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US National Parks - Four-Wheelin' Parks

Posted in Events on July 1, 2006 Comment (0)
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There is nothing better than finding a great place to wheel with your buddies. A place that will challenge you at all levels. All over the U.S., national parks are closing more and more areas to off-road vehicles each year. Unfortunately, most of the time there is nothing we can do about this except find a new place to go. However, throughout the states there are numerous off-road parks purposely dedicated to what we all love to do - wheel. These parks are open and geared for everything from the family weekend getaway to the bash 'em up, beat 'em up hard-core rockcrawling expedition. The main thing we can do to make sure these parks remain open is remember to tread lightly! We picked out a few places we want our readers to check out and experience the fun these OHV-designated areas have to offer.

Badlands Off Road Park
Attica, Indiana
Website: www.badlandsoffroad.com
About: Ever since Troy Myers was a boy, he dreamed of having his own private dirt playground. Troy's father owned and operated a motorcycle shop, so much of Troy's childhood revolved around riding. In 1995, he made his dream come true, purchasing an old gravel quarry in Attica, and Badlands was born. Having ridden in the area as a boy, Troy knew that it would be a great place for riders of all ages and skill levels. As the park grew, Troy and his wife purchased more land. Badlands is well known for offering some of the best trails in the country for beginning to advanced wheeling. The park has also become a trailhead for various off-road events throughout the year.

Acreage: 745 and growing
Number of Trails: Countless entry-level through advanced levels
Restroom Facilities: Yes
Camping Facilities: No, but the Attica Family Campground is located nearby. For reservations, call (765) 762-6189.Admission: $15 per day, $20 for consecutive two-day passes; 13 years of age and under, $10 per day (add $5 per extra day)

The Cliffs Insane Terrain
Marseilles, Illinois
Website: www.thecliffsinsaneterrain.com
About: The Cliffs Insane Terrain has been open since 2004. It offers all levels of wheeling trails, including fields, creek beds, streams, and heavily wooded areas for both four-wheel-drive vehicles and ATVs. The capable park staff is also fully equipped for safety and emergency situations, should the need arise.

Acreage: 350
Number of Trails: 30+ with plans for a rockclimb and bog
Restroom Facilities: Yes
Camping Facilities: No, but campgrounds are 2 miles from the park
Admission: $22 per day per vehicle; $5 for each additional passenger

Coal Creek OHV Area
Oliver Springs, Tennessee
Website: www.coalcreekohv.com
About: The Coal Creek OHV Area is 72,000 acres of off-road fun located in Oliver Springs, Tennessee. Hundreds of off-roaders can be found every weekend enjoying the trails. The trails are open to everyone and just about any type of vehicle. Those with ATVs, motorcycles, Jeeps, buggies, or trucks can enjoy some of the best off-roading in the country. The property is privately owned by the Coal Creek Company. The Windrock ATV Club has a licensing agreement with the Coal Creek Company to manage and maintain the OHV areas on the property. The club does a lot to maintain the OHV areas: It maps and marks each trail and holds monthly work days to ensure the trails are usable and meet environmental standards. The club also provides convenient locations for visitors to purchase the required land use permits to access the area.

Acreage: 72,000
Number of Trails: 160+
Restroom Facilities: Yes
Camping Facilities: Yes, free with park admission
Admission: $15 per person

Gray Rock ORV Park
Mt. Olive, Alabama
Website: www.grayrockorv.com
About: The land surrounding the Gray Rock ORV Park was once private hunting land, but for the past few years, the park has been home to various Superlift 4x4 events as well as the park's own Fall for All events. The trails at this park are ever-changing and range from beginner-level to advanced. Gray Rock is open by reservation or event only.

Acreage: 2,100
Number of Trails: 35+
Restroom Facilities: Yes
Camping Facilities: Yes, $3 per day during events; no charge for reserved events
Admission: Varies depending on event

Hogan's Off-Road Park
Disney, Oklahoma
Website: www.hogansoffroad.com
About: This park is owned and operated by the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) and offers several types of terrain and trail rides. The trails consist of several routes leading through the woods that range from single track trails through trees, muddy swamps, and nasty hillclimbs. Because of three major spillways, this area is well known for its extreme rockcrawling challenges. The land is owned by the GRDA which makes it privately owned; however, it is open for public use. The park is open 24/7.

