Trail and Travel Special – Summer Ride Guide

Trail and Travel Special – Summer Ride Guide

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location.2012.arizona.side-x-side.riding.on-trail.jpgWith summer here, it’s time to gather up your family, riding buddies, and gear for a little vacation spent exploring new territory. We’ve picked out a few of our favorite places, but regardless of where you live, there is a riding area near you.

WEST VIRGINIA – Trail Heaven!

There are six Hatfield-McCoy trail systems: Rockhouse, Buffalo Mountain, Bearwallow, Indian Ridge, Little Coal, and Pinnacle Creek. After trying much of the system, we’re happy to report the riding is excellent, and we’re planning a trip of our own there soon. Partnership between local business leaders, government officials, and riding enthusiasts has resulted in fantastic outdoor recreation with economic benefit to rural communities, and one by one the individual loops are being interconnected forming a vast trail network.location.2012.hatfield-mccoy-trail.west-virginia.atv-riding-on-dirt.jpg

Many of the trail systems also offer connecting trails that allow visitors to access ATV-friendly towns and 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 web sites we’ve ever seen for a ride area and all the info. you need can be found there. There are trails for riders of all skill levels with plenty of challenges, and we promise you won’t be disappointed. Each of its six trail systems 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. Toll Free: 800-592-2217


Tennessee is home to several great ride areas like Brimstone, Coal Creek, and Ride Royal Blue.


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. There are over 250 miles of trails at Coal Creek and all trails are marked with a trail number, degree of difficulty, and vehicles allowed on the trail. Some trails are restricted to ATV and Motorcycle use only. One of the best things about Coal Creek, though, is the scenery. Climb higher and enjoy the awesome views. Every vehicle on the trails will need a trail permit, and maps are available at the trail head as well as several local businesses. You’ll likely never see the same trail twice at Coal Creek. (865) 435-1251 1-800-BRIMSTONE (423) 784-9445 (937) 286-7658

GEORGIA – Durhamtown Plantation 

It’s the total experience that makes the truly great adventures great, and at Durhamtown Plantation, they’ve got everybody else beat. 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. The tracks are built on a base of red, Georgia clay so they hold up well without getting completely rutted, but the red clay will leave its telltale mark on light colored riding gear. As we found out, this is not the place to wear a new, white jersey. Some trails are single track and some open to all vehicles, but most require one-way traffic for everyone’s safety.


Located about an hour from Augusta, Georgia, Durhamtown has camping, cabins, and RV rentals for your stay, an on-site lodge with a restaurant, a large, well-stocked pro-shop with extra parts, and if you don’t have your own machine, they have a huge rental fleet of ATVs, Dirt Bikes, and Side x Sides. Just as important, they have the safety gear to go with it. Durhamtown is more than just a ride area, however, and if you like hunting and fishing, you’ll be at home there also. They have deer, wild hog, turkey, small game, and two, well stocked ponds to fish from. As usual, they’ve got all the gear you need, but if you would just rather shoot, they have a practice range that covers everything from 25 to 300 yards and a skeet shooting range as well.

We don’t know of anyplace else quite like Durhamtown Plantation. They have everything you could possibly need for a day, a weekend, or even a year of riding. 706-486-4603

INDIANA – The Badlands

Attica, Indiana may seem like an unlikely place for an off-road park, but at the edge of town and in the shadow of giant grain bins is the Badlands Off-Road Park.

The 800 acre Badlands Park 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! There are five main trails that wind through the facility and we never saw them all. Side trails branch off in every direction, but all main trails are marked with directional arrows that are color coded for the level of difficulty. There are even a couple fun motocross tracks as well!

The Badlands Off Road Park is a great place to spend a day or even a weekend playing on every type of terrain you could want, 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!location.2012.michigan.riding.through-water.jpg Toll Free Phone: 866.762.2981

MICHIGAN – Great Riding State

From the Keweenaw Peninsula to the Silver Lake Dunes, Michigan has thousands of miles of trails. It’s possible to explore forests, climb huge sand dunes, and venture to the shore of shimmering lakes, including the world’s largest freshwater lake, all in one day.

