Even if the weather is cold, or chilly, or snowy, or polar votex-y where you live, California is no doubt warm, sunny, and brimming with great off-road riding. The state's spectacular riding areas are as diverse as the characters you'll find strolling down Hollywood Boulevard. Whether you're looking to carve some sand dunes or explore the mountains, California has what you want.
Unlike any other dune adventure, this one takes you right to edge of the Pacific Ocean with 1,500 acres of dune fun and 5.5 miles of beach shenanigans waiting for you. You can unload your machine and spend hours riding, carving, and just generally kicking up sand. When you're done, you can walk a few steps and enjoy some great surfing in the waves, fishing, or even take a horseback ride. This is a fantastic place for a day's worth of oceanfront riding.
Oceano Dunes SVRA District Office: 805-773-7170
Jawbone and Dove Springs Riding Area
Just outside of Mojave, California, sits 7,000 acres of open-use public land for you to explore. Start at Jawbone, and you've got hundreds of miles of trails to discover where you'll find open areas and some technical trails. Dove Springs covers more than 5,000 acres and features sandy bowls to steep hills. With this much land, we suggest making a weekend out of this adventure.
Jawbone OHV Station: 760-373-1146
Wedged between Los Angeles and Bakersfield, you'll find Hungry Valley SVRA (also known as Gorman). This is the second-largest riding area overseen by the state and it consists of 19,000 acres with more than 130 miles of adventurous riding. From wide-open spaces to steep hills and treacherous terrain, you certainly won't get bored riding here. The trails are marked according to the degree of difficulty to help you find your way. You can camp and if you've got the family with you, there's a one-acre mini-track for the little ones in the Smith Forks Campground.
Hungry Valley SVRA: 661-248-7007
This 800-plus-acre riding area is just 20 miles east of Sacramento, and its draw is all the varying types of terrain it offers. You'll find flat, open grasslands, rolling hills in the forest, and acres of interesting riding in old mining areas. Whether you're a beginner or an expert rider, you'll find a spot that suits your style here. Within the confines of the park sits Hangtown Motocross track, a storied riding course which still hosts an AMA National Motocross race each year.
If your idea of off-road heaven is 80,000 acres of open desert ready to be explored by ATV or UTV, then this is your new favorite place. The trails offer a variety of desert riding, including rocks, hard pack, hill climbs, sand washes and twisty trails. Some of the standout attractions are Devil's Slide, a 200-foot-high granite and sand island, and Shell Reef, where you can park your ride and find fragments of fossilized oyster shells. There's also a kiddy track and open camping is permitted throughout the area (for free!). You'll find Ocotillo Wells about 70 miles east of Escondido.