On occasion we feature “Where to Ride” articles based on trips we go on, events taking place or just where we happen to be testing the latest ATVs. This month, we assembled a list of the best ride areas in the country with details on how to get there, what to expect, along with lodging and vehicle rental information.
1. IMPERIAL DUNES
Otherwise known as Glamis, this is the largest concentration of rideable sand dunes in the United States, and they are open year round. The three main riding areas that make up the dunes are situated between the Coachella Canal and the railroad tracks. The Mexican border provides the southern fence line. The Mammoth wash area makes up the northern end. You can camp right on the edge of the dunes in a RV, toy hauler or tent, or stay a short ride away at Glamis North KOA campground. From vintage three-wheelers to high-horsepower buggies, you will see the full gamut of ATVs wandering the wide-open dunes. The best time to hit the dunes is from October through March since the summer months are very hot.
Directions: Access the Buttercup area and the southern end of Glamis by taking I-8 East from San Diego, California or West from Yuma, Arizona. The busiest portion of the dunes, the Glamis store, Gecko Road, Oldsmobile and Comp Hill can all be accessed by taking Hwy 78, east of Brawley. Closest airport is San Diego, California.
Lodging/rentals: www.luv2 camp.com, www.glamisnorth.com, www.glamisatv.com
2. MOJAVE DESERT
California City/Ridgecrest, California
We might be partial to this area since we live and test here on a monthly basis. Don’t let that fool you, because here, you can literally ride for days without seeing the same piece of dirt twice. You can start in the populated California City or the Jawbone canyon area and ride to the historic ghost town of Randsburg for a night’s rest. From there, head to the Pinnacles or Spangler Hills section near Ridgecrest, or head back west to Dove Springs. The best time to ride in this part of the desert is October through April. The summertime is very hot.
Directions: For Los Angeles, take I-5 North to Hwy 14 just past the town of Mojave. Or, take Hwy 395 North into Randsburg.
Lodging/rentals: www.rands burgcottagehotel.com, (760) 374-2285, www.funtimeatv.com
Contact: (760) 373-1146, www.jawbone.org
3. OREGON COAST
Florence/North Bend, Oregon
There are two major local areas where you can enjoy the uniqueness of the Oregon Dunes national recreation area. Here you can explore the dunes with the cool Pacific Ocean waves to the west of you, then head east into the pine forests Oregon is so famous for. The entire area stretches over 40 miles from north to south. Unique to the area are 30 small lakes that dot the dunes and forests.
Directions: From I-5, head inland at Cottage Grove or Eugene to get to the Florence area. If you want to explore the southern end near Coos Bay, head west from Winston on Roseburg Hwy 42.
Lodging/rentals: www.luv2 camp.com, www.torexatvrentals.com
Contact: www.stateparks.com/ oregon_dunes
4. PAIUTE ATV TRAIL
The Paiute ATV Trail is a 275-mile-long journey through south-central Utah. Over 1000 miles of feeder trails will take you into ATV-friendly towns, such as Marysvale, Richfield, Beaver, Fillmore and Salina, along the way. The trail was formed by connecting old roads and trails crossing the Fishlake National Forest with intervening BLM-administered land. Some of the trail segment travels over 10,000 feet, so the best riding season is from spring to fall. There are more ATV jamborees taking place on this system than anywhere else in the world.
Directions: You can access the Paiute Trail from I-15 in Beaver or Fillmore, I-70 in Richfield or Salina, and take Hwy 89 to find Marysvale.
Lodging/rentals: www.paiuteatv .com, www.lizzieandcharlies.com, www.pinewoodsresort.com
Contact: www.atvutah.com, www.utah.com
5. MOAB UTAH
Riding the slick rocks of Moab is like riding on Mars. Yes, we have ridden ATVs on Mars (read the article titled “ATV Mission to Mars” at www.dirt wheelsmag.com). No matter if you have a 2WD or utility quad or a multi-passenger UTV, you will love exploring Moab. While most of the marked trails go over hard rock, you can also find plenty of sand and mixed hardpacked surfaces to ride on. The biggest event held at Moab is the Rally on the Rocks UTV jamboree held every spring. Get info on next year’s event at www.rallyontherocks.com.
