Adventuring with an off-highway vehicle is one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors. The landscape for enthusiasts who enjoy trail riding ATVs, UTVs and off-road motorcycles has evolved and expanded as these units have increased in popularity. Adventure riders of all skill levels can enjoy thousands of miles of well-prepped and signed trail systems while towns and businesses cater to enthusiasts with needs for lodging, camping, dining, fuel and attractions. Here our picks for some of the premier off-highway vehicle (OHV) riding destinations to add to your bucket list.
The quaint mining town of Gilbert is home to Minnesota’s first, and oldest, premier off-highway vehicle recreation area. This 1,200- acre state park is a repurposed iron ore mine incorporating a 36-mile trail system featuring a variety of challenging riding areas. Big boulder crawls, steep grade climbs up old iron ore stockpiles and deep mud holes are just a few of the play areas nestled under a dense forest canopy. This northern playground connects to scenic trails systems outside the park too, which provide ample food and lodging options in Gilbert and surrounding Mesabi Iron Ore Range communities.
The Black Hills received their name due to the dark nature of the heavily concentrated pine trees blanketing the rocky landscape rising out of the surrounding prairie. The Black Hills region is the perfect location for an off-road adventure. Start near the historic gold rush town of Deadwood to explore the rock formations, canyons and rolling streams of the Black Hills National Forest and their 3,600 miles of roads and trails designated for motorized travel. Before you go home, complete your trip with a stop at the historic monuments of Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial.
Tennessee is loaded with OHV trails, but one of the best locations is nestled into the remote wilds of the Northeast in the heart of Appalachia. The Brimstone® Recreation Area is home to 300 miles of OHV trails that offer adventures for a wide variety of skill levels. From relaxed logging road cruises to the most difficult climbing challenges, each trail is clearly marked and color-coded from easy to difficult.
Located in the southeast corner of California, the Imperial Sand Dunes are home to one of the best recreational play areas in the Southwest. This self-proclaimed, “Sand Toy Capital of the World” has ancient wind-blown golden sand stretching 40-miles in length and 5-miles in width. You won’t want to miss the Grand Opening to dune riding season when the annual Camp RZR event kicks off at the end of October. This weekend party brings thousands of OHV enthusiasts together to ride, camp and celebrate all that’s great about living the off-road lifestyle.
Considered “Trails Heaven,” the Hatfield-McCoy trail system in southern West Virginia is one of the premier destinations for off-road enthusiasts in the country. Comprised of eleven expansive individual trail systems, this region accommodates all skill levels of riders from novices to pros, and provides direct access to gas stations, restaurants, campgrounds, hotels and Hatfield-McCoy family-feuding history. Each trail system has its own unique personality, scenery and distances covered, so you’ll want to do your homework beforehand and plan for an extended stay in one of the most OHV friendly areas in the country.
Considered one of the best areas in all of New England for ATV riding, the combination of the Highlands, Moosehead Lake and The Forks, provide the region with 1,000+ miles of interconnected trails. Whether you choose large multi-day loops or daily adventures, these heavily forested trails are easy to ride, but take you deep into some remote areas full of raging rivers and extended lakes which are flush with wildlife.
We live in one of the greatest times to own an OHV, as the opportunities and areas to use them recreationally are nearly endless. Whether you gather friends, family or both, add one of these areas to your bucket list, or search out an area of your own.