5 Incredible ATV Road Trip Destinations

View from a quad bike with woman driving an ATV in front on a sunny day.

You’ve de-winterized your favorite ATV, the weather is getting better and better, and you’ve got a serious case of the itch to get out and ride. But what if your local trails feel a bit hum-drum? Where should you go to have a great time in the dirt? Fear not, adventurer. We have you covered with this list of some of the best ATV destinations in the country.

Whether you’re looking for a great set of trails in your region or a cross-country trek, whether you’re a beginner or an expert, this guide has something for you. All you have to do is gear up and get there.

Moab, Utah

Source | Mitch Nielsen/Unsplash

Moab, Utah

At the top of just about every list of places to go off-roading in the U.S., Moab rightly earns a place on our short list of ATV road trip destinations. Why? Because the whole community is centered around the activity of off-roading, and there are trails that will suit every level of rider imaginable, from absolute greenhorn to the gnarliest of pros. If you go during the right time of year, there are even off-road, 4×4, and ATV events that can add another layer to your adventure.

Moab’s rocky, desert landscape is some of the most beautifully austere country in America, offering a range of sand and rock trails. Some of the key trails to check out in and around Moab include Flat Iron Mesa, Cliff Hanger, Crystal Geyser, Copper Ridge, and, of course, Hell’s Revenge. For more details on the trails and the destination, check out Utah’s tourism site.

Dirt bikes on a sand dune

Source | blmcalifornia/Flickr

Glamis, California

The Imperial Sand Dunes near Brawley, California—world-famous simply as Glamis—is the most popular off-roading destination in Southern California and one of the most epic ATV destinations on earth. The towering dunes and shreddable bowls offer fun and challenge to riders of all skill levels.

Glamis is deep in Southern California (near both the Arizona and Mexico borders), and a trip there will take you through some of California’s most remote and least-known territory. The recreational area is part of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s domain and offers RV and tent camping, as well as riding fun. Check out the official page for more information.

snowy road at the foot of a mountain

Source | Andy/Flickr

Katahdin Lodge, Maine

The trails in the Mount Katahdin area offer plenty of reason to visit this remote corner of the country, with hundreds of miles of trails for riders of all levels, from the Aroostook County trails to the Maine Interconnected Trail System. The Katahdin Lodge offers easy access to both of these northern Maine trail systems, as well as to Baxter State Park. For those who include snowmobiles in their ATV repertoire, this is a great year-round choice, as well as a great summer stop for other ATV and UTV fans. Check out the Katahdin Lodge for more information on the trails and where to stay.

man riding dirt bike up a hill

Source | Hot Springs ORV Park

Hot Springs Off-Road Vehicle Park, Arkansas

Located near Hot Springs, Arkansas, this tucked-away gem offers some of the most rigorous climbs in the country, as well as miles of trails for the whole family to enjoy. Its central location and easy access to Interstate 30 also make it a great road trip destination. Hotels and other family attractions in the Hot Springs area, including Hot Springs National Park, offer a broader itinerary. Get a taste of true Southern hospitality while enjoying the warm spring, summer, and fall weather. For all of the details, including trails, fees, and other information, visit the official Hot Springs website.

Black Hills National Forest

Source | Wagon16/Flickr

Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota/Wyoming

With more than 600 miles of designated trails on tap inside this 1.2-million-acre preserve, the Black Hills National Forest is a treasure for the off-road adventurer. Terrain varies from open prairie to deep woods and mountainous sections, with trail difficulties ranging from beginner to expert. Campgrounds are available near the trails, and a range of other family activities can be found within the park. Check out full details on this gem of the upper-western U.S. at the official Black Hills National Forest website.

Do you have a favorite spot to hit with your ATV? Tell us about it.

Road Trip: Hot Spring Havens

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Source | Flickr

When it comes to winter road trips, you could go one of two ways. Either embrace the snow and head to mountain slopes or flee to warmer waters. But why not combine the two with a soak in a natural hot spring?

These gems boast steamy, mineral-enriched waters to soothe your muscles and snowy views to feed your soul. Best of all, you don’t need an expensive membership with an exclusive spa to enjoy them. The only choice you need to make now? Which to choose.*

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Mammoth Lakes, California; Source | Robson Hatsukami Morgan/Unsplash

Mammoth Lakes, California

Mammoth Lakes owes its network of natural hot springs to its volcanic past. Once upon nearly 800,000 years ago, a volcanic explosion laid the foundation for the network of hot springs that stretches from Bridgeport to Mammoth Lakes. Today, several commercial hot springs in the area are open to the public, including Benton and Keough. Plenty of undeveloped hot springs exist as well, like Travertine and Buckeye, but finding them will take a little legwork. Some of these sites are threatened with overuse, and not all of them are safe for dipping. So talk to locals and stop in at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center

for the full skinny.

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Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Source | iStock

Glenwood Springs, Colorado

The Glenwood Hot Springs Pool is fed by the Yampah spring—one of the hottest natural hot springs in the world. The water from the spring is so hot (122° F to be exact) that it has to be cooled down for bathers. The 1-million-gallon main pool is kept at a balmy 90° F, and is perfect for the entire family. Adults looking for peace and quiet may want to retreat to the “smaller” 100-ft by 400-ft hot tub, which is cooled to a pleasant 104° F. Book an overnight stay at the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort or purchase admission to splash around for the day.
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Bagby Hot Springs, Oregon; Source | Indigo Fairy/commons.wikimedia.org

Bagby Hot Springs, Oregon

Nestled in Oregon’s Late Successional Reserve Forest, Bagby Hot Springs is a rustic escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Pay a small fee to park and then hike a 1.5-mile trail over river footbridges and beneath old-growth forest to the primitive cabins. Inside you’ll find a number of whiskey-barrel style tubs and 8-ft-long, hollowed out cedar logs. The water is hot; the soak is free; the view is…primordial.

