16 of the Best 4WD Trails in the Southeastern US | Everything You Need to Know

Driving through roads, trails, beaches, and even rivers, even though you need a little bit of experience, is very exciting (even for the passengers). So, if you want to spice up your weekend trip and you already own a pretty capable 4WD car, this guide is for you!

So, if you are living around the southeastern portion of the East Coast, there are a lot of tracks that you can explore. The off-road trails in the East Coast’s southeastern parts will take you to tower mountains, lush forests, clear beaches, and rocky river crossings. All you need is the drive to go to new places and you’re all set. 

Here are some of the best tracks that you can head to on your next trip…

Horse Pasture Road, South Carolina

Horse Pasture Road is the eastern entrance of the Jim Timmerman Natural Resources Area at Jocassee Gorges, one of the only temperate rain forests in the United States east of the Cascade Mountains. Incredible views overlooking the valleys and clear waters of Lake Jocassee, Horse Pasture Road offers many activities including hunting, camping, bird watching and botanical areas with many hard-to-find species. With access to Jumping-Off Rock, one of the best views in the entire region, and its multiple access points to the 77-mile long Foothills Hiking Trail, Horse Pasture Road is a great trail for a day of activities or just a nice ride through the forest and mountains.

Flag Pole Road, Virginia

This is a great trail to get your off-road feet wet or take a family trip to one of Virginia’s historic knobs. This trail was originally used as a fire lookout in the 1920s in the first fire warden system. Now, Flag Pole Knob is a great up and back day trip, or a great place to camp overnight. Less than an hour from Harrisonburg, Flag Pole Knob is easily accessible and the trail is very straight forward and can be quickly completed. There is a large open area on top to pitch a tent or several nooks to hideaway. This trail is well worth the trip for the views along the way and the reward at the apex.

Forest Service Road 333, Georgia

Following the Toccoa River along the base of John Dick Mountain, Forest Service Road 333 is the rarely used northwestern entrance of the Blue Ridge Wildlife Management Area of the Chattahoochee National Forest. This trail also offers access to the Toccoa River Swinging Bridge along the Benton MacKaye Trail, a 300+ mile hiking trail along the Appalachian Mountains that spans across three states. With hiking, fishing, camping and access to numerous other trails, Forest Service Road 333 is a fun addition to any day in the mountains of North Georgia.

Forest Service Road 333 can be tackled in either direction. The eastern portion of this trail from Rock Creek Road to the Benton MacKaye Trail is a fairly smooth gravel road with one shallow water crossing making it suitable for most passenger vehicles with adequate ground clearance. The western portion of the trail from the Benton MacKaye Trail to Doublehead Gap Road is considerably rougher. The gravel is worn away in many spots making it a notoriously muddy road in even the slightest wet conditions. This portion of the trail is also rockier with a few small ruts, potholes, and uneven terrain making four-wheel drive recommended, especially in wet conditions.

Frederick Watershed, Maryland

Frederick Municipal Forest is a 7000-acre oasis only 15 minutes away from busy Frederick, Maryland. This watershed forest has over 11 miles of gravel, dirt, and slightly rocky roads coursing throughout. These easy roads would certainly not be considered an off-road destination, but they are a fine way to spend a few hours exploring the forest. There are no facilities in this forest, but plenty to do while cruising the trails. There are 12 ponds to explore, 2 are stocked with trout. There are miles of native and stocked trout streams. Other opportunities are hiking, picnicking, hunting, and scenic overlooks.

This road network is certainly not an off-road lover’s dream! However, it’s the only place in Frederick County Maryland where you can get some gravel in your travel. it’s also one of the only roads that are not snow plowed in Frederick County. In the summer and fall, this road would be no more than a 2 rating, as the road is graded once a year. In winter and early spring, conditions could reach a 4 rating due to snow, ice, and high-water crossing. Occasionally the creek crossing reaches at least 18″ deep and moves way too fast for safe passage!

Richloam Boggy Road, Florida

Boggy Road is located on the far northwest side of Richloam Wildlife Management Area. Richloam WMA spans just over 58,000 acres across Hernando, Lake, Pasco, and Sumter Counties. Richloam WMA has a wide variety of activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, bike, and horseback riding.

Boggy Road takes explorers deep into Richloam WMA where trees and vegetation thrive from living in a swamp, causing a narrow path for vehicles. Drivers can expect to have Boggy Road live up to its name due to multiple muds and water crossings. While exploring Boggy Road drivers can expect plenty of wildlife sounds and sights!

