The Cornhusker State is the home of rolling plains, beautiful valleys, and rich grasslands, making it a great place to explore on an ATV. Nearly a quarter of the state is covered with sandhills, which are also fun to ride over on a vehicle that can handle this type of terrain. When you're looking for your next adventure, check out our list of the top ATV trails in Nebraska.
Bessey OHV Trail System
Although Nebraska has plenty of appealing terrain, many of the trails throughout the state are maintained and operated by private organizations and are only open to members or those who pay a fee to use the amenities. The Bessey OHV Trail System includes quite a few trails spanning approximately 36 miles, and the trail system is public terrain. One caveat is that the trails are a bit narrow, so only compact ATVs or side-by-sides with a width of 64 inches or less are allowed in the area.
Start your adventure at the Bessey Recreation Complex, where you can access the trails on one end of the system. The area where Scenic Road ends at the Dismal Trailhead also provides access to the system, as do the Whitetail Campground and Powerline Trailhead. During peak riding season, you'll likely see quite a few four-wheeled vehicles and dirt bikes using the public trails. Be sure to bring your own ATV, since rentals aren't available at this location.
Dismal River Trail
The Dismal River Trail is a great place to practice speed riding, as the sandy terrain allows riders to move quickly and safely. People of all levels can enjoy the terrain, although the trail bears a moderate difficulty rating. You might encounter road hazards, such as boulders, gravel, or protruding tree roots, so keep an eye out for potential roadblocks as you go. Riders will encounter elevated sections for climbing and may experience muddy sections after a big rainstorm.
ATVs are welcome on the Dismal River Trail, which connects to the Bessey Family Campground and is part of the Bessey OHV Trail System. Other vehicles allowed on the trail include four-wheelers, side-by-sides, and motorcycles. If you're planning to camp, the nearby family campground is great for groups. Other amenities located near the trail include picnic areas, restrooms, and showers. Whitetail Campground is nearby and close to the Dismal River, where visitors can enjoy water activities.
Off Road Ranch
Off Road Ranch boasts a 300-foot drag strip, where riders can practice their speed work or enjoy a quick outing on their vehicle. The terrain at this 30-acre facility, which features a sand drag strip and trails of varying difficulty levels, is ideal for ATVs, dirt bikes, and quads. If you're up for a challenge, try competing against another ATV rider on the drag strip! Other recreational activities available to visitors include snowmobiling and camping. This spot also boasts a beer garden with a variety of brews on tap and live music on most evenings.
Cedar Run ATV Trail
The Cedar Run ATV Trail, also referred to as the Harlan County Lake ATV area, spans 470 acres and is a top-rated place in the state to ride an ATV. The trail runs for 9 miles and includes narrow two-way paths for driving in both directions, so keep an eye out for other riders and slow down when navigating tight curves. This particular trail isn't as well-maintained as others in the area, so you might find deep and dangerous sections that can only be navigated by a vehicle with higher ground clearance.
If you enjoy riding in muddy terrain, you'll love your experience on the Cedar Run ATV Trail. Several areas of the trail were submerged beneath a lake prior to a massive drought. After the drought, the lake's shoreline retreated, leaving areas that provide muddy terrain throughout much of the year. Due to the conditions of this trail, it's a better option for more experienced ATV riders.
Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest
The Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest is one of the few national forests in the state of Nebraska. Originally established in 1902 as the Niobara Forest Preserve, then the Niobara Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forest, this forest was named after the former Nebraska governor who initiated the Nebraska state park system in 1971.
Within the forest, you'll find varying terrain, including grasslands and wooded areas that are thick with pine trees. The ATV-rated trails are all open to any motorized vehicles, even though there is a size limit imposed in the forest. Vehicles deemed to be oversized by state traffic laws aren't permitted. The forest trails aren't well-maintained or marked, so you could find yourself taking different turns and have trouble finding your way back to where you parked or plan to camp, so be sure to grab a map on your way in to familiarize yourself with the trails. If you have a good sense of direction or you're up for a true adventure, you'll enjoy your experience in the forest.
Fiddler Creek MX Park
The Fiddler Creek MX Park is a private motocross track located close to the Iowa border. If you want to ride on weekdays, you'll need to become a member, but the track is open for public use on occasional practice days and during weekend competitions. It was originally developed for dirt bikes and quads, and many riders use these vehicles on the track, but its width is for ATVs. Beginners and younger riders can safely learn how to ride on this track because there's plenty of room to drive around and become more comfortable with their vehicles.
Once you've decided where you want to ride and mapped out your trails, the next step is shopping for the perfect accessories to ensure a fantastic, memorable off-roading experience. Wet Sounds offers high-quality sound systems to connect to your ATV that will provide high-quality, crisp sound in any setting. Shop our selection and pick out the accessory that will make your ATV ride even more enjoyable.