Kentucky is an up-and-coming state in the ATV riding world, quickly gaining a reputation for being one of the best places to ride ATVs in the country. Like Tennessee, Kentucky has an incredibly diverse range of environments, different kinds of wildlands, and plenty of space for sprawling ATV trails.
Regardless of what types of Kentucky off-roading or ATV trails you’re looking for, this list has something for you.
There are too many places to explore and things to do in Kentucky for one article — or one trip — to cover them all, so we’re going to talk about the best of the best.
Best Places for Trail Rides or Exploring Off-Roading in Kentucky
There are a ton of trails and places to explore Kentucky’s wildlands. This list is curated for all experience levels and skill levels. There are trails all throughout the state, along with remarkable landmarks and incredible wildlife.
Of course, if you need more ATV equipment ahead of your trip, check out Thumper Fab’s ATV accessories. We’re happy to help get you ready for anything in Kentucky, or anywhere else. We can also help with racks, and just about anything else you need.
Now, let’s get into the Kentucky locations where you might be using that gear:
Big Dog OHV Route
This is a smaller track, just a single route through Daniel Boone National Forest. However, this trail is available to ride year-round, it's novice-friendly, and it's breathtaking.
This whole track runs along a creek, with relaxed and easy riding terrain, beautiful forest views, and the opportunity to see wildlife while you’re riding.
The nice thing about the Big Dog route is that this is a great family trail. It doesn’t take a ton of time to ride the whole thing, but you’ll find yourself wanting to come back to revisit those views whenever you can.
Eagle Creek Hare Scramble Park
If you're looking for a motocross track with access to trail riding nearby, Eagle Creek is the place to go. There are a lot of options here with 20 miles of trails in addition to the track.
This area is designed primarily for intermediate riders looking to work on their skills. There’s less of a challenge here for advanced riders, but more than enough for intermediate riders to sink their teeth into.
We don’t recommend coming here as a true novice. While some trails are safe for novice riders, the majority of the attractions and trails here are designed for people with a little more experience under their belts.
Earlington Lock Mary Lake ATV Park
If you love lakeside ATV riding, this is a good place to explore. There are 500 acres of hardwood forest here, with trails for people of all skill levels.
Usually, this park is open all week long, but they do temporarily close during hunting season to allow for undisturbed hunting access to those areas.
There are also RV camping options in this park, which makes it a great destination for people who love to ride ATVs in comfort. It’s also just a fantastic place to go when you want to relax and have a fun camping or RV trip.
Daniel Boone National Forest OHV Trails
There are a lot of trails within the Daniel Boone National Forest (including several of the trail systems we’re about to list), and pretty much all of those trail systems are fantastic options for anyone interested in woodland ATV riding.
We're going to highlight a few of the specific trail systems because of how popular, beautiful, or well-maintained those trails tend to be; however, any of the ATV trails in the Daniel Boone National Forest are likely a good option.
If you’re curious about a particular loop of the OHV trails in the Daniel Boone National Forest, you can call the closest ranger station to learn more.
White Sulphur OHV Trail System
This smaller set of trails in the Daniel Boone National Forest offers 17 miles of riding trails and a combination of forest service access trails and hiking trails. That does mean that this is a multi-use area, but the well-maintained trails mean that this is still a good area for beginners to explore.
As long as you don’t mind the slightly slower pace you’ll need to keep other people safe on these trails, there are some truly spectacular forest views here.
This trail system is open from May 1st to November 30th every year, barring temporary maintenance or weather closures.
Redbird District is close to the Virginia and West Virginia border and offers four different OHV trails. There are more than 100 miles of trail associated with each of those four trail systems, and many different trailheads, so you can enter from a wide range of points.
There are ranger districts nearby keeping an eye on things, so you can always expect up-to-date safety information, along with well-maintained trails, clear markers, and warnings about weather problems or unusual wildlife activity near the trails.
This district is thought to be one of the best places to access Daniel Boone National Forest, which can make it a particularly popular choice.
Turkey Bay OHV Area
Understandably, with as much as there is to do in that large an area, there are hiking trails in addition to the OHV area, campgrounds, and the area is also popular with fishermen.
In Turkey Bay, there are more than 100 miles of OHV trails, including the 'turkey trot' for new drivers 16 years old or younger to practice their riding even before they’re able to be a solo driver in other areas.