Wolf Den (TR89), North Carolina

Wolf Den (TR89) is one of eight trails accessible to off-road vehicles in the Badin Lake OHV trail system located in Uwharrie National Forest. Before becoming a national forest in 1961, the land was used for hunting, gold mining, logging, and farming. These activities created a collection of roads and trails that were used by off-road enthusiasts and were the foundation for the OHV trail system that exists today. Wolf Den is a short trail that provides the opportunity for even novice drivers to experience the forest’s magnificent landscape on wheels and is one means to access other trails of varying difficulty.

Potts Mountain Jeep Trail, Virginia

Potts Mountain Jeep Trail is one of the very few places, if not the only public place, in Virginia built specifically for off-roading. Difficult at best, Potts Mountain Jeep Trail is not for stock four-wheel-drive vehicles. Numerous obstacles fill the trail and many obstacles bypass offer only a slightly easier route.

Located within the Jefferson and George Washington National Forest, the Potts Mountain Jeep Trail is remote and surrounded by rugged wilderness. The Barbours Creek Wilderness Area borders most of the trail to the east. Due to the trail’s remote location, it is not recommended to travel alone.

This trail is not for stock four-wheel-drive vehicles. Built solely for off-road enthusiasts, Potts Mountain Jeep Trail offers plenty of opportunities to find yourself upside down. Signs at obstacles offer a bypass but even they can prove to be difficult. Many obstacles defy reason and sanity. There is enough paint, parts, and gouges left in rocks to attest to the human will to attempt the nonsensical. Potts Mountain Jeep Trail is very remote so plenty of gas, fire extinguisher, spotter, sparae, water and common sense are necessities. You do not want to walk out. Several clearings along the trail offer nice places to stop or camp. It is not recommended to travel this trail alone.

Potts Mountain Jeep Trail is very remote so plenty of gas, fire extinguisher, spotter, spare, water and common sense are necessities. You do not want to walk out. It is not recommended to travel this trail alone. Winter conditions require appropriate preparedness. Use extra caution and tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to return (especially in winter).

Rocky Mountain Loop (TR92), North Carolina

Rocky Mountain Loop (TR92) is one of eight trails accessible to off-road vehicles in the Badin Lake OHV trail system located in Uwharrie National Forest. Before becoming a national forest in 1961, the land was used for hunting, gold mining, logging, and farming. These activities created a collection of roads and trails that were used by off-road enthusiasts and were the foundation for the OHV trail system that exists today.

Despite its name, the trail no longer makes a complete loop due to the closing of one section in recent years. It does, however, still circle its way around the northern part of the OHV trail system and intersects with Sawmill (TR93), Slab Pile (TR79), Dickey Bell (TR91) and Daniel (TR390) along the way. If you spend a day out in Uwharrie the odds are pretty high that you’ll end up on Rocky Mountain Loop at least once if not multiple times. With a remarkable blend of changing terrain, scenery and technical difficulty throughout its 1.9 miles, the trail holds an experience that can be enjoyed by drivers of any skill level.

Powerline Road, Florida

Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area is located on the east side of Florida about 20 miles away from the Atlantic Ocean! Tosohatchee WMA is almost 31,000 acres and offers camping, fishing, and part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail! Being so close to the Atlantic Ocean means Tosohatchee is mainly swampland but still about 100′ above sea-level.

Powerline road was created to route and maintain electricity supplying Titusville, Orlando, Christmas, and other cities on Florida’s east coast. Seeing the never-ending powerlines disappear into the horizon, crossing multiple wooden bridges, and the vast amount of wildlife will leave enjoyable memories for times to come.

Skidmore Fork/Dunkle Hollow Road, Virginia

Located just 15 minutes from Harrisonburg Va. Dunkle Hollow Road will have dirt on the tires in no time. Your first waypoint is a great lake stop to try your hand at catching dinner, taking a walk or just enjoy the scenery. The lower section of the trail has numerous camp spots that make a great base camp for a weekend on the mountain. Enjoy a shaded trip through the hollow, ending on the ridgeline just a turn away from Flagpole Knob. This is a great connector trail not only for its location but also for the challenges of the trail itself.

