It starts small, just a few doughnuts in an empty, snow-covered parking lot. Before long driving on paved roadways feels so mundane and the urge to take a trip off-road seems like the only possible solution. Whether it’s on two wheels or four, few sensations are as satisfying as throwing up dust or mud or gravel on a trail through the mountains and mud puddles of Western PA. For those that revel in off road adventures, here are the best places for off-roading near Pitttsburgh.
Slippery Rock Dunes Outdoor Park
144 Barron Road
Slippery Rock, PA 16057
Located just 48 miles north of Pittsburgh, Slippery Rock Dunes is more than just an off-road park. With more than four miles of trails that range from mud pits and hill climbs to flat tracks and sections designated for beginners and youth riders, there’s something for riders of all experience levels there. The park has campgrounds, indoor bathrooms, food vendors and even an eight-acre pond for fishing. The price for a weekend pass at Slippery Rock Dunes is $30 and includes access to campgrounds, riding trails, activities and amenities.
Rocky Gap Trailhead
Pleasant Drive (State Road 3005/337)
Warren, PA 16365
Open year round, the Rock Gap Trailhead provides nearly 22 miles of trails for ATV’s, trail bikes, snowmobiles, horses and mountain bikes. Utilities at Rock Gap include convenient, paved parking lots, ramps for loading and off-loading and restrooms. Daily admission costs $10 per vehicle but season passes can be purchased for $35. The rider traffic is relatively low at Rocky Gap and given the vast size of it the trails are lightly used and in good riding condition.
Four Seasons Resort Campground And ATV Adventures
3 Camp Resort Road
West Finley, PA 15377
Price: $35 annual pass
The sprawling 850 acres of Four Seasons Resort is an off road recreationalist’ dream. There’s 35 miles of groomed ATV and motorbike trails. The difficulty of each stretch of trail is marked so everyone from beginners to seasoned riders can enjoy the Four Season experience. In addition to the off roading adventures, they also have an Olympic sized swimming pool, a lodge, motel, campgrounds, picnic pavilions and a variety of courts and ball fields. Click on the following link to view the entire 2013 Four Seasons Resort schedule of events.
Related: Best Boating Trips Near Pittsburgh
Marienville ATV/Bike Trail
State Route 66
Marienville, PA 16239
The Marienville ATV/Bike Trail totals more than 37 miles of riding trails located between the towns of Kane and Marienville along State Route 66. The trails are separated into two tracks, the bike trail, and the ATV trail. Of the two, the 23.1 mile bike trail is classified as most difficult and while both ATV’s and motor bikes are allowed on both tracks, riders are urged to use caution and be prepared for treacherous terrain. The ATV trail/loop, which is classified as more difficult, spans a total of 14.2 miles. Parking, bathrooms, and ramps are available at the trail head and season passes cost $35.
2469 William Flynn Highway Route 8
Butler, PA 16001
Switchback Raceway is one of the area’s foremost experts on everything ATV and motocross related. The Butler area raceway has established itself as a year round haven for serious riders in the Western Pennsylvania region. With three tracks, two outdoor and one indoor, Switchback is open year round. It’s a first rate spot for amateur riders looking for a little recreational fun and professionals looking to hone their skills. They also host Saturday Night Races throughout the summer and fall seasons.
Marcel Tourdot is a freelance writer from Pittsburgh. His work can be found at Examiner.com.