After you bought or rented enough quads and ATV helmets for every member of your family or for every friend, it’s time to head out and ride on some trails. Not every state permits ATVs to run on public roads and not everybody lives on a farm with plenty of space around, so your only option is to find some trails near your location in order to enjoy an outdoor adventure.
Off-road vehicle dealers and ATV clubs are always asked this question, especially by people who just bought for the first time their first ATV: “Where can I go and ride my quad?”. Many times, ATV dealers are too busy and get so caught up in paperwork that they forget to give their customers this basic information.
Therefore, let’s go over some information sources from where you can learn about fun and scenic ATV trails, specially designed to offer you great views and experiences. These include forest roads, private parks and signed trail systems that feature car parking at their ends.
Websites and apps
As almost everybody owns a smartphone, exploring new places has never been easier. As long as you have an Internet connection and GPS installed on your device, you can access various maps to follow trails and to see where you are in real time. Many ATVs feature smartphone holders so that you can keep your hands on the controls and only glance at the map.
Stepouside.org is a website containing a lot of information regarding a wide variety of outdoor activities that range from camping, hiking, hunting, and fishing to motorsports and water sports. If you access their site and go to their integrated map you will automatically receive information regarding nearby trails, tracks, and events.
To search for a specific area on the map, all you have to do is to type in the name of your city or its zip code. This will pull all the needed information and present it in a list, similar to a menu to the right of the map. By clicking a certain trail, you find out more information about it, such as its exact address, its status (opened or closed), the type of ownership (private or not), and more.
In addition, there is a section lower on the page where you can see photos of the track or trail so you can get a better idea regarding how it looks like in reality. Satellite photos are not extremely clear most of the times.
Another website where you can find ATV trails is RiderPlanet-USA.com. On this site, you can find information that is displayed for each state. You can find all types of destinations, both public and private and you can access these trails not only with quads but also with SUVs, trucks or dirt bikes.
Access the site, then the state you are in or the state you wish to learn more about and you’ll see the available riding spots, tracks, parks or trails. Each place is described in detail so that you know exactly where it is, if it’s opened or closed, what is its difficulty level, etc.
In addition, riders who have already been on a certain trail can then upload videos and photos to share their experience and help you decide whether it’s worth it or not. The website also provides the rules and regulations that apply to each and every ATV trail so that you don’t unknowingly break the law. The ATV Club called Woodtick Wheelers uses this website (RiderPlanet-USA.com) to organize group rides.
Ridecommand.polaris.com is another website created by the Polaris company. Here you can find many ATV trails that are signed, legal routes and various tracks across the United States, in State and National Forests.
In order to gain access to this information you first have to create a free account, log in and then click on the map. Then, you just zoom in toward the area you are interested in and you will see all the trails and routes you could take. In addition, you can also see what kind of vehicle is allowed on every off-road trail.
On a column in the left, there is a menu listing all the private and public riding events in the area. There you find links that open their websites for additional information.
Ride Command App
Also owned by Polaris company, the Ride Command app is perfect for people who always have their smartphone with them. This app is specially designed to show off-road trails that can be tackled by ATVs, dirt bikes, or snowmobiles. All you need to do is to activate the GPS of your device and have an Internet connection.
This app is currently used by over half a million adventurers and it is similar to the Ride Command website mentioned earlier. However, this app also pinpoints your location in real time, to facilitate navigation and orientation. You can also install it on other smart devices, like tablets. You can download this app from the App Store and from Google Play as well.
The software is intuitive and interactive. Start the app before going on the trail and name, track and even save your routes. In addition, you can also see on your map places of interest such as food and fuel locations, quad dealers and places where you can sleep. Moreover, you can initiate a Group Ride. This will not only show your position on the map, but also the locations of your friends throughout the ride.
The United States Forest Service
The USFS (United States Forest Service) is responsible for managing more than 150 National Forests. Many forest roads are open to road legal vehicles and to off-road vehicles. The trail systems that are 50 inches wide or less and are signed can be accessed by ATVs or SXSs.
An MVUM (Motorized Vehicle Use Map) is also printed by National Forests. On this map, you can identify any of these trails and roads and you can acquire it at Forest Service Offices. If you prefer a digital version, you can search for the Forest Service Interactive Travel Map, which is online software that gives you the same information.
The BLM (Bureau of Land Management) manages many public lands in the westerns states. Those lands also have zones open to ATVs, on mountain terrain and desert dunes. To learn more about these trails, visit the nearest BLM office.
Some states place the natural Resource or Game & Fish Departments in charge of maintaining and repairing trail systems as long as they are on public land. Only in Minnesota, there are more than 70 trails like this that are open to the public. Their management is done in collaboration with ATV clubs.
Last but not least, another source of information regarding the greatest ATV trails are the ATV clubs. Don’t hesitate to join one and they will happily answer all your questions. You can find more about ATV clubs by searching them online or by asking Powersports dealers in your area about them.
Always be aware of all the rules and regulations that apply in the area that you are riding. Also, carry a battery power bank with you, in case your phone needs recharging on the go.