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Hot Springs State Park, Wyoming; Source | Jonathan Green/ commons.wikimedia.org

Hot Springs State Park, Wyoming

Tour Hot Springs State Park and take in the steam- and snow-drenched landscape. Wonder at the majestic, free-roaming herd of buffalo. Traverse the swinging bridge across the Bighorn River. Then (thanks to a treaty signed with the Shoshone and Arapaho in 1896), you can also partake in the park’s namesake. The hot springs’ bath house is free and open five days a week, barring winter holidays. The soaking pool is maintained at an optimal 104° F.

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Jefferson Pools, Virginia; Source |iStock

Jefferson Pools, Virginia

If you’re looking to soak in hot water and more than two centuries of American history, then few hot springs can best the Jefferson Pools. Owned and operated by the nearby Omni Homestead Resort, the pools were named after Thomas Jefferson, who raved about the springs during his visit in 1818. The octagonal Gentlemen’s Pool House was built in 1761 and looks it. But the 40,000-gallon pool features crystal-clear, untreated spring water so rich in mineral content that bathers nearly float. The Ladies’ Pool House was added later and allows for separate bathing. Combined family soaks are also available during scheduled times.

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Chena Hot Springs, Alaska; Source |Punk Toad/Flickr

Chena Hot Springs, Alaska

Imagine soaking in three-thousand-year-old, geothermal waters while gazing up at the northern lights. That’s what you’ll find at Chena Hot Springs in Fairbanks, Alaska. For a daily fee, the outdoor Rock Lake features unadulterated hot spring waters at a consistent 106° F. Visitors also have access to indoor hot tubs and a heated pool. Having too much fun to leave? Book a yurt (or a room if you’re more inclined) at the Chena Hot Springs Resort, which includes unlimited swim passes during your stay.

* For all locations, call ahead to confirm availability and access with winter conditions.

Have you visited a natural hot spring we didn’t mention? Share your experience with us.

Skip the Beach: Our Top 5 Mountain Road Trips

Labor Day Weekend is often seen as the last goodbye to summer beach trips. Which means beachgoers encounter sweltering traffic jams, crowded beaches, and higher hotel rates. But there’s another way to enjoy the late summer holiday: head to the mountains.

The air is crisper, the temperatures are cooler—a nice break from the heat. Mountains are naturally isolated, so you’re sure to find peace and relaxation, even along the busier routes. Our favorite mountain road trips include some popular spots, while others are hidden gems on the map. They represent many regions of the country, so pack up the family vehicle and hit the alpine roads to enjoy the scenery and fresh air.

5. Porcupine Mountains, MI

Top Five Mountain Road Trips

Tucked away on the southern banks of Lake Superior lie the Porcupine Mountains. The Porkies are home to more than 90 austere waterfalls. You may recognize two of the Porkies’ most notable waterfalls, Bond Falls and Agate Falls, from a national ad campaign for certain sport-utility vehicles. Find the falls just off Highways 28 and 45. Continue on Highway 45 at dusk for a chance to view the mysterious Paulding Light in the distance. Local legend claims the light is the ghost of an old railroad brakeman waving his lantern in warning. The Midwest’s Porkies rank at number five on our list.

4. Great Smoky Mountains, NC and TN

Top Five Mountain Road Trips

The Great Smoky Mountains, often shrouded in mist, straddle the North Carolina and Tennessee border and offer some of the most awesome views in the southeast, as well as some of the most technical roads we’ve driven. Visitors to the observation tower at Clingmans Dome (follow Clingmans Dome Road) are rewarded with a 100-mile view. Motorists embarking on the meandering 11-mile drive through Cades Cove may think they’ve stepped back in time. Enjoy the cove’s numerous historic sites, pristine environment, and abundant wildlife. The Great Smoky Mountains come in at number four.

3. Adirondack State Park, NY

Top Five Mountain Road Trips

Drive north on New York’s I-87 until you hit Lake George and go west from there to find Adirondack State Park, nestled between Schroon Lake and Lake Placid, the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics. The Adirondacks host the state’s highest peak, Mount Marcy at 5,343 ft., and offer plenty of scenic driving on Route 73 through timber forests, alpine meadows, and quaint towns (think Adirondack chairs). This northeast Appalachian drive comes in at number three.

2. Lake Tahoe, CA/NV

Top Five Mountain Road Trips

Drive west, between the peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and you will find the sparkling turquoise waters of Lake Tahoe. Also home to the 1960 Winter Olympics, Lake Tahoe sits at 6,255 ft. elevation and is so large that the California-Nevada border runs through its center. If you’re coming from California, I-80 to a curvy Rt. 89 will get you the north end of the lake. Then follow 89 to South Lake Tahoe and take a moment to stop at the breathtaking Emerald Bay viewpoint. From Nevada, you can start from Carson City and follow the steep and spiraled climb up Rt. 50. You’re in for an inspiring drive no matter which state you’re coming from. Tahoe ranks at number two on our list.

1. Going to the Sun Road, Montana

Top Five Mountain Road Trips

In the heart of Glacier National Park, this 33-mile stretch of alpine road carves through the peaks and gorges of the northern Rocky Mountains. Stunning views of 10,000 ft. mountains, pristine lakes, misty water falls, and lush forest make up the scenery. The Sun Road is aptly named as you gain elevation driving through mountain tunnels and along stone bridges with steep valleys hugging the road’s edge. This breathtaking drive ranks as our number one alpine road in the U.S.

Do you have any favorite mountain road trips you’ve taken? Share in the comments.