If you enjoy off-road motorcycles and riding on rugged trails, the United States offers thousands of miles of open land and private parks for you to fully indulge in. From the deserts of California to the mountains of Tennessee, there are a variety of trails suitable for off-roading adventures.

Before we delve into the Top 10 trails, let’s first consider the preparations, safety measures, and other important points.

Safety is a paramount aspect of off-road riding. Off-roading entails encountering mud, sandy terrain, snow, and rocks throughout the ride, so caution is crucial.

In the United States, not all roads are open for off-roading. It’s essential to be aware of relevant laws and regulations and to find suitable locations for your chosen activity. In this article, off-roading refers to Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs), including ATVs, UTVs, and off-road motorcycles.

Safety Measures:

  • You must wear safety gear (helmet, gloves, goggles, and other protective gear).
  • High-top boots can protect your lower legs from debris.
  • Appropriate riding attire or a full riding jacket with protective features and abrasion resistance can safeguard you from injuries in case of unexpected collisions with obstacles like tree branches.
  • It’s highly recommended to wear a neck protection device during off-road riding.
  • Basic replacement parts and auxiliary tools can prevent getting stranded. If unsure about which tools to bring, disassemble your motorcycle to a reasonable extent and pack the tools you used in this process before setting off.
  • When riding alone, carrying a GPS is advisable, and inform family or friends about your whereabouts.
  • Ride only on permitted trails and be mindful of your surroundings.
  • Avoid riding under the influence of alcohol.
  • Consider hikers and horseback riders. Horses can become startled and harm their riders when they see an unfamiliar object moving rapidly.
  • Control your speed, especially during turns. Constant speeding and high-speed downhill riding are not suitable.
  • Adhere to vehicle regulations. Children under 8 years old should not operate ATVs or motorcycles, and riders under 16 must be supervised by an adult aged 18 or older.
  • Unless a vehicle is designed for passengers, it’s not allowed to have passengers on ATVs.
  • All vehicles must be registered and permitted.

Remember: You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of those around you.

1. Utah – The Paiute ATV Trail:

Over 2,000 miles of trails form the Paiute ATV Trail in central Utah, making it an unmissable destination for avid off-road motorcycle enthusiasts. How long is the main trail? The primary route, extending nearly 300 miles (480 kilometers), spans across four counties in Utah and would take almost 25 hours to complete. The Paiute Trail stands as the largest off-road trail system in the United States. With its combination of rocky paths, lakes, forests, and diverse wildlife, you’ll truly understand how amazing it is once you experience it firsthand.

The perfect time is approaching! The best time to explore it is from August to October. Given its extensive scope, you might consider spending several days, or even weeks, there to fully embrace the adventure.

2. Utah – Moab:

Surrounding Moab are hundreds of OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) trails, making it an ideal destination for off-road riding. The area features a wide range of red rock trails, canyons, and national parks, providing not only thrilling riding challenges but also incredible scenery that’s hard to match.

3. Colorado – Taylor Park:

Taylor Park in Colorado boasts the finest ATV, UTV, off-road motorcycle, and Jeep trails in the state. With its expansive mountain playground and numerous ever-changing trails, even the most devoted off-road enthusiasts would willingly spend days or even weeks to experience it all.

In addition to the off-roading opportunities, the park offers hiking, fishing, and camping options, along with incredible scenery that’s hard to match. Whether you’re exploring the trails on a vehicle or engaging in other outdoor activities, Taylor Park provides a diverse and breathtaking experience that captures the essence of Colorado’s natural beauty.

4. California – Imperial Sand Dunes (Glamis):

Glamis, also known as the Imperial Sand Dunes, is renowned for its sprawling miles of sand dunes. Not only is it the largest sand dune area in California, but it’s also the largest OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) recreation area in the United States! Spanning 40 miles in length and 5 miles in width, these dunes can reach heights of up to 300 feet (91 meters). It’s an ideal playground for off-road motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, and more. If you’re an adventure enthusiast, Glamis is the place you’ve been dreaming of!

