Whether rock crawling, overlanding or camping, it’s no secret that we’re BIG fans of taking things off-road. After all, what better activity sums up the love triangle of man, machine, and nature? Recently, we had the pleasure of collaborating with RPM Media Inc. about the top places to wheel along the U.S.-Canadian border. And last year, we highlighted some national and state parks that should be on your off-road radar. That got us thinking about a few more awesome locales, like the upper Midwest and Northeast border states.
We’ve included some destination descriptions, snapshots of the statewide scenery, and a few featured product videos to spark your imagination. Now it’s time to pack up the 4×4 and grab your sense of adventure because the curtain is quickly falling on the lukewarm weather… and these trails, well, you just have to see to believe.
Apostle Islands and Devil’s Lake are two popular destinations for those looking to soak in the grandeur of the Badger State. But with two great lakes along its borders and over 16 million acres of forest, this state has no shortage of outdoor recreation opportunities. And for those stressing over winter—relax! If anyone knows how to do frigid temps, it’s Wisconsin. With over 25,000 miles of snowmobile trails, there’s no stopping the fun. Add these spots to your itinerary.
Arkansaw Cycle Park LLC
This well-groomed 1.25-mile motocross track offers a variety of obstacles great for beginner and advanced riders. Also available is a pee wee track, TT flat track, and an 8-mile hare scramble course. Check their Facebook page for upcoming events and general public-availability.
Richard Bong State Recreation Area
A popular location, this state-managed prairie offers plenty of outdoor activities and about seven miles of ATV trails. Terrain varies from forest to wetland, so variety is definitely on the itinerary. They are open year-round, although it’s recommended to check their page for periodic weather closures.
Washburn County Scenic ATV Tour
If you’re looking for something a little more scenic then consider this tour, which offers 35 points of interest along a 100-mile trail system. That’s a lot of exploring to do! According to Travel Wisconsin, highlights include Lost Lake Swamp, a wetland bridge, and several historical sites. ATVs are available for rent and a campground is located along the trail for you to hang up your gear and catch some rest.
“Michigan boasts four Great Lakes, 11,000 inland lakes, 36,000 miles of rivers and streams, 20.3 million acres of forests, 4 national parks, 103 state parks and recreation areas, one of the world’s top freshwater fisheries, 1,300 miles of designated mountain bike and bicycle trails, 6,500 miles of snowmobile trails, the second highest number of ski areas in the nation, more than 600 campgrounds and an international dark sky park – just for starters,” according to the state’s website.
We’ve already mentioned Silver Lake State Park as the only spot east of Utah to hit some epic sand dunes, but be sure to check out these other hotspots as well.
Bundy Hill Offroad Park
Open to all vehicles except three-wheelers, this former mining area offers a variety of terrain and difficulty levels. From muddy paths to deep water crossings, sandy play areas to steep climbs, Bundy Hill has something for everyone at an affordable price. Camping is available but reservations are recommended because anything this fun fills up quickly.
The Mounds ORV Park
Located in Genesee County, this off-road park welcomes all vehicles and all skill levels, all year, over all kinds of terrain. The Mounds is well-known and popular. And at $10-$15 a day pass for 118-acres of mild-to-wild outdoor recreation, you can see why.
From the Native American earthen mounds at the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park to the natural beauty of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Wayne National Forest, if you’re looking for breathtaking outdoor recreation, you’ll find it in Ohio. With a diverse geography including lake shores, forests, caves, and woodlands, the Buckeye State is sure to keep you busy. Don’t miss these three spots amid all that excitement.
Southington Offroad Park
Situated on 1500+ acres in Garrettsville, Ohio, Southington Offroad Park has a variety of trails for a variety of skill levels. Family-friendly with camping available, this privately-owned park is a great spot to set up your tent or camper and explore. Just plan accordingly because they are only open during select weekends and only for 4WD vehicles.
Battlesburg Motocross Park
A riding park for quad and dirt bike riders, Battlesburg MX has both a main track and pee wee track available. Hours are seasonal and often dependent on the weather, so check availability before visiting.
