A wise man once said; "'Tis a momentous occasion, when in the course of human history a new off-road park is created." What? You never heard that one? OK, so we made it up. Nonetheless, you can't argue that it is a momentous occasion when a brand-spankin'-new off-road park is opened to the 'wheeling public-one dedicated solely to our four-wheel enjoyment. With that said, it's time to party, because there's a new player in the off-road park world. It's called the Kentucky Outback Adventure Park, and we recently had the chance to explore this beautiful 800-acre park during a special preseason open house that attracted more than 175 vehicles.
The architects of the park are brothers Roy and Al Carl. Roy is president of Performance Off-Road (www.por4x4.com) in Alexandria, Kentucky. Performance Off-Road is an authorized dealer for more than 200 different manufacturers, and it boasts a staff with over 50 years of combined experience. Al is the marketing and sales director of the Jeep accessory site (xtremeterrain.com) and the truck accessory site (truckstuff4sale.com). These two brothers made the decision to open an off-road park back in 2000, and they spent the next four years hunting for the right location. During their search they personally inspected more than 50 locations before they found the site they eventually purchased. Roy says; "It really spoke to us with its raw beauty and rough terrain, which we felt was ideal." The park opened in September 2004.
The park is located near Vanceburg, Kentucky, in Lewis County. If you don't know where Vanceburg is, you're not alone. Quite simply, the park is about two hours southeast of Cincinnati, or about the same distance northeast of Lexington. This mountainous area, known as the Knobs, is dotted by a number of old tobacco farms, some of which sport some of the coolest abandoned old cars and trucks you'll ever see sitting in tall grass. You'll also see towns with names like Plummers Landing, Muses Mills, and our personal favorite, Head of Grassy. The area was settled in the 1770s and Lewis County was formed in 1807. When you get deep in the hills, you'll notice not much has changed since then-the terrain looks virtually untouched. As a matter of fact, the county population in 2000 was 14,092 in a land area of 484.49 square miles, which averages out to only 29.1 people per square mile. Not many of those 29.1 people live near the Kentucky Outback Adventure Park.
From a logistical perspective, the park offers a huge parking lot with port-a-johns just inside the gate, and there's primitive camping available on the property. Camping and motels can be found in nearby Maysville and Morehead. The Kinniconick Volunteer Fire Department and ambulance is only 3.5 miles away. The park is in its infancy, and future plans include a building that will house restrooms and showers as well as a small auto parts shop, camping sites with electrical hookups, a complete man-made rockcrawling obstacle course, and a specially developed nature trail for wildlife viewing. New trails are being added to the park regularly, and the bulk of them are fullsize-friendly.
Kentucky Outback Adventure Park is very unique in the growing world of off-road parks. Since there are no ATVs or dirt bikes allowed in the park, it's serene and quiet. Its location is more remote than many parks, which helps to create an awesome feeling that you're on an adventure deep in the middle of nowhere as you explore the park's 35 miles of trails. You could say the park's name is truth in advertising.
Following are a sampling of some of the rules of the Kentucky Outback Adventure Park. As you can imagine, the owners of the park had to climb a mountain of red tape before we 'wheelers could explore these Kentucky mountains. With this privilege comes responsibility. To peruse a complete list of rules, visit the Kentucky Outback Adventure Park Web site.
* All vehicles must be registered and insured.
* All drivers must show a valid driver's license and proof of insurance at time of check in.
* No pets.
* No ATV's, dirt bikes, buggies, or sand rails are allowed.
* All entrants must have personal medical insurance.
* No alcohol.
Admission rates and hours of operation
Trail riding is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, and by appointment on weekdays. The park opens at 3 p.m. on Fridays for people to camp, though the trails are not open for riding until the next day. Rates are $20 per day per vehicle (includes driver), $30 for a two-day pass (includes driver), and $5 per passenger per day. Special lower winter rates are available. On-site primitive camping is $7 per person per night.
Log on to www.kyorvpark.com for complete, detailed information about the park or call 859/635-3058 (Performance Off-Road).