There are two camping areas with 24-hour electric generators, or several other campsites if you don't mind going without electricity.
Nashville, TN is about 90 minutes away, and Paducah, KY is only 30 minutes away.
The trails in this area are well-marked, cater to a wide variety of skill levels, and can give you hundreds of unique and exciting experiences.
Wildcat Adventures Off Road Park
This park sprawls over 2,000 acres of forestland, with 100 miles of trails. The nice thing about this park is that there are trails for all experience levels and interests, and the trails are well-marked and highly visible.
While it’s always a good idea to have a map of the trails on hand when you’re riding, the flags and marks on these trails make it much harder to get lost.
You will need a daily or weekly pass to get in here, but the passes themselves are affordable and usually easy to get.
There are also 42 RV sites in this part, as well as a campground, and water, sewer, and electrical hookups so you can stay here in style.
Wright’s Area 252 Riding Park
Just outside of the town of Berkley, this riding area offers 12 miles of trails right next to the Mississippi River. There are a lot of different opportunities to practice your skills on this little trail, from a mud pit to steep terrain.
This area is growing, so there may actually be more trails here when you make it out to visit.
This trail area is only open on weekends right now, but it's a completely free ATV trail, which is relatively rare in Kentucky.
While smaller, the Area 252 Trading Post helps make this one of the more comfortable trails you can find in Kentucky, despite being free. The trading post offers drinks and snacks you can grab on the go, and even has some riding gear you can pick up if you forget something.
There are several small towns nearby, as well as the city of Paducah less than an hour’s drive away.
Top ATV Parks To Visit In Kentucky
Here are some of the other ATV parks that offer a mixed outdoor recreational experience:
Dirty Turtle Off-Road Park
Dirty Turtle might be changing in the near future, but the park is currently open on weekends and offers daily rates for visitors. There are 286 acres of trails, which is a little smaller than some of the alternatives. But, with Dirty Turtle’s idyllic location next to the Ohio River, you’ll want to see every inch of those 286 acres.
Hollerwood Offroad Park
Right next to Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge State Park, this offroad park has 100 miles of trails to ride, as well as 3,000 acres of natural Kentucky wildlands. Like a lot of offroading parks in Kentucky, this park is open 24/7, but you do need to get a pass to be there. There's no daily rate; instead, you'll purchase either a 30-day or annual pass for the park.
Blue Holler Off-Road Park
The trails are marked, but there aren't any ratings here, and a lot of the trail experiences can feel more like off-roading than a curated trail. There are camping opportunities here, as well as 50-amp hookup sites.
This park is open year-round and has enough space for larger vehicles as well as ATVs.
Guided ATV Tours In Kentucky
There are a few different ATV-guided tour companies in Kentucky. A guided tour can be a fantastic way to find family-friendly ATV trails or to try a new form of outdoor recreation in the Bluegrass State.
Often the best ATV trails in Kentucky are featured on these tours. That means these can make one of the best ways to see more of Kentucky’s beautiful landscapes, with an extra layer of safety and security thanks to your guide.
Trailblaze Outfitters offers a range of guided trail rides in Kentucky, or you can look around for other companies or guides. Check campsite and cabin rentals for local recommendations, or see if there are ATV clubs that can recommend guides during your visit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any age restrictions for ATV riders on Kentucky trails?
In general, ATV operators need to be at least 16 years of age and have their own license. However, there are a few youth ATV areas in Kentucky where younger teens can operate an ATV without a license, as long as they have parental permission and a signature.
What’s the best time of year to explore ATV trails in Kentucky?
Kentucky ATV trails tend to be available anytime between May and early December. Within that window, we just recommend aiming for the weather type you prefer for your trip, whether that’s late spring, the middle of summer, or through the autumn.
Are there any regulations or permits required for ATV riding in Kentucky?
There aren’t any specific permits, though all operators are required to have a valid driver’s license and to follow all applicable traffic laws while operating their ATVs.
Kentucky has a host of different options when it comes to finding a perfect ATV trail riding experience that is suited to your needs, both in skill level and landscape preference. When it comes to riding, however, you need to make sure you’re doing it in style.
After confirming that your ATV is operating as it should, it’s time to trick it out. You want a vehicle that represents your unique personality, so check out what Thumper Fab has to offer, from racks to roofs!