Believe it or not, the West Coast isn’t necessarily the best coast when it comes to off-roading. Sure, they’ve got some amazing views, but there’s plenty of good off-roading backcountry in our neck of the woods. Namely, the Great Smoky Mountains, Cumberland Gap, and even just outside of Nashville, Tennessee.

Take a look at some of our favorite trails, but keep in mind that you will be driving all of these trails at your own risk. Please be respectful of the land and property and make sure to do your own research into legality and safety of the area. Nashville RV assumes no responsibility for anything that happens on the road or off the road. In other words, don’t be an idiot.

Catoosa Wildlife Management Area

Catoosa Wildlife Management Area is a sizable game-management area on the Upper Cumberland Plateau. Located in the Tennessee counties of Morgan, Cumberland, and Fentrees, the area consists of 96,000 acres of wild land administered by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and though it is funded by hunters and fishermen, it is popular amongst hikers, backpackers, and whitewater rafters as well. Even better? It also hosts several gravel and dirt track four-wheel drive roads for ultimate motorized exploration. In fact, since several rivers and streams have cut deep canyons into the Cumberland Plateau and Cumberland mountains, Catoosa offers everything from gentle rolling hills, beautiful vistas, and some of the most rugged and extreme terrain in the nation.

Use the links below to plan your off-road adventure at Catoosa Wildlife Management Area!

Daniel Boone National Forest

The Daniel Boone National Forest embraces some of the most rugged terrain west of the Appalachian Mountains and home to more than 780,000 acres of views and 150 miles of incredible Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) trails. Featuring steep forested slopes, sandstone cliffs, three large lakes, several rivers and streams, and so much more, this hot spot is a great place to go off-roading. Keep in mind, however, that some trails are multiple use, meaning they are shared by two or more trail user groups including horseback riders, hikers, and mountain bikers, so make sure you know how to share the trail.

With so much space to roam, there are several trails of varying difficulties and experience levels to choose from at Daniel Boone National Forest including the Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway, the Big Dog OHV Route, the Goodwater OHV Route, the Gulf Ridge OHV Route, the Pine Creek OHV Route, The Redbird Crest Trail, the Renfro OHV Route, the Rock Ridge OHV Route, the S-Tree OHV Route, the Seller’s Ridge OHV Route, the Straight Creek OHV Route, the Turkey FOot OHV Route, the White Sulphur ATV Trail, and the Yellow Cliff OHV ROute.

Use this link to learn more about the forest as a whole or visit our blog post specifically detailing our favorite off-roading trails at Daniel Boone National Forest!

Land Between The Lakes

If you’ve never been to the Land Between The Lakes on the western side of where Kentucky meets Tennessee, we’d highly recommend you change that fact. Land Between The Lakes hosts hundreds of miles of unpaved roads along with plenty of places to camp. Even better, it’s a great spot for the whole family, including educational adventures such as the homestead, the planetarium, and the Elk & Bison Prairie where wildlife roams free within a 700 acre enclosure.

Land Between The Lakes also includes:

  • 190 Acres wildlife refuges
  • 200 Wildlife watering holes
  • 261 Miles hiking trails
  • 106 Miles horse trails
  • 70 Miles mountain bike trails
  • 100 Miles off-road vehicle trails (Turkey Bay – suitable for road legal and off road only)
  • 444 Miles scenic roads (Mostly unpaved, a lot unmaintained too)
  • 14 Designated basic camping areas with lake access
  • 1400 Camp sites (4 developed campgrounds, 3 self-service primitive, 14 designated backcountry camping areas)

If you’re here strictly for the off-roading advice, we’d recommend Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area and Campground. Click here for the Land Between The Lakes website or here for a blog post detailing our favorite Off-Roading Trails!

The Kentucky Adventure Tour

The Kentucky Adventure Tour, aka the KAT, is a 1000+ mile overland route spanning most of southeastern Kentucky and dipping into Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. This impressive overlanding route intended for road legal vehicles actually features two different versions, one for motorcycles and one for 4x4s. Though the route utilizes some trails and roads inside OHV areas and offroad parks, it is otherwise off limits to off-road only vehicles.

Use this link to visit the Kentucky Adventure Tour Website or visit our blog post specifically detailing our favorite off-roading trails and helpful tips to make the most out of your visit!

Tennessee Dirt Devil

In 2008, a bunch of off-roading enthusiasts got together and through blood, sweat, old fashioned map tracking, and lots of long nights, created a dream off-roading destination right in Middle Tennessee. The Tennessee Dirt Devil features over 200 miles of overlooks, bluffs, waterfalls, creek crossings, and beautiful rolling hills as well as a riding area that is estimated to be 75% old country dirt roads and 25% paved ones. No doubt one of the best dual sport motorcycle riding in Middle Tennessee and beyond, specifically for those looking for beginner to moderate-level riding. Take it from us, you need to experience the TN Dirt Devil for its scenery and non-brutal terrain. It’s just challenging enough to make you feel like you’re doing something but not to a point where you damage your ride.

Click here to visit the Tennessee Dirt Devil Website!

Transamerica Trail

If you consider yourself an offroader, the Transamerica Trail is a serious must-experience. From scenic vistas and unique attractions to rough terrain and even more challenging conditions, the Transamerica Trail presents each and every rider with an unforgettable journey and memories that will last a lifetime. With roughly 5,000 miles of cross continent vehicular routes, some of the most beautiful of those routes are located in Tennessee and the surrounding area.

Keep in mind that traveling the entire length of the Transamerica Trail would take upwards of 90 days. But the Southern sections? That could just take all afternoon. Buckle your seatbelts and hit the road!

Click here to visit the Transamerica Trail Website, or here for our complete review of the Southern trail and how best to experience it.

Georgia Traverse

The Georgia Traverse is a collection of county, state, and forest service roads that together make up a (mostly) off-pavement route spanning across all of Northern Georgia. Designed to be traveled from east to west, the trail begins at Burrells Ford Road along the Georgia and South Carolina border. Total mileage of all paved and unpaved sections is 390 miles, and 226 of those miles are unpaved road surfaces such as gravel, dirt, or a combination of the two. We’ve found that the western portion of the Traverse offers less opportunities for off-pavement connectivity, so if you choose a side, choose east.

Click here for an interactive map of the Georgia Traverse. Happy offroading!

Windrock

If you haven’t heard of Windrock Park, you may as well be living under a rock. Just kidding. But seriously, Windrock Park is the largest privately-owned off-road recreation area in the entire country with over 73,000 acres of off-road trails, hiking trails, and mountain biking trails as well as a full-service campground and various events held there every year! If you’re an adrenaline junkie, Windrock is where it’s at. (Plenty of opportunities to relax there too, we might add.)

Click here to visit the Windrock website or here to read our comprehensive review of Windrock’s Off-Roading trails.

Honorable Mentions

Let us guess. You’ve been to all the above trails already and are looking for more? We got you! Here is a list of honorable mentions for off road enthusiasts!

  • Inman Point Road, Shingle Loop, Moore Ridge, and Limekiln Loop
  • Persimmon Road Loop
  • Brimstone Recreation OHV Trail
  • Pickett State Park Campground Loop
  • Ride Royal Blue OHV Trail
  • Rich Mountain OHV Trail
  • Schoolhouse Road

Click here to learn more about these honorable mentions for off-roading trails near Tennessee.