When asking for the best places to ride dirt bikes around the country we thought a popular answer might simply be California.
That's why we put the Golden state in its own category. Not just because of its immense size but the various landscapes and climates contained within. This is Part 2 of a seven part series of the best dirt bike riding places in the United States. Part one visited the Pacific Northwest and now we are on to California. Here's the list of regions we'll be covering:
- Pacific Northwest - Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming
- California - California
- Southwest - Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado
- Midwest - North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Illinois, Wisconsin
- Texas - Texas
- Southeast - Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee
- Northeast - Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts
In case you missed it, this is not our opinion or a conglomeration of various articles. This list is compiled from the very people riding every day, every weekend and all summer long. You!
Right off the bat you can probably guess what likely made the list while others might be brand new spots you'll be glad to know about. Similar to Part 1, this is in no particular order or anywhere close to an exhaustive list of tracks and trails.
Like Washougal for the Pacific Northwest, Glen Helen got the most nods so we thought it appropriate to list a tradition in Outdoors at #1. Glen Helen is nestled in the foothills of San Bernardino County and it's got one of the most intense hills on the circuit. It's sandy, loamy and is known as a "man's track." Guess what? Glen Helen is hosting an MXGP round in September and the Motocross of Nations in 2017. Watch Cooper Webb via helmet at Glen Helen:
2. Kettleman City
Kettleman City is pretty much a stop for travelers and trucks (has an In N Out) making the long slog on the I-5 freeway through central California. But if you've got dirt bikes, an abundance of hills and long trails gives you a day of non-stop riding.
It's slogan "Built by Riders for Riders" is more than excellent marketing. It's true and this park located in San Jose gets props for constantly changing the layout and is inviting for both the novice and veteran rider.
4. Desert Sand Dunes
Summer might not be the best time to ride your dirt bike in the desert sand dunes outside Palm Springs but hey, it's a dry heat, right? Make sure to prep your bike for sand dune riding before going. Once riding you'll have the best time of your life. The Glamis Sand Dunes further south and the Dumont Dunes further north in the Mojave Desert are popular spots. Speaking of the Mojave Desert...
5. Mojave Desert
The Mojave Desert offers some of the most beautiful scenery in all of the country. It's primarily in southeastern California but crosses in to Nevada, Utah and Arizona. It's not hard to find, in fact, Las Vegas is considered part of the Mojave Desert. There's no shortage of trails and even a rest break offers you a breathtaking view of the immense landscape.
The Mojave Desert
No, California hasn't completely outlawed all OHV riding, at least not yet, but what remains includes Stonyford in northern California. Its moderate climate offers some outstanding dirt bike riding with steep grades, water crossings and lots of mountain trails winding wide and narrow through a forestry of trees. In fact, Stonyford could be the location of a Grand National Cross Country round.
A rider in Stonyford
7. DT1 MX Park
DT1 got several mentions and is a new one even for us. It's located in Tulare north of Bakersfield in about as middle of the state as you can get. ATVs can get in on the action too. DT1 hosts a number of events including a Winter GP held last weekend.
Perris Raceway started in 1958 and the main track is the oldest in California. An amateur track was later added inviting fun for all levels of riders. Watch Tanner Taylor rip it on this more than 50 year old track:
Perris is also home to another honorable mention in Lucas Oil MX Park previously known as Starwest. We should mention that on any given day at Perris you might look over and see current and former pros riding along side you. We once heard 20 pros came out one day at Perris.
Other mentions include Fox Raceway, previously known as Pala, a current host to an Outdoor National which maintains five tracks - two for kids, two for adults and, of course, one for the pros. Zaca Station just north of Santa Barbara closed because of permitting issues.