Perry State Forest
This former coal-mining land is now home to roughly 16 miles of mostly hard-packed trails for ATV use. Rocky trails and elevation changes can be found, providing challenges for all skill levels. Camping is available nearby with direct trail access.
While other tourists are enduring Manhattan traffic and overpriced souvenirs, you can be enjoying the natural splendor of any one of New York’s whopping 215 state parks and historic sites. Don’t miss Adirondack Park—the largest park outside of Alaska. And be sure to check out the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves Park—a billion-year-old cave and the largest marble cave entrance in the east. Add these to your list as well.
Tall Pines ATV Park
Over 70 miles of wood trails and mud bogs located on a family farm in Andover, Tall Pines has something for every level of driver. Passes are available by day or season and on-site food and camping is available at an additional cost. Opening dates vary with the seasons, so be sure to check availability before visiting.
Lewis County ATV Trail System
With over 600 miles of multiple-use trails and a 144-acre play area, Lewis County offers fun for all riding levels as well. A permit (per machine) is required, with proceeds helping to maintain the vast trail system. Download the free mobile app for updated maps and ATV availability.
With 21 state parks spread across this little 9,000+ sq mi state, there’s plenty of outdoor recreation to find. From hiking, biking, and boating, to camping, skiing, and simple sightseeing, you’ll be busier than a termite in a sawmill. Check out Stillwater State Park if you’re visiting with the kids in tow and Burton Island State Park if paddlesports is your bag.
Keep in mind, that there are currently no OHV parks in the state of Vermont and the only trails available for off-roading must be documented by the Vermont Agency of Transportation. Additionally, you’ll need a current state vehicle registration as well as a valid VASA Trail Access Decal affixed to both the front and rear of your ride. Regardless, 4×4 enthusiasts should add the following two items to their to-do list.
Rider Hill Motocross
Built into the side of a hill, this well-maintained 1+ mile long track is managed by the Vermont Motocross Association. Check for availability, as practice revolves around race schedules.
Family owned and operated, NEK Adventures offers scenic tours year-round over 150+ miles of trails. Excellent for beginners and the whole family to join.
“With its towering, majestic mountains and dramatic lakes, New Hampshire is a natural draw for people who like to challenge their bodies and minds out in nature,” says the state’s travel site. Aside from the usual outdoor recreation —of which there is plenty—New Hampshire also boasts a busy winter sport season with ski trails and snowmobile tracks galore.
In our previous piece, we mentioned the state-owned off-road trails to be found at Jericho Mountain State Park. This Ride the Wilds ATV trail system runs over 1000 miles across Coos County and also includes Perry Stream Trails and the Stratford Area. Don’t miss this gem either.
Mountain Mud Run Terrain Park
Mountain Mud offers 63 acres and 12 miles of trails, with varying obstacles for different skill levels. The park is open year-round and hosts nationally recognized competitions. All vehicles are welcome and primitive camping is available on site.
If you’ve made it this far north, it’s safe to assume a little cold weather won’t deter you in your quest for outdoor adventure. From the rocky coast to the stunning mountains, Maine has plenty to offer for those seeking a one-on-one with nature.
We gave Mount Blue State Park a shout-out in our last piece for its year-round access to break-taking scenery—as well as 25 miles of state-maintained ATV forest trails! Don’t miss these other cool spots during your next visit.
All vehicles are welcome to this year-round lodge offering direct access to hundreds of miles of trails that connect to the Aroostook County ATV Trail System. Also available: hiking, mountain climbing, snowmobiling, river rafting, as well as tamer attractions like blueberry picking and maple production tours.
Rocky Mountain Terrain Park
This 700-acre park offers wooded trails with all types of terrain and open to all types of vehicles. On-site food and camping are available, as are membership packages. If you’re staying in the summer, make time for mud tubing and see a concert at the nearby venue.
It’s easy to forget just how large and varied the U.S. is. This list barely scratches the surface of the outdoor recreation and off-road adventure that can be found throughout the Midwest and Northeast border states. What are some of your favorite spots across the region?