Kentucky was dressed to impress for the running of the Kentucky Derby, offering a glimpse of this beautiful state known primarily as the heart of horse country. And while miles of white fences framing lush paddocks come to mind when we think of Kentucky, there’s more to see and do in the Bluegrass state for those with a passion for the outdoors. Always offering great vistas and views, there are miles of trails waiting to tempt 4×4, ATV and dirt bike riders to get off-road in Kentucky and come out and play. Here are four places not to miss.

1. Turkey Bay OHV Trails

Known as one of the most stunningly beautiful trail systems in the country, Turkey Bay OHV Trails surprises with more than 100 miles of trails spanning a variety of terrain and offering difficulty levels from the fun “Turkey Trot” area for kids to the challenging climbs, twists and turns for experts. The area is open all year and you’ll need a permit to ride – $60 annually. Some camping is available at $8 per night. Located in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. 

2. Redbird Crest Trails

Get your permit to ride at the Redbird Crest Trails. Day passes are $7 or a full year is just $40 – and explore this scenic trail system in the vast Daniel Boone National Forest near Manchester. The area offers more than 150 miles of multi-use trails varying in length and difficulty. The trail system features two big inner loops and a connector trail to a private off-highway vehicle campground, and there are three developed trailheads with vehicle parking available. Signs at each trailhead indicate the type of use permitted along each section: the trails are available for OHVs, hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers. 

3. Mine Made Paradise Adventure Park

Challenging hills and plenty of steep ridges at the Mine Made Paradise Adventure Park and creek crossings provide a wealth of opportunity for enthusiasts to test themselves over 200 miles of OHV trails cut through 42,000 acres of land being systematically reforested after decades of strip mining. This reclaimed coal land in the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky has well-marked loop trails open to ATVs, side-by-sides, and 32 miles of trails exclusively dedicated to dirt bikes. This is also the home of the Knott County ATV and Street Bike Training Center, the only ATV Safety Training Center in the U.S., which also includes a skills test course and access to hundreds of miles of trails to try out your improved moves. 

4. Black Mountain Off Road Adventure Area

Boasting over 7000 acres of mountain terrain, Black Mountain Off Road Adventure Area is located in Harlen County, with trails that reach elevations up to 3000 feet and include great views and challenging obstacles to test riders of every skill level. The majority of the trails here are for multi-use, and open to all types of vehicles including ATVs, side-by-sides, dirt bikes, jeeps and buggies with some specific trails restricted to dirt bikes and ATV use only. Spread over 8000 acres of rugged mountain terrain, you’ll encounter plenty of rock climbs and a fair number of mud pits, and a wide variety of experiences and levels of difficulty. The trails here were created from old strip mining and logging roads. 

Photo credit: Flickr/Creative Commons