The United States is, for all intents and purposes, a developed country with hundreds of square miles taken over by concrete, metal and urban landscaping. However, when one ventures a little outside a city’s walls, one will discover that much of the country is still characterized by the grasslands, forests, desert and mesas the frontiersmen first encountered when they chartered the 3.5 million square miles that make up America all those hundreds of years ago. What this means is that there are plenty of off-road playgrounds for all you OHV enthusiasts. If you’re lucky, one is in your own backyard, but even if not, it will be well worth your while to schedule a few ATV trail riding vacations for yourself and your buddies in your near future.
Some of the best ATV trails are well-known, but others are local secrets about which a few friendly folks decided to spread the word. Well-known or not, the following 12 trails offer terrific riding and days’ worth of fun. Read on to learn more about these epic trails, get your machines ready with the best motorcycle parts, and begin planning your next ATV adventures.
Baumgartner Trails – Sawtooth National Forest, Idaho
Located 11 miles outside of Featherville, Idaho, and situated on the South Fork Boise River is Baumgartner, an area with hundreds of miles of OHV and single-track motorcycle trails. These trails offer more views than challenges for the average OHV rider, but riders of all skill levels continue to traverse these trails because you can ride for days without covering the same ground twice. When it comes to lodging, be prepared to pitch a tent or open up your RV, as there aren’t many motels in the area. In fact, the nearest amenities are 30 miles away, so you should show up prepared with fixings for your meal and whatever else you may need for the duration of your trip.
Oceano Dunes – Oceano Beach, California
Otherwise known as Pismo Beach, Oceano Beach is a gem that consists of over 3,600 acres of beach dunes. Though these dunes are nowhere nearly as expansive as their counterparts to the Southeast, they offer exceptional views, ideal riding temperatures and a little bit of something for the whole family to do. If there’s a person in your party who prefers to slower-paced lifestyle of beach-sitting and surfing, he or she is free to grab a towel, a board and a bathing suit and head to the water while you traverse the dunes.
Capitol Forest – Western Washington
Head North a bit more and you’ll run into Capitol Hill, trails that are a far cry from California’s dunes. Located just five miles outside of Olympia is the Capital State Forest, which offers over 80 miles of some of the best dirt bike trails in the U.S. Though there are several trails you can traverse during your stay, you can count on the fact that you will never be without a stunning view. All trails are hardpacked with occasional stretches of rock or mud. This provides for mostly smooth riding with a bit of risk for adventure.
Capitol forest has many ATV friendly campgrounds available at which you can park your gear for the weekend. However, if you don’t have a tent, RV or other portable structure, you can also book at room at one of the nearby hotels or motels in a neighboring town. null
Hidden Falls Adventure Park – Marble Falls, Texas
If you head back South toward Texas, you’ll discover an off-road treasure called Hidden Falls Adventure Park. The park caters to all off-road machines, including OHVs, motorcycles, UTVs, ATVs and even Jeeps and trucks and is characterized by over 240 miles of marked trails. On the trails, you will find soft and hard packed dirt, rocky dirt and solid rock sections of trail. Most are open to all vehicles, but be sure to check for restrictions, just in case.
Imperial Sand Dunes in Glamis – Brawley, California
Glamis is the most popular riding destination in the state of California. The dunes span an area of approximately 200 square miles, providing for stretches of dunes on which to open up your engines and showoff what your OHV can really do. Glamis is a rider’s paradise because of the vast size of the dunes, which often reach heights of up to 300 feet above the desert floor.
In addition to offering off road motorcycle trails, Glamis also provides ATV friendly campgrounds. Once you set up your site, you have little else you need to do, so prep your vehicle and go.
