Don't Hibernate-Recreate

Published in the October 2018 Issue October 2018 Feature Lane Lindstrom

By the time you read this, fall will be in the air—at least for the upper half of the United States and all of Canada. It might be fall in the southern half of the country but you folks down there most likely barely notice it.

For the rest of us in the upper half (or two-thirds to be more specific), some are thinking about that last ride or last few rides and then what you need to do to store your ATV or side-by-side for the winter.

However, for those lucky ones—say south of about 37 degrees N—you are looking forward to cooler riding days. Lucky dogs.

With some effort and a few vacation days, the “northerners” can head south to extend their riding season.

While there are dozens, more likely probably hundreds, of riding options in the southern tier of the United States, we have picked out five that are worth a look. We chose one in the southeast United States, one in the southcentral U.S. and three in the West.

Southeast U.S. – Windrock Park

Tennessee seems to be blessed (or has its share of, depending on how you look at it) with several good riding areas and is a popular state for off-road riding in the South.

One of those riding areas is Windrock Park ( near Oliver Springs, about 30 miles west of Knoxville in eastern Tennessee.

Claimed as the largest privately owned riding park, Windrock is huge at about 72,000 acres with 300 plus miles of OHV trails. Although the park is heavily wooded, there are openings in the trees on the upper trails that give you some spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. And since we’re talking about riding during the winter months, the trees will be leafless, providing even more opportunities to see the surrounding country.

It can be a little chilly riding this “far north” during the winter months but if you’re prepared, you can manage just fine with a coat or jacket. Daytime temps in Oliver Springs, the town closest to Windrock, are in the mid 50s and creep up to the 60s by March.

Just one of the things we liked about riding Windrock was the variety of trails. The trailheads start out fairly mild but it wasn’t long before we were riding some boulder-strewn paths with all sorts of challenging terrain. But if that’s not your thing, you can find plenty of trails that meander through the trees.

Southcentral U.S. – Hidden Falls Adventure Park, Marble Falls, TX

As big as Texas is, off-road riding is not a free-for-all experience. You usually have to find a private and/or public riding area to experience riding in the Lone Star State. And the riding can include anything from the hot, dry desert in western Texas to lush, green, swampy and muddy riding in the east.

Hidden Falls Adventure Park, located in southcentral Texas close to Marble Falls, is somewhat in the middle of the dry desert and wet, tree-covered climates (averages 31 inches of rain a year and no snow) and is a great winter riding spot. Winter daytime temperatures are in the low to mid 60s with plenty of sunshine. We’ve ridden Hidden Falls in the winter and summer and riding in the winter was more pleasant temperature-wise.

The largest off-road park in Texas, Hidden Falls is located in Texas Hill Country and that means lots of hills and elevation changes. When you get to various vistas in the park (like 1,400-foot Wildcat Mountain) you can see for miles in every direction.

The park is open Thursday-Sunday to the public (a fee is charged) or if you buy a membership you have access seven days a week.

Hidden Falls offers 240 miles of trails spread across 3,000 acres with everything from rocky technical and tight, twisty trails in the trees to fairly wide-open stretches. You can camp onsite or there is lodging in nearby Marble Falls.

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