Virginia is widely considered one of the most beautiful states in the United States; it’s overflowing with gorgeous vistas, majestic mountain ranges, and beautiful coasts. When it comes to the land, there are areas of flat easy terrain and parts of the state where rugged terrain is the norm.
All those different environments and the extensive wilderness in the state make Virginia a perfect destination for ATV riders.
There are a lot of different trails out there in Virginia, and it can be a great place to ride no matter how much (or how little) experience you have in an ATV.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the top ATV trails you can ride in Virginia. Then, we’ll talk about the rules and regulations in the state, and answer some of the most important questions about riding ATVs in Virginia.
Top ATV Trails in Virginia
There are a lot more ATV trails than we could possibly list in Virginia, but here are some of the best trails and trail networks you should check out. Whether you’re a Virginia local looking for new trails to ride, or a visitor looking for a good option during your trip, there’s a trail here for you!
The Original Pocahontas OHV Trail
The Original Pocahontas OHV Trail is near Pocahontas, Virginia, and is a fairly accessible and easy-to-visit trail network if you're in the area. Big enough to spend the entire weekend (or longer) riding, these trails are also located near a lot of friendly lodging options.
There are several campgrounds with ATV access nearby, as well as other lodging options in town. If you’re looking for other things to do, this trail network is fantastic because you also have an exhibition mine and museum in the town. The museum also happens to be a national historic landmark.
There are a total of 73 miles of trails, which are shared by ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles, and bicycles. Horses and SUVs are prohibited, so you’re only going to be sharing the space with other small recreational vehicles.
The main trail access points are in Boissevain Park and directly from Downtown Pocahontas.
Haysi’s Ridgeview ATV Trail System
Haysi Ridgeview offers 75 miles of trails and is a great destination regardless of your ATV skill level. There are trails suitable for experts looking for a challenge, all the way down to beginners still learning how to ride safely.
The views from this trail system are also unforgettable. Wooded and ridgeline trails are available, with some combinations available for people who are looking for more views.
The trail system connects with Coal Canyon trails as well, which means you can access an additional 200 miles of trail riding from this trail system.
The local town, called Haysi, is friendly to ATV riders and offers a lot of campgrounds, cabins, and hotels specifically designed for ATV riders. The town is small, so other amenities are more limited, but you should still have everything you need locally available. Make sure you pack all of your gear with the help of a bed rack!
Stone Mountain Trail System
If you’re looking for a slightly more advanced or technical trail system to test your skill and explore on your ATV, Stone Mountain Trail System is a great destination.
The trails are a little more limited here — just 32 miles — but the intermediate and expert terrain is a ton of fun to ride and explore.
The trails themselves are steep, rugged, and have a lot of hills and turns that challenge even skilled technical riders. That said, there are a ton of stopping places with viewpoints, picnic tables, and rest areas for riders throughout the trails system. Be sure to bring a solid winch just in case.
Even after you’ve explored all the trails, this is the kind of system where you want to come back and ride again the very next day!
Camping isn’t allowed directly on the trails, Leeman Field Park is a local alternative with good access to the trail system. There are also 21 full-service RV spots. You can also take advantage of riverside tent camping locations in the park.
George Washington and Jefferson National Forests
The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests also offer a great ATV riding experience. OHV trails are available in two ranger districts: the Glenwood Pedlar Ranger District and the Lee Ranger District.
Riders are also requested to stay on marked trails, though there are some off-roading trails available if you’re interested in the technical and terrain challenge.
Just remember that these national forests run along and in the Appalachian Mountain range, so challenging terrain is almost a given on these trails.
It’s also worth checking the forests for local warnings. Weather and animal activity can both sometimes force temporary closures and occasional maintenance may be required on the trails.
Bear activity is another common reason for national forest access to be limited in the George Washington and Jefferson Forests.
Elkhorn Lake and Campground
Elkhorn Lake and Campground is a fantastic Virginia ATV destination for families. There are 31 miles of private ATV trails, an enduro track to test your mettle, and lots more. Primitive camping on the property is allowed, though shade is limited since the camping area is in a large field. Camping is only available Friday through Sunday.
Paid guests are allowed to use a swimming pool with a waterslide on site, as well as a lakeside beach, live music concert, bike trails, picnicking spots, and cabin rentals for people who prefer more amenities than camping.
