From the beautiful coastline to the grand mountains, North Carolina is rich with off-road trails and terrain. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet has the best car for all of your off-road adventures with the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.
No matter your skill level North Carolina is sure to have terrain for you with the beaches and the mountains.
Uwharrie National Forest in Troy, North Carolina has several public OHV Trails, a pass is required there is the option for a $ 5-day pass or $ 30-year pass. The trails are open from April-December. Uwharrie was founded as a national forest in 1961, prior to becoming a national forest the land was used for hunting, gold mining, logging, and farming. From prior activities, a collection of roads and trails were made which are now used by off-road enthusiasts and has become the foundation of for the OHV trail systems.
Dutch John (TR90) is an easy-moderate 2.1-mile trail with diverse terrain and scenery which includes several creek crossings, trenched hill climb, which has become one of the picturesque locations in Uwharrie.
Falls Dam (TR96) is an easy 2.8-mile OHV trail located in Uwharrie National Forest. Drivers are exposed to almost every terrain while winding their way through the forest. This trail is ideal for beginners and anyone who wants to take in a gentle ride and soak in the brilliant surroundings. The “soup bowl” is toward the northern end of the trail and one of the more notable attractions in Uwharrie. The “soup bowl” is a deep pool of muddy water that is technically named “Lake Leigh”. There is a degree of risk if you take the plunge, the entire pool including the rim is slick clay, and the water level can exceed four feet in areas at times, so be safe but have fun!
Rocky Mountain Loop (TR92) is an easy-moderate 1.9-mile OHV trail located in Uwharrie National Forest. Unfortunately due to the closing of one of the sections the Rocky Mountain loop no longer makes a complete loop. However, it circles around the northern part and intersects with Sawmill (TR93), Slab Pile (TR79), Dickey Bell (TR91) and Daniel (TR390) along the way. This trail can be explored by any skill level, and if you spend the day in Uwharrie National Forest you’re sure to run into it.
Sawmill (TR93) is an easy 0.9-mile OHV trail in Uwharrie National Forest. Although it is a relatively short trail it carries drivers through the wide mix of terrain and connects them to other trails of varying difficulty with beautiful sceneries.
Slab Pile (TR79) is an easy but fairly rough 1.1-mile OHV trail. Slab Pile is a scenic trail that can be driven with any level of a vehicle. It takes you by “poser rock”, which is a massive rock that sits in the middle of the clearing is a popular spot for people to push the vertical limits of their vehicle to the extreme. This is one place on the Uwharrie bucket list that you shouldn’t miss!
Wolf Den (TR89) is a short easy 0.95-mile OHV trail that provides an opportunity for novice drivers. Wolf Den is popular to experience Uwharrie’s magnificent landscape on wheels and access other trails.
Conditions permitting the rustic 8-mile road of the Smoky Mountains at Parsons Branch Road has 18 creek crossing and tough mountain terrain making for a field day for experienced off-roaders. This road also connects to “Tail of the Dragon,” which is notorious for having 318 curves in 11 miles.
The only OHV area in the Pisgah National Forest is Brown Mountain offering 34 miles of designated trails. It is close to Morganton and Lenoir, passes are required for purchase $5 a day or $30 a year.
With the beautiful coastline of North Carolina, it is time to take a drive to the beach. There are many driveable beaches all along the coast. Lowering the tire pressure it is recommended to lower their tire pressure, that off-roading on the beach will want to bring a low-pressure tire gauge, as well as a jack and a shovel, as required by the National Park Service.
In Wilmington, we have Freeman Park with beautiful sand dunes, wildlife, and the majestic beach. At Freeman Park, there is overnight camping at the beach which must be reserved in advance and passes must be obtained for driving on the beach. It is a trash free park, so no littering, we want to keep our beaches safe and beautiful.
If you’re actively fishing night driving as well as overnight parking is accessible year-round on Corolla. During peak vacation time between the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day, a parking permit is required.
Just south of Corolla is Kill Devil Hills a beautiful location which only allows driving between October 1st and April 30th. All vehicles must have insurance, registrations, current safety inspections and driving permits which can be obtained through the
Town of Kill Devil Hills or Nags Head. Nags Head is just south of Kill Devil Hills and they share the same requirements along with the schedule for beach driving. They will both honor each other’s beach driving permits.
Cape Lookout is just a 3-mile boat ride off-shore where horse watching, shelling, fishing, birding, camping, lighthouse climbing, and touring historic villages can be experienced. To drive on the beach you must obtain a permit and a free ORV certificate.
On the Outer Banks, there are 17 vehicle access ramps along the shores of Cape Hatteras.
While off-roading can be a lot of fun remember it can also be dangerous so be sure always let someone know where you will be and when you expect to be back because some location may not have cell service. Check with the National Park Service to make sure it is safe to ride the trails or beaches. Stay in the designated areas as some areas are protected wildlife and could be dangerous to you or others if going off the trails.