6 Best UTV/ATV Off-Road Trails in the US

6 Best UTV/ATV Off-Road Trails in the US

Written by Pierce Bryant
January 29, 2024

Exploring the great outdoors on an ATV or UTV isn't just an activity; it's an experience that connects riders with the rugged beauty and challenging terrains of the American landscape. The United States is home to an extensive array of trails that cater to off-road enthusiasts, each offering unique natural features and varying levels of difficulty to satisfy both beginners and seasoned riders. From the sun-drenched hills of Texas to the soaring elevations of Utah's mountains, these trails provide an unparalleled adventure.

Off-roading in a UTV or ATV brings the thrill of navigating through diverse landscapes, including sprawling deserts, dense forests, and rocky canyons. These vehicles grant easy access to remote areas, inviting riders to discover the solitude and wildness that can only be found far from paved roads and city limits. As riders seek out the best spots across the country for their next excursion, a handful of trails have gained recognition for their exceptional riding experience, scenic vistas, and well-maintained paths.

1. Paiute ATV Trail, Utah

paiute atv trail

The Paiute ATV Trail is lauded for its extensive network and diverse terrain. It offers over 275 miles of main trail loop that travels through the beautiful and rugged landscapes of central Utah. This route is augmented by over 900 additional miles of side trails and forest routes that provide off-road enthusiasts with endless exploration opportunities.

Trail Characteristics:

  • Length: 275-mile loop
  • Additional Trails: 900+ miles
  • Location: Central Utah
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Trail Access Towns: Marysvale, Richfield, Beaver, Fillmore, Salina

With a variety of skill levels catered to, riders can find parts of the trail that are smooth and easy, perfect for families and beginners, as well as more challenging sections for experienced riders. The trail system is designed to be accessible with multiple starting points, but Marysvale, Utah, often serves as a central hub due to its multiple trailheads.

Trail Accessibility:

  • Season: Late spring to late fall (varies by elevation)
  • Permit: Utah OHV permit required
  • Cost: Approximately $30
  • Vehicles: ATVs, UTVs, and approved jeeps

The trail’s design integrates a seamless experience with nature while also providing accessibility to local towns for fuel, food, and lodging. This unique feature allows riders to plan multi-day excursions, taking advantage of both the rural trail system and the nearby amenities. As the Paiute ATV Trail is well-marked and well-maintained, it is recognized as one of the top ATV destinations in America, attracting those who seek adventure amidst Utah's breathtaking scenery.

2. Hatfield-McCoy Trails, West Virginia

hatfield-mccoy atv trails

The Hatfield-McCoy Trails system is a renowned off-road paradise nestled in the rugged terrain of Southern West Virginia. As one of the largest trail systems in the United States, it presents over 1,000 miles of managed trails catering to ATV, UTV, and dirt bike enthusiasts.

Trail Systems:

  • Pinnacle Creek
  • Indian Ridge
  • Warrior
  • Additional systems include Buffalo Mountain, Rockhouse, and Devil Anse.

These trails are open year-round and offer varying levels of difficulty, ensuring riders of all experience levels find a suitable challenge. Visitors can opt for serene rides along forest-lined paths or more rigorous routes offering thrilling climbs and descents.

Amenities & Services:

  • Trailhead facilities
  • Welcome Center
  • Country Roads Visitors Center

Landscape Features:

  • Scenic vistas: Sweeping views of Appalachia.
  • Historical sites: Explore the Hatfield cemetery via the Devil Anse Trail.
  • Natural elements: Encounter Rockhouse Trail's waterfalls and diverse wildlife.

For those preferring an immersive experience, there is a range of lodging options located near the trails, from camping to cabins. The trails also boast a connection with the area's history, following routes relevant to the famous Hatfield-McCoy feud. The system continues to expand, ultimately aiming to traverse nine counties and further intertwine West Virginia's rich history with outdoor adventure.

3. Ocala National Forest, Florida

ocala national forest atv

The Ocala National Forest in Florida offers a diverse range of trails for off-road enthusiasts. Situated in central Florida, it is home to more than 200,000 acres of sand pine scrub and diverse ecosystems, making it a unique destination for UTV/ATV riding.

Trail System:

  • Motorcycle Only: 14 miles
  • ATV/UTV (< 50" in width): 35 miles
  • Mixed Use (including full-size licensed vehicles): 76 miles

One can expect a variety of riding experiences from sandy two-tracks to stretches of forest road, where one can accelerate and enjoy the undulating terrain. The trails cater to riders of all skill levels, from novices to experienced.

Permit Information:

  • 3-day pass: $10 per person
  • 7-day pass: $25 per person
  • Annual pass: $75 per person (valid for one year from month of purchase)

This area, Ocala North OHV Trail System, offers 125 miles of trail, out of which 35 miles are usable by ATVs and UTVs less than 50 inches wide. The Ocala OHV Trail System includes multiple staging areas and linked loops for hours of exploration.

Before setting out, riders must procure an OHV riding permit. They should also note that riders under 16 require adult supervision. When planning a trip to Ocala National Forest for an off-road adventure, one should always check for the latest updates regarding trail status and regulations.

