Off-roading is an exhilarating way to explore the great outdoors and experience some of the most stunning landscapes the United States has to offer. And here’s the best part - there’s no small number of National Parks where you can do just that.
Whether you’re driving a Jeep, ATV, or dune buggy, we’ve put together a list of the top seven National Parks for off-roading - and the spots you don’t want to miss adding to your next adventure!
1. Canyonlands National Park, Utah
We kick off our tour of national parks with The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. Located just southwest of Moab,
Utah, this area offers some fantastic trails to hit. With over 50 miles of 4x4 roads within the park's boundaries, you'll need a high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle less than 22 feet long.
The park offers several backcountry vehicle campsites that accommodate up to 10 people and three vehicles.
While the Needles District offers exceptional off-roading opportunities, Moab, Utah, is renowned for some of the best riding in the world. The terrain is harsh and unforgiving, with legendary scenery consisting of rocks, boulders, and everything in between.
A demanding adventure, it calls for intense physical and mechanical skill. Trails like the Paiute take you between huge cliffs, providing an unforgettable off-roading experience!
2. Death Valley National Park, California/Nevada
Straddling the border between California and Nevada, Death Valley is the largest national park in the 48 contiguous United States.
The park boasts hundreds of miles of roads accessible only to high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles, including many that require experience and a high level of technical driving skills.
One of our top spots to check out for fantastic offroading is Echo Park. Echo Pass is located within Death Valley and offers a challenging off-roading experience for all types of thrill seekers.
With tough terrain and blazing weather conditions, this trail is not for the faint of heart. Despite its difficulty, the stunning views and unique landscape make it a must-visit for off-roading enthusiasts - you’ll be glad you came!
3. Big Bend National Park, Texas
If you’ve been in the offroading game long, you’ve probably already come across Big Bend. Big Bend National Park offers off-roading enthusiasts the opportunity to explore its rugged desert environment on dozens of miles of primitive dirt roads.
High clearance and four-wheel drive are essential for conquering the park's terrain, including the challenging Black Gap Road. The park features many areas to set up camp and enjoy the views of the distant mountains and canyons and opportunities to view local wildlife such as deer, javelina, and coyotes.
4. Badlands National Park, South Dakota
The Badlands - the official national park of South Dakota - is an off-roader’s dream. The stunning terrain consists of towering buttes, deep canyons, and razor-sharp ridges that will test even the most experienced driver.
The South Unit of Badlands National Park offers off-roading enthusiasts the chance to explore the park's backcountry on Sheep Mountain Table Road. This trail may not be particularly long, but the views of the badlands from the top of Sheep Mountain are well worth the effort.
Take note - camping is not allowed along the road, but campgrounds are available within the park. Whether you want to hit the area for a quick drive or plan a longer stay, be sure to check out the South Unit of Badlands National Park.
5. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado
A wonder of the natural world, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve offers an incredible off-roading experience. Here you can drive across immense sand dunes, trek through vast valleys, and explore the unique wildlife that calls Colorado home.
Choosing from the many offroading options in Colorado is tough, but Great San Dunes is sure to be a memorable experience. Be sure to bring the right equipment, and if you'd like an extra challenge, consider tackling the Medano Pass!
For a unique off-roading experience, venture to the Medano Pass. This “Primitive Road” traverses the 10,000-foot Medano Pass. High clearance and four-wheel drive are required to navigate this trail, which offers access to the park's spectacular Medano Lake. And if you need a pit stop, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the area's prehistoric ruins.
6. Sequoia National Forest, California
Ready to be amazed by the beauty of nature? If so, you need to check out Sequoia National Forest in California. Here you'll find everything from granite cliffs and cascading waterfalls to redwood trees and lush meadows.
Although Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks do not permit off-roading, BUT the neighboring Kern River Ranger District of Sequoia National Forest is home to numerous 4x4 trails. While no giant sequoia groves exist in the Kern District, the nearby Western Divide Ranger District offers the stunning Trail of 100 Giants, which passes through a grove of 125 massive trees. So you can get the best of both worlds in California!
7. Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida
Last - but certainly not least - is Big Cypress National Preserve, located in Florida. The preserve is home to a variety of ecosystems, including cypress swamps and pine flatwoods.
Adjacent to Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve shares the same ecosystem and permits off-road vehicles on its extensive system of roads and trails.
Permits are required, and you’ll want to ensure that water levels make it possible to navigate the area. Camping is available in and around the preserve, and the Everglades Chickee Cabins offer a unique accommodation option.
Make Your Next Offroading Excursion Perfect with Goats Trail
Whether you're an experienced off-roader or a beginner looking to explore the great outdoors, these national parks offer some of the best off-roading opportunities in the United States. With diverse landscapes ranging from rugged deserts to lush forests, there's an adventure waiting for every off-roading enthusiast.
So, pack up your 4x4 vehicle and hit the trails for an unforgettable journey through America's most stunning natural wonders. And while you're at it, grab some gear from Goats Trail Off-Road Apparel Company. As a leader in offroading-inspired clothing and gear, you are sure to look and feel your best while you're out there exploring.
Visit us online today and have a blast exploring the great outdoors!