Shooting Tree Ridge Road, South Carolina

Shooting Tree Ridge Road is the southern entrance of the Jim Timmerman Natural Resources Area at Jocassee Gorges, one of the only temperate rain forests in the United States east of the Cascade Mountains. This curvy, scenic drive follows up/down Bully Mountain and connects to the ever-popular Horse Pasture Road with access to Jumping-Off Rock, one of the best views in the entire region. Hiking, camping, hunting or just a scenic ride through the forest and mountains make this a fun trail to explore whenever you’re in the area.

Citrus – Trail 14, Florida

Trail 14 is located in the ​Citrus Wildlife Management Area and consists of almost 50,000 acres. Spanning both Citrus and Hernando counties Citrus WMA provides plenty of four-wheeling, hiking, and horse trails along with multiple camping sites.

Trail 14 will take drivers through the forest on white sugar-sand trails, climb over hill made out of orange clay, and crawl over simulated rocks! Trail 14 has everything Citrus WMA has to offer, and drivers will have the choice of how little or as much they want to push their vehicle. Plenty of fun for all drivers and one of the top trails in Citrus WMA!

Dutch John (TR90), North Carolina

Dutch John (TR90) is one of eight trails accessible to off-road vehicles in the Badin Lake OHV trail system located in Uwharrie National Forest. Before becoming a national forest in 1961, the land was used for hunting, gold mining, logging, and farming. These activities created a collection of roads and trails that were used by off-road enthusiasts and were the foundation for the OHV trail system that exists today.

While the degree of difficulty has eased slightly over the past couple of years due to paths being carved out around a few of the obstacles, in particular, Dutch John remains a rough and rocky trail that can challenge even the more seasoned driver, especially in wet conditions. The trail offers a wonderful diversity of terrain and scenery including several creek crossings along its 2.1 miles and culminates in a steep, trenched hill climb that has become one of the more renowned and picturesque locations in Uwharrie. Intimidating, extraordinary, exhilarating… many adjectives can be used to describe it, make a run and you’ll see why.

Falls Dam (TR96), North Carolina

Falls Dam (TR96) is one of eight trails accessible to off-road vehicles in the Badin Lake OHV trail system located in Uwharrie National Forest. Before becoming a national forest in 1961, the land was used for hunting, gold mining, logging, and farming. These activities created a collection of roads and trails that were used by off-road enthusiasts and were the foundation for the OHV trail system that exists today.

As Falls Dam winds its way through the forest, drivers are exposed to almost every terrain Uwharrie has to offer. With no overwhelming obstacles, the trail is ideal for beginners, and equally so for anyone who wants to take in a gentle ride and soak in the brilliant surroundings. Toward the northern end, you’ll encounter one of the more notable attractions in Uwharrie, the “soup bowl”. By choice, dare and even occasional lapse in judgment, countless people drop themselves into this deep pool of muddy water that is technically named “Lake Leigh”. The entire pool including the rim is slick clay, and the water level can exceed four feet in areas at times, so there is a degree of risk should you decide to take the plunge. If the possibility of flipping or swamping your vehicle in thick, sticky mud is not your thing, grab a snack and pull up a chair… watching other brave souls is exceptionally entertaining!

South Grade, Florida

South Grade is a really fun road if you enjoy mud and water! It runs through portions of the Richloam WMA and goes deep into 58,000 acres of woods and swamp. It is one of four main roads in the area but is much less traveled than the others. It is common to find other vehicles stuck on/around South Grade Road and helping others in need will surely be a memorable event!

Shooting Tree Ridge Road, South Carolina

Shooting Tree Ridge Road is the southern entrance of the Jim Timmerman Natural Resources Area at Jocassee Gorges, one of the only temperate rain forests in the United States east of the Cascade Mountains. This curvy, scenic drive follows up/down Bully Mountain and connects to the ever-popular Horse Pasture Road with access to Jumping-Off Rock, one of the best views in the entire region. Hiking, camping, hunting or just a scenic ride through the forest and mountains make this a fun trail to explore whenever you’re in the area.

Related Questions

Can I Ride My Four Wheeler on The Road?

ATVs may be operated on a highway or road if authorized to by law enforcement when conventional motor vehicles cannot be used for transportation due to snow or other extreme highway conditions. An individual may not operate a vehicle on a public highway without a valid motor vehicle driver’s license.

Are There Alligators in Ocala Florida?

Alligators can be found throughout all of Florida and in almost any body of water, but most common in the major river drainages basins and large lakes in the central and southern portions of the state. They also can be found in marshes, swamps, ponds, drainage canals, phosphate-mine settling ponds, and ditches.

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