You’ve got your new UTV and you’re looking for off-road trails to take it out on. Or maybe you’ve recently moved or traveled out of town, and you’re unfamiliar with the area. How do you find the best off-road trails near you?
It turns out you have plenty of options, from outdoor specific apps to physical atlases and maps. Whether you’re an experienced UTV rider or a newcomer, check out our guide to finding the best trails in your area.
Table of Contents
General Tips for Finding Off-Road Trails
First, you need to know what your local laws are. They vary from state to state, and sometimes from one county to another. Check with your local authorities to make sure your UTV is safe and legal.
Then you need to decide what you are looking for in a trail. Do you want to go mud riding? Desert sand dune riding? Rock crawling? Your local geography will play a huge part in what’s available to you.
You also need to realize that because of their size, not every UTV will be appropriate for every ATV trail. Some trails are large enough for side-by-side ATVs, but not all of them. Always check in advance that your UTV will be suitable for the trail.
Finally, before you set off on your ride, make sure you come prepared. The last thing you want to do is get stranded.
Mapping the Trails
There are a few different ways of finding local trails with maps. We’ve highlighted a few of them for you below.
Most people use Google Maps for navigating to and from places, but it’s also a good service for finding something near you. You can type in a phrase like “UTV trails” and it will show you UTV trails near your detected location. Or you can type in “UTV trails near x” and it will show you trails nearby. For example, if you type in “UTV trails near Colorado” you should get about a dozen results.
From there you need to check which ones are UTV ready trails. They will usually be labeled as ATV or OHV (off-highway vehicle) trails.
You can filter your results too. You can zoom out to see trails further away from you. You can sort them by a star rating too if you only want to see the most popular trails.
Other map services exist too, such as Waze, Apple Maps, Mapquest, and dozens of others. However, finding off-road trails on them is not nearly as easy.
If physical maps are your thing, there are a lot of maps and trail guides. A quick search via your online retailer of choice will bring up dozens of different options. Many of them are state or region-specific, and can be bought for $25 or less.
Since nearly everyone has a smartphone, apps have become a popular method of finding off-road trails. Here are just a couple of trail finding apps you may find useful.
All Trails is a website and app used often by hikers, but it can also be used to find UTV trails.
You can search for trails from the main home page, then narrow down your results to only show off-road trails. From the filters option at the top, you can sort by “best match,” “most popular,” or “closest.” Then under the activity option choose OHV/Off-road driving.
By creating an account, you can add trails to your favorites and save them for later. You can also use the lists feature, and explore popular trails that way.
All Trails comes in two versions, a free and a pro (paid) version. For $30 a year you will get premium options such as the ability to download maps, a safety contact feature called Lifeline to inform your contacts of your expected finish time and real-time location, and a handful of other features. It’s up to you to determine if the Pro version is worth it.
Similar to All Trails, the OnX Maps app allows you to see local trails. You can see photos and reviews of them too. Similar to All Trails, you can sync your progress across the website and the app.
The big difference between the two is that All Trails can be used for activities other than off-roading, while OnX Maps is more specialized. There is a free trial, but to keep using it, you will have to upgrade to the premium version for $30 a year.
Tourism and Travel Sites
Aside from maps and apps, tourism sites can be a good source for trail info. This is especially true if they specialize in outdoor recreation.
Check Your State’s Local Tourism Site
You probably haven’t given much thought to your state’s local tourism site as a potential source for finding trails. But state tourist sites exist for in-state travelers too. Some of them feature information on off-road trails.
For example, the West Virginia tourism site prominently features information on ATV and off-roading trails, both guided and unguided. They place a heavy emphasis on encouraging off-roading. The Travel Nevada website is another state website that highlights the unique trails in the area.
Whatever methods you use to find your next trail, head out safely. Before you start your next adventure, get outfitted in the appropriate gear. This will help protect you from accidents and unpredictable weather.
Not sure what gear is right for you? We have a complete guide here.