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101 Places to Wheel Before You Die - East/Southeast

Posted in Project Vehicles on April 1, 2008
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Beasley Knob OHV Trail System
Where it is: Location: Blairsville, Georgia
Length: 10.6 miles
Time: Multi-day
Experience level: The U.S. Forest Service says most of the trails are rated difficult to most difficult. They say that Beasley Knob is recommended for experienced drivers only.
Points of interest: The park has 8 interconnecting trails with names like: Blue Rock Mountain, Bridge Gap, Nelson Cove, Nicholson Gap and Roundtop. Obstacles have names like The Wall and Rattlesnake Hill. The park encompasses 2800 acres.
What you need: Five dollars a day gets you into Beasley Knob. The park is closed from the first Monday in January to the middle of March. Bolted, studded or chained tires are not allowed.
Information: Blue Ridge District, 706/745-6928, www.fs.fed.us/conf/rec/ohv/beasley.shtml
---Ken Brubaker

Gray Rock ORV Park
Location: Mount Olive, Alabama
Size: n/a
Time: Multi-day
Experience level: Trails range from "leaf looker" to "rock hopper."
Points of interest: Bents and Dents, Big Egg, Bowl Hole, Box-O-Possum Pass, Brown's Crack, Bump-n-Grind, Cable Hill, Flat Tire Flume, Rock Holler, Snot Rock.
What you need: Gray Rock is owned by people who have full-time jobs so the park is open for special events or by reservation only. Fees are dependent on the specific event or reservation. Camping is available for $5 per night.
Information: 205/841-5337, www.grayrockorv.com
---Ken Brubaker

Gulches ORV Park
Location: Laurens County, South Carolina
Size: 80 acres
Time: Multi-day
Experience level: Easy to most difficult
Points of interest: Called the Disneyland for 4x4s, Gulches offers mud, sand, hill climbs, off-camber switchbacks and rock gardens. Trails are clearly marked with the degree of difficulty.
What you need: One-time registration/membership fee of $5, $20 per day to ride, children under 12 are free. Camping is available on-grounds for a fee. An air compressor and mig welder are also available on-site.
Information: 864/449-5698, www.gulchesorvpark.com
---Ken Brubaker

North and South Core Banks
Location: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Length: North Core Banks, approximately 17 miles, South Core Banks, approximately 21 miles
Time: Hours, days, whatever. Time becomes irrelevant when you hit the sand.
Experience level: Easy
Points of interest: The North and South Core Banks are part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore, which is a string of low, sand barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. The North Core Banks (Portsmouth Island) and the South Core Banks (Great Island) are open to beach driving and vehicles are transported to the island via NPS-authorized vehicle ferries. No paved roads exist on these islands. Miles of barren beach are there to explore and history dots the area. For instance, the South Core Banks has the Cape Lookout Lighthouse and ruins of old World War II gun emplacements. Cabins are available for rent on each island and primitive camping is allowed for up to 14 consecutive days.
What you need: It costs about $90 round trip to get a fullsize 4x4 to the North Core Banks and about $75 to the South Core Banks. A stock four-wheel-drive vehicle is capable of traversing the sand as long as the tires are aired-down.
Information: North Core Banks; Morris Marina Ferry Service 877/956-6568, 252/225-4261, www.portsmouthislandfishing.com, South Core Banks; Davis Shore Ferry Service, 252/729-3474, www.davisferry.com.
---Ken Brubaker

Ocala National Forest
Location: Salt Springs, Florida, is a good place to start
Size: 607 square miles
Time: Hours to days
Experience level: Easy to difficult
Points of interest: Ocala is the oldest national forest east of the Mississippi and the southernmost national forest. Sand pine trees and palmettos share space with over 600 natural lakes and ponds. There is a high concentration of black bear and many alligators, deer and wild boar.
What you need: There are many primitive roads in the park accessible to off-highway vehicles. These trails often contain standing water and after heavy rain these pools can be deep. Hence, checking the depth before crossing is mandatory. A stock vehicle can traverse many of the roads in the park as long as the driver carefully monitors the road conditions. It doesn't hurt to have recovery equipment like a winch, just in case.
Information: www.fs.fed.us/r8/florida/
---Ken Brubaker