To the north, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (or U.P. for short) is an overlooked gem. Vast areas of the U.P. are heavily forested, and to the far west are the Porcupine Mountains. To the south, little farms and logging camps are tucked between the trees, but in nearly every direction there is water, pine forests, and excellent opportunities to explore. There are hundreds of beautiful spots to stop for a photo or a quick swim in the cool, clear, and inviting waves of countless lakes, and you’ll often have the trails and beach to yourself. The scent of the cedars, the lakes, the trails, and the hospitality will always call us back to the U.P.

Michigan’s Lower Peninsula has a well-developed trail system, with both loops and dedicated play areas. On the shore of Lake Michigan is Silver Lake, one of the most famous dune areas in the country, but other ride parks such as the St. Helen ORV Area, the Mounds ORV Park, and now Bundy Hill, serve ATV & Side x Side enthusiasts as well.

BUNDY HILL OFF-ROAD is a new ride park in Southern Michigan just a stone’s throw from the Indiana and Ohio border near the little town of Jerome, Michigan. They’ve got a little bit of everything at Bundy Hill including trails, dunes, 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. ph: 517-917-0493

SOUTH CAROLINA – Carolina Adventure World

With over 2600 acres, several tracks, over 100 miles of trails, creek crossings, hill climbs, mud bogs, and just about every type of terrain you could want, South Carolina Adventure World is one of the premier destinations for East Coast riders. The factories have done a lot of testing there and so have we.

Throughout the year, Carolina Adventure World holds special events from mud bogs to motocross races and there is something for everyone, plus they have all the extras. There are camp sites with power and water, RV spots with full hookups, clean showers, a bike wash, and the best “Pro-Shop” at any riding area we know of. They’ve got everything you need.

Carolina Adventure World is conveniently located just off I-77, 30 minutes north of Columbia, SC, and 50 minutes south of Charlotte, NC. phone: 803.482.3534

MAINE – The Great Northern Trail System

One section at a time, Maine is building what could possibly be the longest trail system in the country. Thanks to the cooperation between land owners, government officials, and over 90 dedicated clubs, the several thousand miles of loops currently in place are being connected.

Like many northern forest trails, parts of the Maine system double as logging or mining haul roads, with widely varying terrain from gentle hills to the steep and deep! Expect great scenery in every direction and a chance to see all types of wildlife including the occasional moose. Always be aware of anything big preparing to step into the trail!


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. Their service is open year round and after a long, dusty ride, you can even go white water rafting. There’s nothing like a ride through a cool pine forest and one of the best places to experience it is Maine. – 800-348-8871 – 207- 767-5412

KENTUCKY – Knott County’s Mine Made Paradise

Coal is one of the country’s primary energy sources, but after mining operations stop, local economies often suffer. Knott County and the State Government of Kentucky have taken a proactive approach to mine reclamation with a unique solution that provides long term economic support for the community, valuable recreational opportunities, and a home for wildlife. Mine Made Paradise is a vast new ride area just outside of Hazard, Kentucky and it’s a model we hope is repeated elsewhere.

Since Mine Made Paradise is in the same geographic region as some parts of the Hatfield- McCoy trail system, the riding is very similar, but there are also differences. Parts of Mine Made Paradise wind through dense, pine forests, and feel much like the Black Hills. At the main trail head, there is a nice community building with the only off-road training center we know of, but they also have maps, trail info, and can help make your adventure a success. Long term plans include hooking up with the Hatfield McCoy system making the area even more of a “must-do” destination for off-road lovers.

Supporting the new ride area is a local community well suited to all types of outdoor recreation with excellent restaurants and hotels, dealerships for parts, grocery shopping, and excellent roads to accommodate visitors. 606-233-0080

NEVADA – Western Roundup

The American West holds a special mystique, and one place you can experience it much like it was a century ago is the state of Nevada. It’s a chance to see territory as the early explorers did and you’ll get to see areas most people never will. The ATV friendly town of Elko has served as the base point for our adventures, and we’re heading back there soon to explore once again. When crossing wide open sections though, be prepared with a GPS, a map, your phone, and supplies because it can be a long way between towns in Nevada. Saddle up, cowboy!


FLORIDA – The Off-Road Magic Kingdom!

