North Carolina is a destination for ATV enthusiasts.

Exploring the Best ATV Trails in North Carolina

Ready to head to North Carolina and want to know if there are good ATV opportunities here? No worries! 


One of the best parts of ATVs is that you can use them almost everywhere, and you get to see a completely different side of the places you visit while you’re there. Even places that you’ve been before you can get a new perspective by visiting the same area on an ATV. 


North Carolina, like most states in the US, has some incredible ATV opportunities and trails you won't want to miss while you're here.


Discover North Carolina’s Beautiful ATV Trails


Like a lot of states, there are a wide range of different kinds of trails you can visit while in North Carolina. But that also means you need to be extra sure you have all of the safety equipment you need, that your ATV is ready to go, and that you have a good understanding of your own skills and what you and your ATV can do. 


Trail ratings and other tools can help give you some insight into what to expect, but you should also always be prepared for anything on the trail.


ATV enthusiasts have many trails to choose from.


Brown Mountain OHV Trail


Brown Mountain OHV is more than just a single trail. It's an extensive trail system that gives you about 34 miles of different trails that are all well-marked and maintained throughout the season. 


Challenges on Brown Mountain OHV area range from novice level to suitable only for advanced riders. There are also a couple of mud pits available, but they are seasonal and weather dependent. 


There are also a lot of resources nearby for people who want to ride in the Brown Mountain OHV trail area, including the required trail pass you need to ride in this area. 


Primitive camping is also available, and there are nearby vendors for last-minute things, fresh food, and other local goods. 


You might want to plan on camping here as well. There's always a chance that you'll see one of the mysterious orbs of light that sometimes appear around Brown Mountain.


Black Swamp OHV Area


The Black Swamp OHV area is open year-round, though there can be extreme weather closures at any time, and the area will sometimes close in anticipation of extreme weather, regardless of if the weather actually hits. 


There are about eight miles of ATV trails in this area. There are plenty of things you can do and explore while you’re here, though. You’ll probably want to ride the trails more than once if you can. 


It’s mostly a flat area, and most of the trails aren’t that challenging in normal conditions. However, this area is a swamp and it does get muddy in some conditions on the trail. It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for mud pits and turn back if you think trail conditions are getting to be a little too much.


Busco Beach and ATV Park and Campground


If you love riding your ATV on sand, Busco Beach is one of the places you don’t want to miss. This is an ATV park specifically designed to appeal to a wide range of skill levels and give you whatever kind of experience you want to have. 


There is a sandy beach along one perimeter of the park, as well as mud and sand pits, deep water crossings, and plenty of deep woods trails. 


At the campground, you have options for primitive camping to maximize your time in the park.


Carolina Backwoods ATV


Carolina Backwoods ATV is 200 acres of private property for ATV riding. There are cabins and campers on site available to rent, as well as RV hookups and primitive campsites. 


However, there is a small drawback to this location, despite the beautiful location and the many different trail options on this property. 


That is that you are required to register before you arrive, and only ATV tour guests and campers are allowed to ride on the property. 


They do not accept walkup reservations to the tour, so you must register in advance even if you aren’t planning to camp there.


Cape Fear ATV/MX Park


If you are looking for family oriented ATV experiences in North Carolina, this is a good place to go. It’s also a great place for camping and fishing, which means that there is fun for the whole family, even if you want to bring a large group. 


This location also has occasional events, including live music and other entertainment, mostly on the weekends. You’ll have to look at their calendar if you want to plan a trip when they have entertainment available on site. 


The riding itself is fantastic in this location. You have access to a full motocross track, 30 miles of woods trails, and both shallow and deep ponds. There are also mud pits and sand pits available in this park, so you have a little bit of everything you could ask for at this location. 


Primitive camping is allowed. There are restrooms, hot showers available on site, and cabin rentals. In addition there is a concession stand with food and drinks, as well as spaces for RVs, including larger RVs.


Outback ATV/MX Park


If you weren’t already impressed with the number of ATV parks available in North Carolina, here’s another one you won’t want to miss. This park has 800 acres of trails, which include a drag strip and 50 acres of sand pits to experiment and have fun in. 


There are also ponds, a mug bog, and other adventures to be found throughout the property. 


This park also allows camping and has RV hookups. They are open daily from 9 to dusk, year round, but it’s important to call ahead and check on conditions since weather and maintenance closures are possible. 


As an added bonus, gasoline is available on site.


Wayehutta OHV Trail System


Wayehutta is part of the Nantahala National Forest, and contains 28 miles of trail loops. There is a ton of forest vegetation throughout, but you can also expect to see bridge crossings, rocky trails, and some challenging areas. 


Plus, the Wayehutta OHV trail system is well known for an iconic waterfall you can see from the trails. 


There are trails ranging from novice to highly challenging. 


However, the old self-service station here was closed down, and all passes must be purchased in advance before you arrive.


Uwharrie OHV


This trail system is a good destination if you have a mixed vehicle group or are looking for a little more of a challenge and don’t mind that not every area of the trail system is going to be very accessible to ATVs. This area is often most popular with Jeeps, but all vehicle types are permitted. 


Nearby amenities include primitive parking for free, first come first serve at Art Lilley Campground. There are also a couple of full-service campgrounds nearby. 


You are required to have an OHV trail pass to use this area, and it’s important to look at the maps and difficulty ratings before you head out. All of the trails out of the Cotton Place Staging area are rated extremely difficult, and they mean it. 


But, there are a total of 20 miles of trails here, and both intermediate and expert level riders should have plenty to keep them entertained.


Brushy Mountain Motor Sports Park


Brushy Mountain Motor Sports Park offers 75 miles of trails over a sprawling 1,700 acres open to ATV riding. 


However, all trails are multi-use trails, so you should expect to be sharing space with a lot of other vehicles, and there can be some significant crowds at this park.


Of course, since you aren’t spoiled for choice in North Carolina, you can always choose another less crowded spot if you realize there are too many people at this sports park. 


Plus, the sprawling size and wide range of trail difficulties and experiences can make it a lot more fun, even on the most crowded days.


Frequently Asked Questions About North Carolina ATV Trails


Here are some of the most common questions we get about North Carolina trails.


Can I Find Family Friendly ATV Trails in North Carolina? 


Yes! There are a ton of different family friendly trails options in North Carolina. Of all the options we’d probably recommend going to Cape Fear or Outback for the best family friendly full service ATV parks. There are a ton of different ways to have fun at these locations, and they tend to have more services and options available so you can have a simpler trip without needing to spend a lot of time getting supplies or moving between ATV areas. 


Of course, there are novice and family-friendly trails at almost every trail system in North Carolina, so you really do have your pick of places to go. If you’re looking for a shorter trip or more of a day trip you can go to one of the trailheads instead of a full service park.


What Equipment Do I Need For ATV Riding In North Carolina? 


The main requirements are that you always need to have a helmet, goggles, long sleeves and long pants on when you’re riding an ATV. Over the ankle boots and riding gloves are also recommended. 


You should also double-check that your ATV is in complete working order and ready for the conditions on your chosen trail or park. 


All drivers need to be at least 16 years old and fully licensed. You may additionally want suspension, bumper, cage, and roof upgrades depending on the trail and the conditions you want to tackle while you’re out.


Are There Any Specific Rules For ATV Riding in North Carolina? 


ATV laws in North Carolina, like many states, are based on motorcycle laws. All ATVs must be registered, tagged, and insured, and drivers are required to wear both a helmet and protective glasses or goggles at all times. 


Here are some community safety tips and regulations for ATV driving in North Carolina.


Ready To Hit the Trails? 


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