WHERE TO CAMP AND RIDE?
We here at Camp Wild Ride are what I consider to be Action Campers.
Meaning we like to get out there and have fun on motorcycles, ATVs, Snowmobiles and 4x4s. We also like to go Rock Climbing, Hiking, and more.
The challenge comes in finding a place that we can both Camp and Ride.
Many of the paid campsites offer great amenities, but are often not very close to trails that you can take an off-highway vehicle (OHV) without having to trailer them.
That is why many of us use what is called "Dry Camping" or "Boondocking".
This is where you camp off-the-grid, with no hook-ups for electricity, water or sewer.
Because you are giving up some or all of these amenities these campsites are often free or very cheap.
With this type of camping it is much easier to get direct access (no trailering) to the trails you can ride your motorcycles and ATVs on.
Also consider the type of off-road you will be doing, as this can help with your campground selection.
For example, if you are only 4x4ing or Dual Sport riding (have street-legal rides), then your options for campgrounds are much greater than if you are dirt biking or ATV riding.
So, when looking for these golden spots to both camp and ride, I recommend one of three options:
1 - Word-of-mouth
2 - Search for Places to Ride first
3 - Search for Places to Camp first
(You heard of an area and you want to check it out)
This is how we got started, some friends told us about a great place they go to ride their ATV's and it had great camping. So, we checked it out.
Once the riding bug was firmly set, we wanted more. So, we started to ask other friends and family and then we turned to the Internet.
Some great places to get ideas on where to ride and camp are:
- Groups and Forums
- Social Media like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram
Ask questions and you'll be surprised at how many will offer to tell you about their favorite places.
Also, don't hesitate to recommend places you've visited to help out others who are just starting out.
When we bought our new ATVs, we asked the dealer where the great places to ride are.
Most dealerships will have maps and books that offer great local rides.
Searching on Google for places to ride is not always that easy.
Trail riding is a popular sport, but not all areas are open to motorized use.
The three most popular places to ride off-road are the National Forests, BLM land, and State-Owned lands
According to the U.S. Forest Service, only 38% of its 158,000 miles of trails are open to motorized use.
This means you need to do a little homework to determine where in a National Forest you can legally ride.
Great resources to search for trails in the U.S. Forest Service are:
- Forest Service Visitor Map (Free)
- ATV Trails (Free)
Bureau of Land Management (BLM):
The BLM manages about 1/10 of our national lands.
And the great news is that more than 99% of BLM-administered lands are available for recreational use with no fees.
That is why we find BLM lands very attractive for both camping and riding.
Just don't expect many amenities.
Great resources to search for trails BLM Lands are:
- The Bureau of Land Management Maps (Free)
- ATV Trails (Free)
State lands, such as parks and recreation areas, are great places to see what each state has to offer.
Many state parks require a parks pass and OHV riding in most State Parks is limited.
It is important to note that most states require that off-road vehicles to be registered within the state.
So, check with the state (or states) where you plan to ride in for their requirements.
Great resources to search trail on State-Owned lands are:
- Google Search "parks and recreation + [your state]
I found one in Colorado, Colorado Parks & Wildlife
When looking for places to camp, where you can ride, you usually start with free campsites.
Once you find a free campsite, you will then look for National Forest trails or BLM trails near the site you found.
Great resources to search for free campsites are:
- Free Campsites (Free)
- Google Search "Free Camping + [Your State]
I found one in Colorado, FREE COLORADO CAMPING
The areas we enjoy to ride and camp right now are vast.
All too often areas are restricted or shut down due to damage caused by careless riding, mainly from riding off-trail.
To help keep access to our riding and camping areas please follow the rules.
"Stay The Trail Colorado" has great tips to follow:
- Mind the signs: Only ride on trails that are authorized.
- Share the trails: Remember there are others on the tails too, so be courteous and share.
- Go over it: Don't go off trail for any reason, if there's an obstacle, go over it rather than creating new trails around it.
- Staging: Don't block access to the trial head.
- Pack it out: Don't leave your trash behind.
- Happy Campers: Don't ride unnecessarily around the campsite.
- Take it Slow: Enjoy the ride, let faster riders pass.
- Know your width: Ride on trails only designated for the width of your vehicle.