5. Tennessee – Windrock Park:

Windrock Park boasts over 300 miles of OHV trails across more than 72,000 acres, making it a dream destination for every off-road enthusiast. This park stands as the largest privately-owned riding area in the United States, offering trails suitable for riders of all levels. It accommodates a wide range of off-road vehicles, including ATVs, Side-by-Sides (SxS), off-road motorcycles, Jeeps, mountain bikes, and trucks.

With trails ranging from easy to challenging and terrain that varies from gravel roads to extreme mountainous terrain, Windrock Park provides an unparalleled experience. Its extensive offerings cater to all types of riders and vehicles, creating a haven for off-road adventure in the heart of Tennessee.

6. Ohio – Wayne National Forest:

It’s surprising that the often overlooked state of Ohio has its own off-road haven. Wayne National Forest boasts four distinct trail systems, making it the largest OHV trail system in Ohio. With 145 miles of off-road riding trails, this destination offers an ideal escape for off-road enthusiasts.

However, it’s worth noting that the trails may not be wide enough for UTVs exceeding 50 inches (1.2 meters) in width, and there are no plans to widen them according to the management. This makes Wayne National Forest a perfect choice for off-road motorcycle or mountain bike riders who prefer to have their own path and avoid sharing it with other off-road vehicles.

Wayne National Forest provides an opportunity for riders to immerse themselves in Ohio’s natural beauty while enjoying off-road adventures in a less crowded and serene environment.

7. Michigan – Ogemaw Sport and Trail:

Ogemaw Sport and Trail Center in Michigan is a hub for off-road motorcycle racing and ATV camping. The center offers intermediate, advanced, and kids’ tracks, making it a suitable destination for riders of all ages and abilities. The tracks feature various obstacles, and the kids’ track is exclusively for children under 12 years old. In addition to the three tracks, there are over 120 acres of private trails, offering a variety of difficulty levels for activities like trail riding and freestyle jumping. The terrain includes deep sand, mud, and rocky sections.

8. Florida – Croom Motorcycle Area at Withlacoochee State Forest:

Within the 2,600-acre Croom Motorcycle Recreation Area in central Florida, you can discover miles of sandy and single-track trails. This area is open for business seven days a week and offers designated training zones and beginner areas, making it a great destination for family outings and riders of all skill levels.

9. Texas – Red River Motorcycle Trails:

The Red River Motorcycle Park is a place to showcase your skills. This 2,500-acre all-terrain vehicle and motorcycle park offers a wide range of trails, from moderate to extremely challenging. It features sections with clay, sand, mud, and rocky terrain, providing a variety of challenges. Riding here will surely put your abilities to the test.

The park operates only on weekends, and weekday riding requires reservations with notifications sent within 24 hours. With its diverse trails and terrains, the Red River Motorcycle Park offers an exciting destination for off-road enthusiasts looking for a thrilling and varied riding experience.

10. West Virginia Hatfield-McCoy Trails

The Hatfield-McCoy Trail system, also known as “Trails Heaven,” is one of the most famous OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) riding routes in the United States. With over 600 miles of professionally designed trails, it caters to almost any rider, from scenic mountain routes to rugged paths through the woods. Open year-round, this area features thousands of OHV trails and parks, making it perfect for off-road motorcycle and mountain biking enthusiasts.

Many of the parks and trails mentioned above are also well-suited for other outdoor recreational activities such as fishing, camping, hiking, and more. If you don’t have your own ATV or equipment, rentals are often available. For those interested in longer stays, many hotels offer extended camping and cabin rental options. Additionally, these off-road riding destinations host festive events and trail activities throughout the year, so doing some research before heading out might lead to extra enjoyment.

However, while passion and challenge are a part of it, encountering obstacles during off-road journeys is another aspect. We’ve prepared 11 off-road tips for you, which experienced drivers can overlook, but it wouldn’t hurt to review them before setting out.

1)Be Prepared

This might sound like overkill, but don’t underestimate what being stuck in the middle of a forest or desert could entail. It’s possible that your phone might not receive any signal when you encounter difficulties, leaving you to rely on your own resources. Preparations include carrying tools, spare parts, extra fuel, a tire repair kit, etc. Over-preparing is always better than being underprepared, and you’ll be surprised by how much the extra fuel you carry can help other riders you might encounter during your journey.

