All of us have a bucket list.
For some, that list includes a broad spectrum of items to cross off, while for others, fully experiencing a personal hobby which often means leaving the confines of home and taking whatever helps define you into brand new worlds.
For anyone who rides dirt bikes or ATVs, hitting the nation's best trail systems floats to the top of their bucket list pretty quickly. And, once experienced they have a hard time crossing it off their list because sometimes, some places need multiple visits to fully appreciate and realize.
By all accounts, any trail system that allows dirt bikes and ATVs has its place as a top destination to ride. However, some possess a "must ride" reputation that only those who have experienced can attest. So, we asked around and found out where in the United States bestows the coolest, most excellent, baddest places to trail ride dirt bikes or ATVs. This comes in no particular order and though we might have some bias towards the first stop we stand by it.
1. China Hat, OR
China Hat, which gets its name from the same-named volcanic butte that resembles a hat worn by Chinese immigrant laborers, sits just outside Bend, OR and boasts some of the most ridable high desert trails anywhere. Thanks to the relatively low rain rate as compared to not so nearby but neighboring Portland, you can ride China Hat OHV trails year-round though it gets quite cold in the winter.
2. Moab, UT
What's not to like about Moab, UT? The vast terrain takes you from dirt to sand to rock along dry creek beds which can suddenly flood. Veteran riders love the technical aspect as you need a solid hold on the bike to traverse the trails. Enjoy the views while on two wheels or take a break and soak in the beautiful scenery which features red rocks, big cliffs and valleys all over. Find a mesa to climb and check out the view for miles and miles. You'll feel like you can ride anywhere.
3. Red River Trails, TX
Courtesy: Red River Trails
Only Texas would designate 2,700 acres to off-road riding. Located in Bulcher, north of Dallas and just south of the Oklahoma State line, Red River Trails was established in 1972 and has remained a riding haven for dirt bikes and ATVs ever since. You can camp in between rides or take advantage of the more "luxurious" cabins if that suits your style better. Either way, you'll eventually need a return visit to experience everything this park offers.
4. Sand Dunes - Imperial, CA or Oregon
There are only two places to ride sand dunes. Yes, we know there are other sand dune areas but only two places you really need to know about when it comes to riding dirt bikes or ATVs in the sand and that should hold a spot on your bucket list. The Oregon Sand Dunes in Florence, OR located on the southern coast and the Imperial Sand Dunes located in the southeast corner of California hold status as the premier destination for dune riding dirt bikes and ATVs. Don't forget your flag!
5. Hatfield-McCoy Trails, West Virginia
Courtesy: Trails Heaven
Aptly named Trails Heaven, the Hatfield-McCoy trail system contains eight different trail routes totaling more than 700 miles in southern West Virginia and range from easiest to most difficult so you can decide the best path forward. Named after the famed feud between the Hatfields and McCoys in the late 1800s many families, who do get along, head here for an actual riding vacation and take on the seven trails in seven days challenge.
6. Gifford-Pinchot State Park, WA
Where else in the world do you get complete views of not one or even two mountains but four? Trail riding in the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest, nestled east of and in between Tacoma, WA and Portland, OR rises between 1,500 and 5,500 foot above sea level on a variety of trails with in-your-face views of Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Saint Helens and Mt. Hood.
7. McCall, ID
If you have never been to McCall, ID you might want to think about an extended vacation. McCall not only offers some of the finest mountain ranges to ride but enough outdoor fun to keep you entertained when off the bike. Get lost in the Cuddy Mountains one day then the Salmon River Mountains the next and if you book a summer trip relax along Payette Lake and enjoy all this bustling resort town has to offer.
Obviously, we could extend this list of the best off-road destinations to include a dozen more spots but with so many trails and such little time we kept it manageable because in our experience all of these places need well more than a day ride to officially check mark the box.