The ATV trails are open every day, but they can close for inclement weather. It’s worth calling ahead to see if a closure is anticipated on bad weather days.
Big Boys Playground
Big Boys Playground takes a little more planning than some of the other destinations we’ve discussed because they hold an ATV event each month. Most of the event days are scheduled on Saturdays, but it can change a little every month depending on anticipated conditions and what Big Boys Playground is planning.
Features of this area include tons of trails, a 150 ft. long mudhole, and a 20 ft. wide soft track.
This is a great place to go if you’re looking to get dirty and don’t mind sharing the space with other riders. It can also be a good place to practice more technical riding and take on more challenging conditions in a monitored and controlled space.
This is a smaller trail, just 10 miles, but it’s so much fun and such a beautiful ride that you don’t want to miss it. However, the trail is open to any vehicle that wants to give it a try, so there could be other 4x4s on the trail.
Rocky Run is split between two different difficulty levels, an easier area and a more advanced one. If you aren’t an advanced rider, you want to stick to the easier run.
There’s no camping here.
South Pedlar ATV Trail System
This smaller trail system is a fun ride, with lots of loops that make it easy to go back over a run leg of the trail without having to double back, ride the whole trail again, or stop between runs. It’s only 19 miles of hardpack trails in total, but you can easily spend a whole day enjoying the trails.
There are other trails, the Peters Mill Run and Taskers Gap OHV, but they aren’t hardpack. For the most part, these trails run through deep forest wilderness.
The rating for this system is mostly intermediate, but there are some beginner-friendly sections you can ride as you're still learning and a few advanced loops that are a fun challenge for technical riders.
However, you do need a special-use permit for these trails, which can be purchased locally, or ordered ahead and delivered by mail.
Vehicles on the South Pedlar ATV trail system are required to be less than 50” wide. The other trails allow larger vehicles, including full-size 4x4s on Peters Mill Run. There are also age restrictions. Kids under 12 years old are not permitted at all, and kids under 16 are required to have adult supervision at all times.
Moto Cove Off-Roading
Moto Cove is going to be a better option for more experienced riders rather than beginners or even intermediate riders. There are 38 trails to ride, and riding is available from 8 a.m. until dusk. You don't need a permit, but that can mean a shorter window of riding time during the colder months since dusk comes early.
You should expect rough terrain, lots of obstacles, and some steep hills. There are also boulders you’ll need to plan around for your trip.
Trails are actively maintained, but there usually are plenty of trails available, even if one or two are going through maintenance.
Since the trails are maintained by Cove Campground, that’s also the perfect place to stay for a more extended trip.
Are there Virginia ATV rental options?
Chances are if you’re near one of the larger ATV trailheads in Virginia, there will be at least one ATV rental company nearby.
ATV Riding Rules And Requirements in Virginia
Virginia requires all ATV drivers to be at least 16 years of age unless driving an ATV with a 90CC engine or smaller.
ATVs are illegal on public or private property unless otherwise specified, except when they need to cross a public highway by the most direct route.
Virginia also requires anyone operating an ATV to wear a helmet.
ATVs are required to be titled, but they do not need to be registered.
Are there ATV events and races in Virginia?
Yes! There are a lot of ATV events, races, and other off-roading competitions in Virginia, taking advantage of the natural beauty and rugged terrain of the state.
Especially through the summer, if you’re looking for an event or a race, there is probably something happening most weekends somewhere in the state. If you have a particular track or trail in mind, events are usually published at least a few weeks in advance, and there are some annual events you can expect every year around the same time each year.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Where can I find a detailed map of the ATV trails in Virginia?
There aren’t any single complete maps of the trails in Virginia. But, TrailLink is a good option for finding ATV trails. Trail Source is another good choice, or you can look for National Forest trails on the main National Forest Website.
Do I need permits for riding on ATV trails in Virginia?
You don’t need a specific permit to drive an ATV in Virginia as long as you are old enough to operate the vehicle you’re driving. However, you may need to get use permits for some trails and locations, and others may require users to buy a ticket in advance.
Before you head over to the Virginia trails, you want to make sure your vehicle is looking good and riding smoothly. Check out what Thumper Fab has to offer to make sure your ATV reflects you and your unique personality!