Looking for a place to ride? We recently asked experienced ATV riders what their favorite ride areas are across the U.S. Before visiting any of these trail areas, however, check with the local land manager regarding current registration, equipment and gear requirements, and opening/closure dates and times.
Trail-Finder Web Sites
• www.trailsource.com is a powerful trail locating site for ATV, bike, hike, ski, sled, OHV, horse, and dirt-bike trails. You have to pay a fee to get full use of the site, but the search capabilities and maps make it well worth the cost.
• www.atvpathfinder.com is a free membership site that's constantly growing. Rider reviews are helpful in determining what a ride area is like.
Hieroglyphic Mountains Loop is 35 miles northwest of Phoenix and features amazing cactus landscapes. If you encounter a desert tortoise and can't avoid crossing paths with it, carry it to the shade, not tilted, no more than 50 feet away. Bring plenty of water. Arizona BLM; 623/580-5500, www.blm.gov/az.
The Hungry Valley State Recreation Area north of Los Angeles has 19,000 acres of riding with 130 miles of ATV trails. According to trailsource.com, the wide variety of trails "provide excitement for beginner and experienced off-roaders. For experienced OHVers, challenging trails can be found in the hills and sand washes of the backcountry section of the SVRA. Beginners can enjoy the scenery and relative ease of the trails in the Native Grasslands Management Area. Trails in the adjoining Los Padres National Forest are recommended for experienced riders only."
One cool thing about this area is the 4000-plus acres available for open riding. OHV use isn't restricted to designated trails and is allowed in virtually all locations within this zone. The open riding zone contains a variety of terrain, from flat areas and sand washes to rolling hills and steep hillclimb areas. HVSRA; 661/248-7007, www.ohv.parks.ca.gov. California Tourism; 800/862-2543, www.gocalif.ca.gov.
Glamis Dunes (aka Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area), just west of Yuma, Arizona, is an ATV rider's paradise. This 40-mile-long system of rolling white dunes is sculpted by the intense winds constantly blowing through the Imperial Valley. Annual rainfall averages less than two inches and summer temperatures can top 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Glamis BLM; 760/337-4400, www.blm.gov/ca/elcentro/ImperialSandDunes/; California Tourism; 800/862-2543, www.gocalif.ca.gov. Academy ATV/Dirt Bike Rental; 619/294-2227, www.academyrentals.com.