Outer Banks
Location: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Length: Approximately 100 miles from the Virginia state line to the south tip of Ocracoke Island.
Time: Days
Experience level: Easy
Points of interest: Similar to the North and South Core Banks, but all of this area, with the exception of Ocracoke Island, is accessible without utilizing a ferry. Near population centers the beach is closed to vehicles during peak tourist season. The four-wheel-drive-only town of Carova Beach exists near the Virginia state line and wild horses roam north of Corolla. Old shipwrecks are often found protruding from the sand.
What you need: A four-wheel-drive vehicle with aired-down tires.
Information: www.outerbanks.org
---Ken Brubaker

Rausch Creek, PA
Where it is: Northeast of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
The Wheeling Experience: Rausch Creek Off-Road Park near Joliett is a private recreation area that has been established with an extensive trail system. This scenic wooded area is criss-crossed with interesting trails for all skill levels. The routes are well marked with trail numbers and level of difficulty. You'll find rocky trails strewn with boulders and buried ledges, and a mix of loamy soil, along with mud in some areas of the playground. Admission to the park also includes adequate trailer parking, primitive camping privileges, and firewood for campfires. Trail guides are also available for a fee.
Points of Interest: For more extreme challenge head to the Keystone Krawl area, a challenging hillside with some good rock ledges and loose dirt.
What You Need: Minimum group size for access to the park is two vehicles. Any 4WD is suitable for the area and you can traverse the signed (by difficulty) trails based on your vehicle capability and driving prowess.
Contact info: Fee permits required for access. More info can be found at: www.rauschcreekoffroadpark.com
---Jay Kopycinski

Red Creek ORV Park
Location: Perkinston, Mississippi
Size: 1,200
Time: Couple of days or so
Experience level: Moderate to advanced
Points of interest: Alligator Alley, Coyote Trail, The Donut Hole and Twin Ponds. The park boasts a mud pit, sand pit and lots of trails. They have several events throughout the year including a Memorial Day event, 4th of July event, Halloween event and their biggest event, Mudfest, over Labor Day weekend.
What you need: The fee is $30 to enter the park and this includes the vehicle, driver and one passenger. It's $5 per passenger per day. There are also a number of special weekend and multi-day rates and such. Camping is available for $5 per person per night and children under 12 years of age are free. The park is open weekends and by reservation during the week. Red Creek also offers cabin rentals and a Snack Shack where food and beverages are available.
Information: 601/945-5055, www.redcreekoffroad.com
---Ken Brubaker

River Rock Off Road Park
Location: Milledgeville, Georgia
Size: n/a
Time: n/a
Experience level: Beginner to advanced
Points of interest: River Rock hosts a lot of private club trail outings and they have several weekends where the public is invited to 'wheel.
What you need: River Rock does all of its reservations via e-mail. They have a campground that offers primitive camping as well as RV sites with full hookups. They also have a cabin for rent.
Information: www.riverrockorv.com
---Ken Brubaker

Rocky Mountain Terrain Park
Location: South Carthage, Maine
Size: 700 acres
Time: Hours or days
Experience level: Beginner to advanced
Points of interest: The park features deep and shallow mud pits, a rock crawling course and miles of forest trails.
What you need: A weekend package that covers entrance to the park for Saturday and Sunday costs $50. This package includes camping for Friday and Saturday nights. Call ahead for open weekends
Information: 207/272-8012, www.rmtp.us
---Ken Brubaker

Upper Tellico OHV Area, NC/TN
Where it is: Near the North Carolina / Tennessee state line
The Wheeling Experience: The Upper Tellico OHV Area is located in the Nantahala National Forest and supports an extensive trail system for off-road vehicles. The trails are strewn with rocks and boulders with some trees to dodge thrown in. The wooded area is very scenic and includes some hilly terrain as well.
Points of Interest: Interesting trail obstacles include Gaurdrail, Helicopter Pad, and Lower 2 trail. Each is a climb with its own unique challenges. You'll get some off-camber, some rock ledges, and some muddy boulder crawling.
What You Need: Most any mildly modified 4WD can have fun on the Tellico trails. Beefier rigs can step it up on the harder trails and when it's rainy and wet all the trail ratings seems to creep up a notch over their dry day ratings. You'll also find several creek and water crossings in the area as well.
Contact info: Private campgrounds and lodging are available near the OHV area.There is a $5 entrance fee and Tellico may be closed during winter months. More info can be found at: http://www.cs.unca.edu/nfsnc/
---Jay Kopycinski

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