Directions: Take I-70 West from Denver or east from I-70 to Hwy 191 and head south.
Lodging/rentals: www.moabpower sports.com, (435) 259-7800
6. MICHIGAN’S UPPER PENINSULA
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is the furthest place north in the United States, east of the Mississippi River. It is bordered by Lake Superior on the north and west sides, with Lake Michigan to the east and Wisconsin below. In all, the state has nearly 4000 miles of OHV-legal trails. The most scenic and least traveled are in the Upper Peninsula (UP). This region has several venues hosting technical XC and hare-scramble events. If you live in the Midwest, you can reach the UP and be riding within an easy day’s drive. At the furthest end of the UP, the Keweenaw ATV Club sponsors and maintains over 150 miles of trails in Northern Houghton and Keweenaw counties. Membership forms can be obtained online at www.keweenaw atvclub.com.
Directions: Take I-141 into the UP from Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Contact: www.michigan.gov and (800) 447-2757 for camping info; www.exploringthenorth.com for rentals.
7. Iron County, Wisconsin
We have featured this region in every summer jamboree guide. Iron County hosts two of the biggest jamborees in the country: the Memorial Day ATV Rally and the Pumpkin Run (held October 10–14, 2013). In fact, the Memorial Day ATV Rally has been the home of the world’s largest ATV parade for years. The county has more than 200 miles of routes and trails that take you deep into the heart of Iron County. Along the routes you will find a variety of friendly pit stops offering food, beverages, gas and lodging. During the winter, ATVs are welcome on some designated Iron County snowmobile trails
Directions: Hurley, Wisconsin, is about two hours north of Wausau, Wisconsin, two hours east of Duluth Minnesota, and two hours west of Marquette, Michigan
Contact: (715) 561-4334, www.hurly wi.com; www.exploringthenorth.com for rentals
8. HATFIELD-McCOY TRAIL
HMT is probably one of the most famous ATV riding areas in the country. The 600-mile system already encompasses a large portion of southwest Virginia, and there are plans to expand to include 2000 miles of trails. You can ride from town to town, see different views for a month exploring the Hatfield-McCoy Trails. There are trails for all skill levels and vehicle types. The latest system to open is the Ivy Branch Trail, which caters to the larger UTVs, Jeeps and trucks.
Directions: From Charleston, you can access the eight trail systems by taking Route 119 and 52 South.
Contact: (800) 592-2217, www.trails heaven.com
9. CUMBERLAND MOUNTAIN TRAILS
Oliver Springs/Huntsville/Pioneer, Tennessee
This ATV paradise is located in the northeast part of the state and is mostly state-run. Even better, there are three major ATV resorts within the region. At the southern end of the mountain range near Knoxville is Windrock Park in Oliver Springs. The most well-known park, Brimstone Recreation, is closest to the Kentucky border. If you head 10 miles west, you can find the Ride Royal Blue Resort to stage out of. Not including the trails within each park, there are over 600 miles of wooded trails to explore with an ATV or UTV.
Directions: To get to Ride Royal Blue from I-75, exit 144. Turn right at the stop sign and go four miles to the resort
Contact: www.rideroyalblue.com, (423) 784-9445; www.brimstone
recreation.com, (800) BRIMSTONE; www.windrockpark.com, (865) 435-1251.
10. JACKSONVILLE, TEXAS
If you’re looking for serious mud riding, then you’ll need to head to the home of the annual High Lifter ATV Mud Nationals: Mud Creek Off-Road Park in Jacksonville, Texas. The park has more than 3700 acres of varied terrain, from rolling hills and woods with small creeks to some bottomless mudholes. Another nearby option is the 2000-acre River Run Park. Both hold huge mud events and have open riding year round. For a little more taste of ATV mud riding, we also recommend High Lifter Off-Road Park in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Directions: To get to Mud Creek take 79 west to Myrtle Drive and River Run is at 2001 CR 3315 in Jacksonville, Texas
Contact: www.highlifter.com, www.mudcreekoffroadpark.com, www.riverrunpark.com