Photo: milehirafting.com

The arrival of autumn means some of the best ATV riding days are ahead.

Experiencing nature is a must anytime of the year but off-road or trail riding especially with the kids during fall offers a great way to connect as a family while doing something you love. If you've got a garage full of ATVs and you've never gone for a ride on public trails or other forest lands, grab you're gear and load up the truck.

Tackling off-road trails on your ATV is also an ideal way to get your kids riding. Starting out on four wheels is much easier than two wheels so your children have no need to fear toppling over as they would on a dirt bike. Taking an easy stroll as a family before opening the throttle a bit can turn into a lifetime of fun and enjoyment.

ATVs are especially suited to overcome most obstacles you'll encounter on the trails. As fall looms and leaves drop, ruts, boulders and even old logs can hide amongst the leaves. Early winter storms can also topple failing trees giving you even more fun for your riding buck. When riding with kids, keep an eye on them. Tipping over is unlikely however getting stuck, crashing into something or losing control and rolling down a cliff side should not be taken lightly.

When ATV trail riding with your kids, it's best to include two adults situating one in the front and the other taking up the rear. The front rider can alert others of potential obstacles and the rider in the back ensures no one gets lost. This also prevents any "racing." Riding off-road and other trails is not about taking the checkered flag. You have to look out for others riding 4-wheelers who are faster and want to pass or oncoming riders who need room to get by.

Off-roading not only gets you out in nature but presents the opportunity to teach respect to other riders and the land. Off-road ATV riding especially in designated forest areas, while legal, irks some members of the public who would like nothing more than to shut down the trails to our machines. Those who violate the rules and don't respect carefully guarded lands make it much more difficult to convince others we mean no harm. Instilling this in your kids at a young age keeps public lands open to all of us for generations to come. Trails specifically designated for ATV riding should be clearly marked with signage and other markers telling riders where to go - and where not to go.

If you've been riding ATVs for a while then you're likely all set as far as gear. What you normally wear, especially if racing is in your blood, is the same protective gear you'll wear riding off-road. If you're just starting out, check out our ATV Riding Gear page for options and if you're looking for the best starter ATV for your kid see our Choosing the Best ATV for Beginners guide.

ATV trail riding in the fall months brings sights and sounds you'll never experience in suburbia. Even in cities that bring beautiful fall colors nothing compares to a forest of yellow, orange and red leaves blanketing over you. Don't forget the wildlife either! Any animals you see should be appreciated from afar. Many might be used to the regular loud sounds but that's not permission to approach them.

If this is your first time off-roading especially for your kids, start off slow. Even when sections allow you to open the throttle a bit, if you or your kids are not used to riding, even the smallest pitfalls can end your day. Slippery wet leaves can send you sideways and what looks like a shallow puddle of water might actually turn out to be a small pond! ATVs don't have seatbelts so a sudden drop to the left or right might unseat an inexperienced rider tossing him or her to the ground. Look out for overgrowth too. If you take the lead in your ATV caravan make sure those behind you know what's coming.

The best part about ATV trail riding in the fall is the memories and time spent with kids. Of course there's sharing the family experience but riding ATVs gives your children some independence. They're in control of their machine but you can still be parent and keep an eye on them. A day of trail riding wouldn't be complete without lunch. Once you've experienced all that fall has to offer, take a rest and get something to eat. There are no restaurants here. You'll have to bring lunch but don't leave your trash trailside. Throw it away or take it with you.

Finally, you'll most likely need a spark arrestor. The US Forest Service requires spark arrestors on most, if not all public lands. If you need a spark arrestor, we carry a variety of spark arrestors for 2-stroke and 4-stroke ATVs.

ATV trail riding is always fun but no time is more colorful than during the autumn months Remember, respect the lands and other riders but most of all have fun and enjoy nature from the best seat in the house.

Written By: AndrewT