Paiute Trail System – Central Utah
The Paiute ATV Trail System has been dubbed the largest trail system in all the U.S. Located in Central Utah, this trail system is located just three hours from Moab. It extends over 300 miles and connects with hundreds of other trails, providing for up to 2000 miles worth of trails. Once on the trail, the options of where you can go are endless. You can traverse over the BLM lands, through the Fishlake National Forest and across ATV-friendly towns such as Beaver, Aurora, Elsinore and Marysville. In these towns, OHVs have just as much right to drive on the roads as passenger vehicles and trucks.
Because of its well-earned popularity, the Paiute Trail System hosts some of the best OHV jamborees in the nation, including the Fillmore National ATV Jamboree, the Paiute UTV Jamboree and the Rocky Mountain ATV Jamboree. In addition to intense riding events, the Jamborees are characterized by hot meals, non-riding events and family-friendly activities that span the course of multiple days.
Black Hills National Forest – Western South Dakota / Northeastern Wyoming
This famous forest spans two states and boasts over 600 miles of trails for off-road vehicles of all types. It’s also ideal for all skill levels. In a single weekend, you may traverse over open prairie-like plains, challenging rock-climbing sections and heavily wooded trails. You’re also bound to come across streams, wilderness and reservoirs and, if you’re particularly lucky, an abandoned mining site. The forest is tourist-friendly and boasts over 30 campgrounds. Nearly all campgrounds are located close to a trail and within walking distance of swimming, picnicking, fishing, hiking and so much more.
Moab – Moab, Utah
If you’re looking for one of the best places to ride quads, don’t leave Moab left unchecked on your bucket list. The area is characterized by canyons, red-rock trails and national parks, all of which offer stunning 360-degree views. Once there, you will have hundreds of square miles over which to drive your OHV. In addition to views, some trails offer fun challenges that other off-roaders have generously rated, with a ratings range of easy to extremely difficult.
The number of trails within Moab will keep you busy for an entire weekend, if not an entire week. However, if you need to take a break from the bike for a couple hours or an entire day, head into the town. There you’ll find motels and hotels, RV parks, boutique-like businesses, grocery stores, gas stations tons of good eats.
Ride Royal Blue – Northeastern Tennessee
The West isn’t the only part of the country with extraordinary riding. Tennessee’s Cumberland Mountains is home to Ride Royal Blue, a campground designated specifically for OHV riders and their families. The over 600 miles of trails include stretches for all experience levels, including flat surfaces for leisurely riding and inexperienced off-roaders and more difficult, rocky terrain for the rider who desires a challenge. When you stay, stay for a weekend at the park’s many RV sites, at a tent site, in a cabin or at the mountain’s lodge.
Hatfield McCoy Trails – West Virginia
If you’re a history buff, you’ll enjoy riding this particular trail, which weaves throughout the Appalachian Mountains. Just like the larger hiking trail through which it weaves, the Hatfield-McCoy system is expansive, stretching over 700 miles of land. The greater trail boasts eight off-shoots, which wind through seven nearby counties. Though each trail features its own unique characteristics, all come replete with breathtaking scenery at every point.
Ridge Outdoor Adventure Park – Springville, Alabama
Head South and towards Birmingham and you’ll run into Ridge Outdoor Adventure Park, an off-roading riding park with over 35 miles of trails designed for OHVs, ATVs, UTVs and motorcycles. The Ridge has trails for just about every experience level, include kids who are testing out their first machines. The par is only open on the weekends, so if you do want to give this Southern park a test run, be sure to plan your trip for Friday through Sunday.
Northern Maine Trail Systems – Morro Plantation, Maine
The Northeast has a little gem of a trail system that begins in Aroostook County. “Little” may be an understatement, as the system offers over 1,000 miles of OHV, ATV and motorcycle trails you can explore. Terrain difficulty ranges depending on the weather conditions and may include wooded trails to dirt roads to mud bogs. While out riding, don’t be too shocked if you come across a moose or a bear, something to keep in mind if you plan to camp at one of the nearby parks.
When planning your next ATV trail riding vacations, get your ATV gear ready and be sure to look into the above 12 OHV destinations.