strive to make sure it is very family friendly, and it’s a great place to explore.
Michigan's heavily forested Upper Peninsula (or U.P.) is an outdoor lover’s paradise. In every direction there are shimmering lakes, pine and cedar forests, and excellent riding. Try the
Western U.P trails near the Wisconsin border, the Keweenaw Peninsula jutting out into Lake Superior, the Porcupine Mountains, the trails around Curtis, and Drummond Island which is an entire Island devoted to ORV riding.
www.bundyhilloffroad.com ph: 517-917-0493
KENTUCKY – Mine to Explore
Reclamation turns former coal mines back to nature, but the damage to the local economy is far harder to fix. Old mines make great riding though and leaders from all levels of local and state government have been converting some of Kentucky’s former open pit mines to new public recreation areas.
Mine Made Paradise is over 43,000 acres of riding and recreation just outside of Hazard, Kentucky. The trails at Mine Made Paradise remind us very much of the Hatfield McCoy system, as they should since it's in the same geographic region. 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! To the south, 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 a very reasonable $5.00, you can park at the Harlan County Campground. A general store carries supplies, maps, etc. near the southern access and several campgrounds with tent sites, cabin rentals, and full RV hookups are available in the area. There are even two miles of zip lines to carry you above the forest canopy.
Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area General Store (606) 837-3205
Rush Off-Road - www.rushoffroad.com
If you really want to explore untamed, remote territory and stay on this side of the planet, no place is better for that than Canada. The territory and riding is as varied as the terrain, and with proper planning, you could even ride right up to and beyond the North Pole. To the west the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia are breathtakingly beautiful. Further east in the provinces of Alberta and Manitoba, the terrain is more rolling rather than mountainous. In the centrally located province of Ontario, there is a little bit of everything from mud, to rocks, to tight woods. We loved the trails near Elliot Lake on the north side of Lake Huron. French speaking Quebec has a European feel with great trails in the Sacacomie Area north of Montreal and it seemed a world away even though it was only a couple hours north of the US border. Even the Atlantic hugging Eastern Islands offer their own unique riding opportunities with huge forests, stream crossings, and lots of rocks.
As one of the world’s largest countries, with greatly differing geography in each region and huge, wilderness areas with few inhabitants, Canada is an awesome place for trail exploration. You had better come well equipped and prepared for anything, but you could probably find a trail in Canada from the shores of the Pacific, to the Arctic Circle, and all the way to the Atlantic. Count us in!
California has the four jewels of off-road adventure: mountains, desert, sand, and surf! Try any of the forest trail systems or major riding areas like Glamis, Pismo Beach, Dumont, or Gorman. Desert riding is particularly popular, and we recently tested the trails around the sleepy, former mining town of Randsburg while staying at Goats Sky Ranch. The high mountain trails near Big Bear offer excellent rock climbing challenges with spectacular views, and to the north the beautiful and legendary Rubicon Trail offers challenges for all. The Chappie-Shasta ORV area features great forest riding and huge elevation changes, but the views from the top are spectacular. Wherever you go, you can find great riding in the Golden State.
IDAHO – Awesome Mountain Riding
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. Check out the great site below for complete trail info.
Dune Excursions - www.duneexcursions.com
Americ Inn - www.rexburgamericinn.com
This is real 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 Oregon
The Black Hills! 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 one day. We can't wait to go back to S.D.!
ARKANSAS & OKLAHOMA
Only a couple miles from Waynoka, OK., the Little Sahara Dunes have been a favorite Midwestern destination for years. With 1,500 acres and camping available, it’s a great place to spend a weekend. Other areas include the Ouachita National Forest in Southeast Oklahoma.
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.
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! Try the Rock Run recreation area as well for great trails and scenic views. Pennsylvania’s newest off-road adventure area – the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area is another gem in the making. After our initial ride there before its official opening, we’re excited about riding there again. It’s big, it’s got plenty to do for all outdoor lovers, it’s challenging, and we can’t wait to go back. Go Anthracite!
Mines and Meadows - www.minesandmeadows.com
Potter County Campground - www.pottercountycamping.com
A rock climber and desert explorer’s dream! Thousands of miles to explore and terrain that can be mountain trails, canyons, sand washes, or desert. Try the Boulders OHV area for excellent desert riding complete with cactus, desert plants and wildlife.
Missouri offers a dizzying combination of riding areas, some National Forest and some private, but wherever you go, there is a great riding area 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.