When it comes to finding off-road areas to enjoy in your 4X4 or on you ORV, the Department of Natural Resources maintains an extensive network of trails. To use them, you will need an ORV sticker available at www.mdnr-elicense.com or from a DNR office or Secretary of State office. There is also a complete listing online of the public trails in the state with descriptions of each area. But if you’re looking for serious adventure, check out these off-roading spots within a few hours of Detroit.
The Mounds Off-Road Park
6145 E. Mt. Morris Road
Mt. Morris, MI 48458
When most people think of the Genesee County Parks, they think of birds and hiking trails, But with four-wheelers, it is Mounds Off-Road Park that comes to mind. Considered by many off-roaders to be one of the premier off-road vehicle parks in the Great Lakes region, The Mounds offers challenges for drivers on ATVs, in Jeeps, trucks or just about anything else that is considered to be an off-road vehicle.
Bundies Hill Off-Road Park
9960 E. Chicago Road
Jerome, MI 49249
One of the newest places to get the tires off the asphalt is Bundies, which offers hill climbs, motocross, sand and mud all to be enjoyed. Unlike some of the commercial areas, at Bundies you can drive anything from ATVs or big 4X4s to sand rails, and the price is right with fees being $15 for an all-day pass for drivers and only $5 for each passenger. For those just getting into off-road driving, there is a beginners’ area to try wheeling around in.
8395 Cargill Road
Brown City, MI 48416
From motocross to ATVs, you will find a place at Freelin MX. It is a bit of a drive from Detroit, being located in the “Thumb,” but it is well worth the time. There are over 50 acres of tracks and trails to head down and a full list of services from food to restrooms. Although Freelin MX is known for its motocross competitions, four-wheelers will find a home here too with special events taking place monthly, which are listed on the Freelin MX website.
Rocks and Valleys Off-Road Park
3407 E. Mannsiding Road
Harrison, MI 48625
One of the newest off-road parks in the state is Rocks and Valleys, located a bit further away but again, well worth the drive. With over 200 acres covered with trails ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert, everyone will find a place to wheel. Drivers will find mud to splash through, rocks to climb over and hills to just plain climb. Rates are $20 per driver and $5 for each passenger. A waiver must be filled out and signed before drivers can take to the back roads and can be downloaded at www.rocksandvalleys.com.
Silver Lake State Park
9679 W. State Park Road
Mears, MI 49436
No doubt, being near Muskegon, Silver Lake State Park is not close to home, but if you are looking for a place to hit the back roads and the dunes, then this is the place to go. Nearly every location in the state with dunes is closed to ORV travel, but at Silver Lake, you will find a trail system that takes you through the woods and up onto the sand. A Michigan Recreation Passport (formerly state park pass) is required for entry as well as an ORV sticker. This is the place to go if you are seeking the adventure of driving the dunes and there is nowhere else in the state like it.
Award winning freelance writer and photographer Lawrence DiVizio is based in Southeast Michigan and works to convey in words and images the world around us. His work can be found at Examiner.com.