2)Adjust the Clutch Lever for Two-Finger Operation

Off-roading requires coordinated control of the throttle and clutch. To simplify clutch control, especially if you’ll be standing on the footpegs most of the time, learn to operate the clutch lever using only your middle and index fingers. This allows you to modulate the clutch without changing your grip strength, leading to quicker and smoother clutch response. Beyond simple on/off lever operation, it aids in achieving finer control, particularly important during low-speed maneuvers and when tackling challenging obstacles.

3)Accelerate and Lean Back in Sand and Mud When riding a regular bicycle, you might slow down for safety reasons. However, on a lightweight and agile off-road motorcycle, maintaining a certain speed can actually provide stability. The gyroscopic forces of the tires will help keep you upright, and the bike’s momentum will carry you over rough terrain like deep sand. Leaning back is important to apply traction and power to the rear wheel, while also reducing weight on the front, allowing the vehicle to maneuver and clear obstacles it might otherwise collide with.

4)Accelerate and Lean Back in Sand and Mud

If you’re accustomed to street riding, this technique might go against your intuition. However, in off-road situations, leaning at an angle becomes your ally. You need to push the motorcycle down to one side as much as possible while keeping your body upright over it. This effectively utilizes the knobby tread on off-road tires, allowing you to control the slide and maintain a fun and enjoyable off-road riding experience. This technique optimizes your interaction with the terrain and makes off-road riding a pleasure.

5)Utilize Brakes Wisely

The front brake of an off-road vehicle is often used frequently on straight paths, so it’s important to slow down before entering a turn. Control your speed, then use the momentum to navigate the turn. Alternatively, take advantage of favorable terrain to alter your speed or direction instead of relying solely on the brakes.

6)Look Where You Want to Go, Not Where You Don’t

This might seem obvious, but it becomes even more crucial in off-road riding. You might instinctively want to focus on the immediate terrain ahead to avoid sudden rocks or cliffs and choose the best line to navigate incoming obstacles. Just like on the road, consciously force yourself to look forward and concentrate on where you want to go rather than fixating on the cow you don’t want to hit or the boulder you want to avoid or the cliff you don’t want to get close to. Your body will follow your head, and the motorcycle follows the same principle. Practice this repeatedly until it becomes second nature.

7)Stand on the Footpegs

You’re absolutely right. For experienced off-roaders, standing might seem like a basic technique, but many street riders are surprised to find that standing significantly lowers their center of gravity. In this position, most of your body weight is distributed over your feet rather than the seat. By gripping the bike’s tank with your lower legs and knees, you maintain a slight bend in your legs, effectively creating a natural suspension system. This technique is particularly important for absorbing impacts and maintaining stability on uneven terrain. Standing on the footpegs and using your legs as shock absorbers is a fundamental skill that enhances control and comfort when off-road riding.

8)Shift Weight to the Opposite Side When Turning

Planning to make a right turn? Push down on the footpeg on the opposite side (left side), and shift your weight to the left. This action naturally counterbalances the bike’s lean towards the inside of the turn. Applying more weight to the opposite side helps maintain balance, improves traction, and keeps the rider more upright relative to the ground. This technique enhances your ability to control the bike while turning on uneven terrain.

9)Shift Forward When Taking Sharp Turns

Contrary to point 3, when taking sharp turns, you’ll want to shift your weight as much as possible towards the front wheel. More weight translates to more traction, which in turn provides greater cornering speed. Shifting your weight forward also facilitates easier sliding during turns. This technique is especially useful for navigating tight turns on off-road trails, allowing you to maintain control while effectively negotiating the terrain.

10)Guide Those Behind You

When riding in a group, it’s your responsibility to alert riders behind you about obstacles and ensure they don’t get lost or separated from the group. If everyone adheres to this rule, each rider benefits from the signals of the person ahead, providing ample time for response. Group communication and awareness contribute to a safer and more enjoyable off-road riding experience for everyone involved.

11)Signal Group Size

When encountering riders coming from the opposite direction, it’s crucial to let them know how many bikes are behind you. This informs them when it’s safe to resume accelerating. The lead rider should raise their left hand to signal the number of riders behind, while the last rider should hold up a clenched fist to signal “all clear.” This practice can help prevent accidents by maintaining awareness and communication with other riders on the trail.