Acreage: 1,000+
Number of Trails: 75+
Restroom Facilities: Yes
Camping Facilities: Public campgrounds
Admission: Free

Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area
Gilbert, Minnesota
Website: www.dnr.state.mn.us/ohv/iron_range
About: This state-owned park opened in 2002. The park was mined for iron ore up until 1981, which caused dramatic changes in the natural landscape. These changes translate into exciting obstacles and terrain challenges for four-wheeling enthusiasts. The park offers safety training and both indoor and outdoor practice riding facilities for those who ride motorcycles. The trails range from easy (stock vehicles) to difficult, which requires suspension modifications as well as a minimum of 33-inch tires.

Acreage: 1,200+
Number of Trails: 25 miles of varying OHV trails
Restroom Facilities: Yes
Camping Facilities: No
Admission: Must have current Minnesota ORV registration ($30 for three years)

Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area
Lucerne Valley, California
Website: www.blm.gov/ca/barstow/johnson.html
About: Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area is a varied landscape for the off-highway vehicle driver. The area is punctuated by steep red rock mountains, rolling hills, open valleys, dry lake beds, and sandy washes. Elevations range from about 4,600 feet in the Hartwell Hills to about 2,300 feet at Melville Dry Lake. Vegetation consists of creosote scrub, some annual grasses and wild flowers, and, the symbol of the Mojave Desert, the Joshua tree. This area is enormous, with plenty of space for people like us. The number of events held in this area is countless. If you plan on visiting this area, download a map from the website above. An area this vast is easy to get lost in.

Acreage: 800,000+
Number of Trails: Thousands. With over 100 off-road clubs holding events throughout this area each year, there is no problem finding a place to wheel.
Restroom Facilities: Yes
Camping Facilities: Yes
Admission: Free

Paragon Adventure Park
Hazleton, Pennsylvania
Website: www.paragonap.com
About: Paragon AP is an extremely well-known four-wheel-drive park located just outside Hazelton, Pennsylvania. The park offers off-road adventures for those with ATVs, off-road motorbikes, SUVs, 4x4s, and mountain bikes. Paragon Park boasts various types of terrain and trails including beginner as well as technical, boulder-strewn trails; and extreme rockcrawling, challenging single track, and enduro trails. Paragon Park also features dealership customer appreciation days, corporate teambuilding seminars, new vehicle introductions, as well as many other special events.

Acreage: 15,000
Number of Trails: 130+
Restroom Facilities: Yes
Camping Facilities: Yes, $5 per night
Admission: One-day pass, $35 per vehicle which includes driver

Rausch Creek Off-Road Park
Joliett, Pennsylvania
Website: www.rauschcreekoffroadpark.org
About: Rausch Creek Off-Road Park is a non-profit organization devoted to providing a fun, legal place for 4x4 off-road clubs and organizations to go wheeling. The park consists of 1,700 acres of easy, intermediate, and difficult trails. Rocks, bowls, hills, the glacial Rock Creek, club-friendly trails, and free, on-site camping make Rausch Creek a unique 4x4 destination. The park is not open to quads or bikes; however, there is a Rausch Creek MX park close by for all your ATV and motorcycle needs.

Acreage: 1,700
Number of Trails: 35+
Restroom Facilities: Yes
Camping Facilities: Yes, free with park admission
Admission: All visitors over 16 must purchase a $10 yearly membership. With membership, the daily fee is $25 per vehicle, which includes the driver only. Each additional passenger over the age of 16 is $5 per day. Visitors under age 16 are free. The park offers multiple-day discounts to large parties.

Rockport Off Road Park
Rockport, Illinois
Website: www.rorp.com
About: Tom and Debbie Wombles are the park managers of the Rockport Off Road Park, which has been open since 2003. Tom is also the founder of the Two Rivers Jeep Club, which calls this park home. The park holds such events as the RRock Rockcrawl Challenge, the National Off-Road Shop Team Challenge, 4x4 Blast events, and the SheRock competition for women rockcrawlers which is held to support the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The park also provides scheduled, guided four-wheel-drive runs at beginner through advanced levels.

