Recreational ATV Riding

Recreational ATV riding is increasingly becoming a popular sport amongst outdoor enthusiasts throughout the United States. While a large percentage of recreational ATV riding takes place throughout the Appalachian mountains and southeastern United States, there are a number of ATV parks and ATV trails scattered all across the US including some amazing recreational ATV riding in the Rocky Mountains and throughout the Southwestern Dunes.

atv riding in the usa

Commonly Asked Questions about ATVs

Since this page will serve as the hub for all our ATV riding content, we thought we would answer a few of the most commonly asked questions related to ATVs.

You may wish to bookmark this page or sign up for our email, so you will be notified anytime we add new content for our ATV riding fans.

What Does ATV Stand For?

First, what exactly is an ATV?

The acronym ATV stands for “All Terrain Vehicles”. You will likely notice that often ATV is being used to refer to what many simply call a “four-wheeler” or a “quad”.

ATV Characteristics

  • Usually has 3 or 4 wheels
  • Handle Bar Steering
  • Built for just one or two riders at most seated in a straddle position
  • ATVs need to be sized properly to the rider
  • In most cases the throttle (or acceleration) is a thumb throttle.
  • Braking can be at the handle bars or the foot and depends upon the model
Where can I ride my ATV
Where Can I Ride My ATV in the USA?

What is the difference between an ATV, UTV, or a SxS?

In addition to ATV, the acronym UTV and SxS are often used and refer to “Utility Terrain Vehicle” and a “Side by Side” vehicle.

So what is the difference?

As we already mentioned, ATVs are generally referring to the 3 or 4 wheeled all terrain vehicles, where the term UTV is applied to either a utility type vehicle such as one used on a farm or a job site.

UTV’s tend to be larger, can seat up to 4 or 6 passengers, and have more space for storage and equipment.

Originally, UTVs were built to be used for work and getting around on a farm or larger property.

However, now there are UTVs often known as SxS, or side by sides, that are more sporty and used for racing or ATV trail riding and those are known as Sport UTVs.

UTV Characteristics

  • 4-wheel base
  • Seat from 2-6 people in a side by side arrangement (thus the SxS acronym)
  • Uses a steering wheel
  • Foot pedal acceleration and braking system
  • Tend to be more stable and faster than an ATV, but not as easily maneuvered
  • More safety equipment available (roll bars, windshields, etc.)

Even More Off Road Vehicle Acronyms

You may also see the terms ROV, OHV, and APV.

Confused yet? The list of names and acronyms applied to these specialty motorized vehicles which are used for work and fun seems to go on and on. For your reference, here are a few more you may see as you begin to read and learn about ATVs.

  • ROV- Recreational Off Road Vehicle
  • OHV- Off Highway Vehicle
  • APV- All Purpose Vehicle

For the purposes of our site, we will use the term ATV most often, but many of our trail guides and accessories may be common to both ATV (3 or 4 wheeled) vehicles as well as SxS UTVs. Whenever one or the other is not allowed, we will make mention of that and if we are reviewing an accessory or piece of equipment specific to one type over the other, we will also be sure to specify those instructions

We hope this resource serves as a guide to helping you get the most enjoyment out of your ATV, UTV, SxS, OHV, ROV, or whatever you are calling your fun little motor on wheels these days.

Where Can I Ride My ATV?

As we mentioned previously, recreational ATV riding is quickly growing in popularity.

The history behind how it began to grow in the mountains of Appalachia and rural coal mining towns of West Virginia is fascinating. Read more about it on our Hatfield and McCoy trail guide.

But it is quickly catching on all over the the United States and the riding can be as varied as switchbacking throughout the Appalachian mountains, to mud slinging in the swamps of Florida, to kicking up dust on the sand dunes of Utah.

You can check out our ATV Trails Near Me page to get the latest ATV trail guides the have written or visit any of the links below for state specific guides and posts.

As we said, this is a growing resource, so if you don’t see your state, drop us an email and tell us about your favorite ATV trail.

I would also like to personally invite you to join our growing ATV trails near me Facebook group where you can meet more recreational ATV riding enthusiasts and find even more ATV trails to explore.

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