Ditch the Road, Embrace the Dirt: Top ATV Off-Road Destinations
Immerse into timeless, untamed (and unpaved) environs destined to ignite a sense of adventure.
Travel and adventure have taken on new meaning in the post-pandemic world. Once-opted for international jaunts yielded way to more accessible, therapeutic escapades of the domestic sort. Ten million households embarked upon their first camping excursion in 2021, national parks obliterated previous attendance records, and a newfound flexibility of remote work spawned a road trip resurgence and soaring affinity for conversion vans and RVs.
With nearly one-third of travelers seeking adventurous alternatives to the nation’s 63 national jewels, national forests and other public lands have stepped in to shoulder the burden. For some, off-roading acts as a gateway to such places. Vast, rugged domains are begging to be explored, and few outfitters provide a more robust cornucopia of off-grid escapes from office desk monotony than Polaris Adventures, the experience branch of the renowned all-terrain vehicle manufacturer.
By partnering with a nationwide network of rental outfitters, Polaris Adventures provides the vehicles needed by off-roading and outdoor enthusiasts to immerse in timeless, untamed (and unpaved) environs—sun, rain, or snow—destined to ignite a sense of adventure and childlike excitement.
Some anxious to take that next step toward backcountry adventure are inevitably unsure where to start. Fortunately, the staff at the off-roading behemoth surveyed each of their nationwide outfitters to determine which destinations off-road fans enjoy flocking to the most. Results were compiled into a top-10 list of “Most Adventurous Cities,” listed in order below, from most popular on down, alongside each location’s corresponding outfitter.
1. Sedona, Arizona
Two different outfitters—Sedona ATV and Red Rock ATV Rentals—lead the charge in this northern Arizona outdoor mecca. Visitors can take Sedona’s trails by storm in a Polaris RZR or Ranger, visit the Honanki Ruins, and enjoy sights of expansive vistas and renowned red rock features like the Devil’s Bridge, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Airport Mesa. Self-guided tours range from two hours to a full day.
2. Estes Park, Colorado
Visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park won’t have far to go to reach Estes Park ATV Rental, a family-run business with encyclopedic knowledge of the myriad regional adventures available, including a tour of the 1965 crash site of an Air Force T-33 jet, reachable during the summer months when the snow has melted. The site is 18 miles from Estes Park and traverses marshlands that easily spotted moose call home.
3. Gorham, New Hampshire
One of three locations in the top 10 not based in the West, Gorham’s Northeast Snowmobile and ATV Rental offers guided and self-guided tours through more than 500 miles of the Jericho Mountains. Excursions run from a few hours to multiple days.
4. Hurricane, Utah
A short distance west of Zion National Park, Hurricane’s Mad Moose Rentals delivers a smorgasbord of adventures for all skill levels. From enjoying sunset tours and unmistakable sights of Zion’s towering red rock sentinels to navigating networks of trails encompassing sand dunes, canyon rims and a waterfall oasis, southwestern Utah offers something for everyone.
5. Custer, South Dakota
Three different outfitters dot outdoor sanctuaries Custer, Spearfish, and Hill City. Of particular interest for visitors should be self-guided options through Black Hills National Forest, home to hundreds of miles of motorized trails that bend through its 1.2 million acres of aspen groves, spruce forests, streams, and meadows. Well-hidden cave systems, abandoned mines, and ghost towns may also be spotted by those with keen eyes.
6. Kanab, Utah
Another southern Utah gem, Kanab is a gateway to infinite outdoor pursuits. Visitors can stop by the Kanab Tour Company to gear up for guided, single-day ATV tours through geological marvels such as White Pocket, Hog Canyon and Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon, a destination comparable to, yet appreciatively less crowded than, the popular Antelope Canyon 80 miles to its east.
7. Silverton, Colorado
In the heart of the San Juan Mountains, Silverton Rock and Ice Pirates provides half- or full-day rentals and guided tours ready to squire you across 55,000 acres of southwestern Colorado, where wilderness, soaring mountain peaks, wildlife, mining ghost towns, and expansive fields of wildflowers await. For a full day option, try the 63-mile Alpine Loop that slices two mountain passes en route to alpine lakes and towns rich with 1800s history.
8. North Bend, Oregon
Spinreel Dune Buggy & ATV Rental in the coastal Oregonian town of North Bend ushers off-roaders onto a vast blanket of sand dunes that gives way to evergreen forests, all part of a trail system that can satisfy just about any adventurer. Wildlife watching and views of Coos Bay and the historic McCullough Memorial Bridge highlight guided and self-guided tours along this stunning stretch of the Pacific Ocean.
9. Attica, Indiana
Attica is billed as one of the top off-road destinations in the Midwest. There, Adventure Rentals, also called Badlands Off-Road Park, offers half- and full-day excursions to get down and dirty on backcountry trails. Oh, and the park has its own off-road track.
10. Wickenburg, Arizona
Rounding out the top 10 is a Old West-style town approximately 65 miles northwest of Phoenix, where Happy Trails Powersports Rentals ushers visitors out, either self-guided or with a tour guide, onto more than 700 miles of trails traversing soft sand, canyons—Wickenburg Box Canyon is a must-see—and the rare desert commodity of water. Tours range from two to 24 hours.
No matter the destination, off the grid is a great place to be. Learn more about how Polaris Adventures can get you started. Hope to see you out there!