Acreage: 1,600 and growing
Number of Trails: 40+
Restroom Facilities: Yes
Camping Facilities: No
Admission: $20 per day per vehicle and two passengers. Each additional passenger is $5 per day. Children under age 14 are free.

Shiloh Ridge Off-Road Park
Alto, Texas
Website: www.shilohridge.com
About: The park has been open since 1998 and run by the same family that has owned the property for over 50 years. Since opening, the land has been developed into a great place for four-wheeling and ATV riding. With over a dozen events planned for 2006, it's no wonder Shiloh Ridge is gaining in popularity quickly. A few of the popular obstacles are The Bottom, Rock Garden, and The Hills. Each poses its own unique level of difficulty and terrain challenges all suited for the more advanced driver.

Acreage: 1,200
Number of Trails: 50+
Restroom Facilities: Yes, with showers
Camping Facilities: Yes, with water, $10 per night; full hookups, $15 per night
Admission: $10 per vehicle, $5 per person over 12, under 12 free; special rates for certain park-sponsored events

Superlift Off-Road Vehicle Park
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Website: www.orvpark.com
About: For over two decades, Hot Springs has been a favorite destination for four-wheelers. During the late '70s, enthusiasts starting wheeling in the backcountry roads and throughout the multitude of logging roads and powerline right-of-ways. Over the years, this trail system grew into the present-day off-road park. In 1999, the landowners closed access to this area and put the property up for sale. This didn't sit well with enthusiasts, so in 2001 they grouped together with local conservationists and led an effort to purchase the property with the intent of keeping the trails open and preserving the land's beauty. This acreage contains the majority of the original trail system, including famous obstacles like Concrete Hill, Quicksand Hill, and the Ravine. New trails and obstacles, with varying degrees of difficulty, are continuously being built on every type of terrain imaginable - hillclimbs, mud pits, rock gardens, and water crossings. All trails are mapped and posted with difficulty ratings so visitors will always know their location in the park and what they can expect terrain-wise.

Acreage: 1,400
Number of Trails: 75+
Restroom Facilities: Yes
Camping Facilities: Yes
Admission: $25 per day per vehicle with up to four passengers. Park memberships are also available.

Tuttle Creek ORV area
Randolph, Kansas
Website: www.kdwp.state.ks.us
About: Tuttle Creek ORV Area is located 2 miles southeast of Randolph, Kansas, with access from Riley County Road 893. This 310-acre park is open to all motorized and non-motorized vehicles. Miles of trails with steep climbs, sharp turns, and rugged terrain await the off-road enthusiast. This is a day-use-only recreation area. No camping or overnight use is permitted. The nearest campground is Fancy Creek State Park, 4 miles to the north.

Acreage: 300+
Number of Trails: 20+ in the ORV area
Restroom Facilities: Yes
Camping Facilities: No
Admission: Free

The Wheelin' Ranch
Nocona, Texas
Website: www.thewheelinranch.com
About: The Wheelin' Ranch is owned and operated by Tim McGill. The park has been built strictly for four-wheel driving and is not conducive to ATV or dirt bike riding. Tim opens this land on the weekends for anyone interested in wheeling and having a good time. The first sets of trails in the ranch were built to be extremely difficult since Tim's and his buddies' custom rigs were set up to take on more challenging trails. Today, the park offers a complete network of trails featuring easy to moderate levels as well.

Acreage: 300+
Number of Trails: 85
Restroom Facilities: Yes
Camping Facilities: Yes, $10 per night
Admission: $20 per day, $5 per passenger

If you know of a great destination like any of the parks we mentioned, please drop us an e-mail and let us know. Tell us why you feel it should be included, some information about the park, and a website link or contact information. Please send e-mails to: jordan.may@primedia.com.

Additional trail and park information was provided by Trails.com. Trails.com is a great resource for location hiking, fishing, camping, four-wheel driving destinations, and more. The comprehensive website offers topographic maps as well as complete trail guides. For more information, visit: www.trails.com.

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