Florida is the nation’s amusement park capital, but none are more fun than the state’s OHV parks. Most trail systems are open to ATVs, bikes, and UTVs, and we like the mix of terrain and challenges. Each area has its own unique terrain so expect everything from trails that wind through the palmettos to mud. We especially liked the overhead canopy of hanging moss that created a unique tunnel effect in the Ocala National Forest. Almost everywhere there is sand and that means whoops, but park rangers do an excellent job of keeping trails groomed; they seem genuinely interested in making sure you enjoy your ride.

Most areas also include camping with everything from primitive camping to full hookups for RVs, but be aware of where you set up camp. Every stream and pond in Florida has the potential for alligators. If you love your faithful mutt Sparky, never tie him to a tree in Florida. Rangers find too many empty collars. Wherever you visit, we promise it’ll be far more enjoyable than the Tea-Cup rides at any of the other parks!

Trail Condition Hotline: 866-607-2016

Lake George Ranger District: 352-625-2520 – An excellent web site with lots of good info.


UTAH – Off-Road Festival Capital

Utah is one of our favorite places to ride. The state is generally very off-road friendly, and it’s possible to find a festival, jamboree, or rally practically every weekend there isn’t snow on the ground. If you wish to hop on an ATV to enjoy the woods, view the scenery, take pictures, fish, camp, or just get away from the daily hassles that life lays on you, this is the place to go.

Locals claim the Paiute Trail and the Great Western trail system have no beginning and no end. That’s pretty much the truth, and with connecting trails, there are over 2000 miles of marked trail and back road byway to explore. Many riders choose the ATV friendly towns of Marysvale, Richfield, and Fillmore as their base camps, and the towns have enacted ordinances permitting ATV travel on their streets so riders can get needed food, gas, repairs and lodging. At any point along the trail, you may find cliffs, canyons, open desert, and huge rock formations. Higher into the mountains will take you through quaking Aspens, dense pines, and past 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.

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. It’s unlike any place else on Earth. The variety of terrain 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. Once you’ve ridden Moab, you’ll always want to go back.


Some of the most beautiful, most remote, and best riding we have ever experienced has been in Canada.

In the west, British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies are breathtakingly beautiful. Further east in the provinces of Alberta and Manitoba, the terrain is more rolling rather than mountain trails. 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, and the Ontario trail system is fairly well developed. French speaking Quebec offers great riding as well with a European twist, and the Sacacomie area north of Montreal was an awesome place that seemed a world away even though it was only a couple hours north of the city. Even the Atlantic hugging Eastern Islands offer their own unique riding opportunities with huge forests, stream crossings, and lots of rocks.


With one of the world’s largest countries, greatly differing geography in each region, and huge, unexplored, and even uncharted areas, Canada is chock full of awesome riding and you’ll rarely meet another group on the trails. When the riding area stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and ranges north to the Arctic Circle and beyond, our best advice is to research the area you want to explore, and carry a GPS and bear spray.

Ride Area Wrapup

By no means is our list of ride areas complete and there are thousands of miles of trails, dunes, and desert to explore. Here are a few other suggestions.

These two sites have an excellent database of trails across the country and can get you started on your adventure

California – California has the four jewels of off-road adventure: mountains, desert, sand, and surf! Try any of the forest trail systems (i.e. Rubicon Trail), or major riding areas like Glamis, Pismo Beach, Dumont, or Gorman, or you could try any of the open desert ride areas. We recently did a point to point ride from Big Bear to Las Vegas, and wherever you go, you can find great riding in the Golden State.

IDAHO – Awesome Mountain Riding – Whether it’s the St. Anthony dunes or 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.


Oregon & Washington – 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! – GREAT site. Info. on trails for Washington, Idaho, and Oregon

South Dakota – 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 1500 acres and camping available, it’s a great place to spend a weekend. Other areas include the Ouachita National Forest in   location.2012.south-dakota.side-x-side.riding.on-path.jpg

Southeast Oklahoma.

Minnesota – You would expect a state that 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.

Pennsylvania – One of the best states for ATV & UTV lovers! 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.


Arizona – 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 – 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.

August 31, 2012