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The Best Offroad Destinations Near Chicago

The Top Offroad Destinations For Chicago, Illinois

RP Staff (November 2019)

Millennium Park in Chicago

The "Windy City" is known for amazing views of Lake Michigan, guided boat, kayak and canoe tours down a scenic river through the heart of the city, deep dish pizza, die hard sports fans, world class museums, unique architecture, jazz and blues music.

But did you know Chicago is just a couple hours away from some nicely maintained motocross tracks and offroad parks with decent trails? All you gotta do is take a little road trip in either direction for a one of a kind vacation.

Camping with Trails

Richard Bong State Park is the closest location with camping and ATV trails. The park is located in Wisconsin but is only about an hour north of Chicago, and features miles of nicely maintained ATV and dirt bike trails plus a campground with full hookups. There is no direct trail access from the campground, but the staging area is a short distance away.

Joliet Motosports is about an hour southwest but offers four nicely maintained motocross tracks and boasts the largest peewee track in the Midwest. Camping is permitted and you can even rent the track during non-scheduled practice and race days. After a day of riding grab a bite to eat and a cool drink at Backwaters Bar and Grill located next door.

Motoland is about an hour over in Indiana but is only open during select days. On the days there is scheduled practice the track is meticulously groomed and watered. As an added bonus, camping is allowed for no additional fee, so you can get a whole weekend of seat time in. The property also has a separate peewee track for the little guys.

Motocross rider on Kawasaki four stroke dirt bike railing a berm at Leisure Time MX.

Leisure Time is also located in Indiana but offers a natural terrain sand track that winds through some mixed hardwood trees. Camping is not permitted at the track but nearby Leisure Time Camp And Retreat Center offers a nice grassy trail that provides direct access to the park. Give them a call at (574) 249-2719 to reserve your spot.

ATV riding down old railroad bridge covered in trees and bushes on the Cheese Country Trail.

Tri-County Trails is about two hours north in Wisconsin but has numerous campgrounds and restaurants that are offroad friendly and provide direct access to the trail. This trail system is mostly a graded railroad bed but is perfect for bringing the family for a stress free weekend.

Red Polaris UTV with front winch navigating an easy woods trail at Badlands Off Road Park.

Badlands Offroad Park is a little over two hours away in Indiana but offers 800+ acres of various woods trails, sand dunes, mud bogs and rock plus numerous special events throughout the year. The property is also adjacent to a full service campground that features cabin and house rentals, plus direct trail access.

Two ATV riders and a UTV driver going through a deep mud hole at Atkinson Motorsports Park.

Atkinson MX Park is about two hours west but offers over 200 acres of twisty woods trails, hill climbs, scattered mud bogs and a campground with full hookups that is big rig friendly. ATVs, UTVs and dirt bikes are welcomed.

Hansen Hollows is a little over two hours west over in Iowa but the property has about 400 acres of woods trails, rolling hills, hill climbs and play areas to check out, plus room for primitive camping. The park is generally only open during weekends but call first before heading out.

River Ridge Trail is also about two hours west but is located at the Whispering Meadows Resort, which offers cabin and cottage rentals with direct trail access. Other activities include a fishing pond and a six hole golf course, plus complimentary haystack rides.

Scenic view of group of 4x4s, ATVs and UTVs at Silver Lake Sand Dunes with Lake Michigan in the background.

Silver Lake State Park is about three hours away in Michigan but caters to the dune lovers. The dunes are only open during daylight hours but there are plenty of camping opportunities just a few minutes away.

Scenic photo of Harpole's Lodge in Southern Illinois.

Harpole's Heartland Lodge and Resort is a little over four hours away in southern Illinois but visitors are rewarded with 1,200 acres of pristine private trails that wind through a mixed hardwood forest. Camping is permitted and there are even a few electric sites (reservations required). Bed and breakfast, lodge and cabin rentals are also available. Give them a call at (217) 734-2526.

Day Use Motocross Tracks

Scenic fall photo of motocross track at Rocky Glen OHV Park.

Rocky Glen OHV Park is about an hour northwest of Chicago but offers 120 acres of woods trails and three motocross tracks. The park has a welcome center that is stocked with T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, safety flags and DNR stickers (required for each machine). Other amenities include restrooms and hot showers.

SUV navigating small hill at River Road Rally Park.

River Road Rally is one of the newer parks and is just an hour northwest of Chicago. Currently the property is only open to 4x4s but the owners are working hard on adding a motocross track.

Fox Valley Off Road Park is about an hour south but offers a wide variety of trails for all skill levels, an open field for beginners and a couple motocross tracks. Occasional motocross and harescramble races are hosted during the summer season, making this spot an excellent choice if you want to try out the racing scene.

ATV rider going down a muddy hill at The Cliffs Offroad Park.

Cliffs Off Road Park is also about an hour south of Chicago and offers something for everyone. All vehicle types are welcomed, and terrain ranges from tight and twisty woods trails to scattered rock gardens and mud pits. Overnight parking is not permitted but Illini State Park is just a few minutes away.

Byron Motorsports Park is about an hour and half northwest but offers two nicely maintained motocross tracks (one for quads, one for bikes). Occasional motocross races are hosted here during the summer season.

FMX Paradise MX Park is about two hours southeast but has motocross tracks for both bikes and quads, a separate peewee track for beginners plus a freestyle area with two 8' steel ramps.

Skip the Chill!

It's no secrete that Chicago gets bone-chilling cold during the winter months. This year why not skip the annual polar vortex and head out west. If you make the journey you will be rewarded with thousands of acres of desert trails and camping options galore. You won't be disappointed.

La Posa OHV Routes, Quartzsite AZ Man on Honda CRF-250 riding through gravel wash and shallow stream at the Box Canyon near Florence, Arizona.
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