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5 Uniquely American Off-Road Trips That You Must Take

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The freedom of the open road is a well-established tagline for the American motorist, indeed for the many thousands of tourists who come to the United States every year, making the iconic journey along Route 66 has been emblazoned onto the worldwide consciousness for decades.

But for those in the know, there is an entirely alternative but equally (and in some ways more so) thrilling way to discover the land of the free. We’re talking about taking those iconic journeys off-road.

There are dozens of these journeys crisscrossed all over these great United States, but we’ve found five that if you do no other, you simply must do these, and to do them, you’ll need the right set of wheels. You can learn more here.

Bon Voyage!


It might sound like a strange place to start; the name somewhat suggests something of an unfortunate end. But let there be no doubt, this is one of the most spectacular regions of America, and if you’re going to take your off-road career seriously, it has to be on your bucket list. (See what we did there?).

In all seriousness, though, if you’re brave enough to attempt this drive in the summer months, you may yet find out where it gets its somewhat spurious-sounding name. So for our money, save your travels for the winter when the mercury is much more tolerable.

Around 91% of the park’s 3.4 million acres all fall under “protected” status. This means you’ll get to enjoy almost 1000 miles worth of paved and dirt roads, and between, you’ll find more opportunities to indulge your inner explorer than you ever imagined possible.

With many incredible canyons to discover (some you’ll need four-wheelers to get to), and nearly all of them hidden from casual visitors, you’ll get to find a national park experience that’s all your own.

A much-loved trail located south of the Panamint Springs Resort, known locally as lookout city.

Rising from the valley floor into the Argus mountain range, you’ll discover where pioneers first explored mining that took place in abundance right up until WWII. You’ll also discover Modoc mine and the Charcoal Kilns in Wildrose Canyon.


Already a firm favorite amongst off-roaders, the Silver Lake Sand Dunes of Michigans Lower Peninsula is something of an attraction, to be sure. But, if you’re serious about getting off-road, you have to head further north past the Mackinaw Bridge to the Upper Peninsula.

Amidst a forest canopy of pine and cedar, you’ll take one of the hundreds of miles of trails that will carry you past long-abandoned railroad tracks all the way to deserted beaches along Lake Huron or Lake Michigan. There are so many gorgeous lakes and rivers along these paths and trails; you’ll be breathless at every turn. Remember to take in an absolute necessity: Tahquamenon Falls, the largest waterfall east of the Mississippi.

Drummond Island is perfect for advanced ATVers and offers up narrow trails, very rough terrain, and eye-watering steep grades, so you’d best know your stuff.


Perfect for if you’re a citizen of Austin or traveling through the city, Hidden Falls Adventure Park is one of the best off-road trails that you can indulge in anywhere in the United States. You have 240 miles of marked trails that will appeal to every type of off-road junkie, be it motorcycles, Jeeps, or ATVs and trucks.

These gorgeous trails hold soft, hard, pack dirt or rocky dirt and solid rock sections. While you’re putting your off-road skills to the test, you’ll also get to take in breathtaking outdoor scenery with waterfalls and natural pools that are entirely inviting for a swim under blue Texas skies.

Then you’ll also get fabulous overnight camping and if you didn’t come equipped, no worries - you can rent four-wheelers too.


Just thinking about it, nearly 200 000 acres in Pennsylvania’s Union, Snyder, Center, Clinton, and Mifflin Counties. You’ll be exploring high, sharp mountain ridges, crystal clear mountain streams, and dozens of tracts of old-growth forest. Miles of four-wheel-drive trails, dual-sport motorcycle trails, trails for ATVs, and that most wonderful of off-road explorer, non-street legal motorcycles await the off-road enthusiast.

Single-track and dirt roads here will entice dual-sport motorcyclists, and they’re the most extensive network in the state. You can knock off days off of your calendar getting stuck into all of these trails and routes, and over and above the off-roading, the region has long been a firm favorite for fly-fishing enthusiasts at the famous White Deer Creek and Penns Creek.


Now, if you’re only going to make one of these trails, it simply has to be this one. The Molokai Forest Reserve comprises multiple non-contiguous geographic areas that cover more than 11 000 acres of public land; when you consider that this is a small Hawaiian island, that makes it even more impressive.

Driving along the Main Forest Road, and they’ll bless you with sensational views that include waterfalls, plunge pools, sea cliffs, and the breathtaking Waikolu Canyon. Starting at the Waikolu lookout and the nearly 5 000 foot high Kamakou Peak, all part of the Kamakou Preserve, you can overnight with camping and gorgeous surrounds to get you in the mood before taking off in the morning exploring this thrilling and completely enticing, tiny Hawaiian island.


We want you to get out there and love each of these unique American off-road adventures, but we also want you to live to tell everyone else about it and make them all insanely jealous. So if you’re not experienced, stick to the lower grounds and the more accessible trails until you’re more confident, or make sure that you’re traveling with highly experienced riders who can help you out and guide you along where it’s needed. Make sure your vehicle has the correct lighting and that you’ve done all of your safety checks.

Happy trails!

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