4. Imperial Sand Dunes, California

imperial sand dunes

The Imperial Sand Dunes, also known as Glamis, offer a premier off-roading experience. Stretching across 40 miles in length and 5 miles in width, the area contains about 118,000 acres of dunes open to off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts.


  • Size: 118,000 acres
  • Location: Southeastern California, near the Arizona and Mexico borders
  • Accessibility: Off Highway 78


  • Types of Terrain: Big bowls, rolling hills, and challenging climbs.
  • Suitability: All levels of ATV and UTV riders.

The dunes' unique conditions provide a mixture of opportunities for both novice and seasoned riders. Families can find areas that are more accommodating for casual riding. In contrast, adrenaline seekers can tackle vast, unforgiving dunes and large-scale natural features that test skill and machine limits.


  • Safety Flags: Required on all vehicles
  • Seasonal Closures: In effect for certain areas; check local guidelines

This location is notable not only for its recreational opportunities but also for the stunning vistas it provides. Riders can experience an almost oceanic landscape of sand, punctuated by the occasional sight of the Chocolate Mountains in the distance.

Visitors are encouraged to adhere to all safety regulations and to respect the natural environment. With the requisite preparation, a trip to the Imperial Sand Dunes can be an unforgettable off-road adventure.

5. Moab, Utah

moab utah offroading

Moab is a legendary destination for off-roading. The town offers a diverse array of trails that cater to various skill levels, from beginner-friendly routes to challenging paths for seasoned riders. Below is a snapshot of what this off-road haven has to offer:

  • Terrain: A mixture of slickrock, soft sand, and red dirt.
  • Climate: Generally dry with hot summers and cold winters.
  • Suitability: Welcomes ATVs, UTVs, and other 4x4 vehicles.

Notable Trails in Moab:

  • Fins & Things: A moderately difficult trail known for its slickrock surfaces. Recommended for riders with some experience. For further details, riders can find more information on UTV rides in Moab.
  • Hell's Revenge: Features steep inclines and petrified dunes, offering an adrenaline-filled ride for the adventurous.
  • Moab Rim: Offers panoramic views and a heart-pounding ascent, suitable for confident riders seeking a challenge.

Best Times to Visit:

  • Spring and Fall are the most comfortable seasons due to mild temperatures. In summer, early morning rides are advised to avoid the heat.

Operational Notes:

  • Permits and Fees: Check local regulations as some trails require permits or have access fees.
  • Services: Most trails do not offer services; riders must pack essentials like water and a toolkit.

6. Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area, Kentucky

black mountain atv trails

Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area presents a breathtaking expanse for riders seeking an exceptional off-roading experience. Located in Harlan County, Kentucky, this 7,000-acre park is a surreal playground for ATV and UTV enthusiasts.

Trail Diversity:

  • Easy: Welcoming to novices, these trails are ideal for a leisurely experience.
  • Moderate: For riders with some experience, ready to take on more challenges.
  • Extreme: Only the seasoned adventurers should tackle these rigorous paths.

The area boasts over 150 miles of trails catered to every skill level, ensuring that riders of all experiences have options to explore. The trails wind through the rugged mountain terrain, offering not only an adventure of thrill but also showcasing the natural beauty of Kentucky's landscapes.


  • Trailheads: Two convenient locations.
  • Accommodations: Rentals and RV sites nearby.
  • Store Hours: 8am-4:30pm (Sun-Thurs), 8am-8pm (Fri-Sat).

Visitors to Black Mountain can enjoy the high-flying excitement of an 11 line zipline canopy tour for a change of pace. Whether driving through muddy trails or flying over treetops, adventure-seekers are well catered to at Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area.

For contact information and more in-depth details, interested adventurers can visit the Black Mountain Offroad website or call at 606-837-3205. The opportunity for an unforgettable ride waits amidst Kentucky's storied peaks and valleys.

Choosing the Right Trail for Your Adventure

When planning an off-road adventure, selecting the right trail is crucial to match your experience level and expectations for scenery and facilities. Let's explore how to pinpoint the trail that's just right for you.

Trail Difficulty Levels

Beginner: Look for flat, wide trails with well-defined paths. The Arizona Peace Trail offers nearly 750 miles of trails suitable for those new to off-roading.

Intermediate: Trails with moderate elevation changes and occasional obstacles. They should offer some challenge without being overly technical.

Expert: Seek out trails with steep inclines, varied terrain, and technical obstacles. Environments like Moab, Utah, provide the complexity experienced riders crave.

Scenery and Wildlife

Desert Landscapes: Trails like those in Moab, Utah, are renowned for their iconic red rock trails and desert wildlife.

Forests and Mountains: For lush greenery and alpine settings, trails in the Pacific Northwest offer dense forest canopy and the chance of spotting diverse wildlife.

Water Views: Coastal trails or those near lakes and rivers provide water vistas and the chance to see aquatic wildlife.

Accessibility and Facilities

Parking and Staging Areas: Ensure the trailhead has sufficient parking and space to unload ATVs or side-by-sides.

Rest Stops and Amenities: Trails with amenities such as rest areas and picnic spots are ideal for families and groups.

Proximity to Support Services: Consider trails with nearby access to repair shops, gas stations, and medical facilities, especially for longer or more remote adventures.