For those in the D.C. area with oil in their veins who love nothing more than driving ATVs off-road, you’re in luck. While the city itself may not offer ample opportunities for off-roading, fantastic ATV spots exist within a short drive from the district. Below you’ll find five of the coolest spots in the surrounding area for ATV off-roading!
Take a trip out to the George Washington National Forest to find a series of light, scenic trails perfect for mid-level ATV enthusiasts. Choose between the Rocky Run Trail, the South Pedlar Trails, and the Taskers Gap trails, each with differing levels of difficulty. Each requires a daily permit and range in size.
The Garrett Trail System in Garrett County, Maryland, is part of the larger nature preserve, offering a scenic getaway for hiking, biking, and, of course, off-roading. The light elevation and hard-packed gravel make for a perfect beginner adventure. Forest and animal life, including black bears, turkey, and deer, make for a tantalizing route. Hazards exist, but are few and far between.
The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Park extends all the way from Washington, D.C. to Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, making it an ideal location for Washingtonians or those living in the Beltway to get away for the weekend. Seven miles are dedicated to off-roading, and consist of novice-friendly gravel and dirt. Be warned: a permit is required, and can be purchased from the Maryland DNR Service Center or Potomac State Forest Office.
The Wolf Den Hunting and Riding Club is a privately-owned trail sitting on over 3,000 acres. The property has mud pits, woods, hills, and other obstacles, with trails that run the gamut of difficulty. New and veteran riders alike will find plenty to keep themselves occupied. Since it is a bit far from D.C., you might consider taking advantage of their primitive camping site. Make sure to call ahead to make an appointment beforehand.
Appalachian Adventures is just over an hour outside of Washington, D.C., but is well-worth the trip. Several trails are available for differing experience levels. Appalachian Adventure guides are happy to help new off-roaders learn the basics, such as “elementary maneuvers, location and operation controls, breaking, turning, and stops,” while more experienced riders are free to enjoy the trails at their leisure. You’ll be riding in the Appalachian Mountains, and as such the obstacles include dirt, rocks, ditches, trees, curves, mud-holes, and differences in elevation—in other words, everything a die-hard off-roader could want. Check their website for different packages, rental options, and vacation information.
*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.