5 Off-Road Trails & Areas To Explore In New York

FJ Cruiser Off-Roading in Mettowee Off Road Extreme Park

4×4 Trails Rated For All Levels: User-Sourced Overland Resource

Welcome back to an all-new post featuring the top trails and OHV parks across America! Today’s post will cover 5 popular off-road areas to explore in New York (not Manhattan, obviously).

New York is another state where off-road trails are limited. Much of the available land is private and sadly subject to abuse by unauthorized adventurers. Consequently, options are scarce. No fear, though, as we’ve gathered a handful of legal areas you can freely explore!

Note: The trails listed below are in no particular order.

1. Kenneth Wilson Campground

5th Gen 4Runner at Kenneth Wilson Campground in New York

Submission By: Bryant (@tantrumspeed)

Tell Us About Your Favorite Spot

This campground is located in northern New York, surrounded by the Catskill Mountains. It’s incredibly quiet and has some of the most beautiful nature. It’s perfect for a weekend getaway with friends and family, especially when the weather improves.

What Difficulty Would You Rate This Spot?

Because this area is well maintained, I would rate it a 1/10 in terms of difficulty. There are a few trails around this area, but none require increased clearance or major modifications.

2. Sore Thumb Beach

3rd Gen 4Runner at Sore Thumb Beach in New York

Submission By: Josh (@daurunner)

Tell Us About Your Favorite Spot

Sore Thumb is a great place to wheel and set up camp. It is spacious, allowing visitors to drive in and camp out for as long as they want. The amazing ocean views and the nautical breeze make this beach beautiful and comfortable when the weather is right.

As a bonus, you don’t have to worry about tree limbs or any obstacles that could damage your rig.

What Difficulty Would You Rate This Spot?

Sore Thumb is only difficult for those who don’t have experience wheeling on the sand. Depending on the time you go, the sand can be smooth, packed after a rain, or fluffy and irregular with deep divots. Depending on conditions, it’s anywhere between a 2/10 – 5/10 difficulty level, but both my 3rd Gen 4Runner and 80 Series Land Cruiser eat up the sand.

3. Finger Lakes National Forest

3rd Gen Tacoma Camping in Finger Lakes National Forest

Submission By: Author Submitted – Photo By: @simplyanadventure

Tell Us About Your Favorite Spot

Finger Lakes National Forest is a popular destination for many people to go off-roading. It is located in the western part of the state, about an hour and a half south of Syracuse. You will find plenty of dirt/gravel forest roads with small inclines and some rutted-out sections. In the wet months, you can expect some pretty large water crossings as well.

These roads are maintained in the summertime. In the winter months, you can expect to find a lot fewer trails open to the public. You can camp throughout the forest or in one of the three open campgrounds.

What Difficulty Would You Rate This Spot?

I would rate this area a 4/10. It isn’t an easy forest road but also doesn’t require any fancy mods or high clearance. If you have a 4×4 and moderate ground clearance, you won’t have any issues. I always recommend bringing some recovery gear, though.

4. Moose River Plains

New York Off-Roading At Moon River Plains

Photo By: @mikehosier

Tell Us About Your Favorite Spot

Moose River Plains is located within the Adirondacks State Park. Here, you can find many different trails and spend the day exploring throughout the park. There are also plenty of spots to camp for overnight trips. All of the camping spots are first come, first serve, with no reservations. Each marked campsite has its own picnic table and fire pit.

What Difficulty Would You Rate This Spot?

I would rate this area a 4/10. As I mentioned, there are quite a few trails throughout the park and each varies in difficulty. I wouldn’t say any of them go above a 5/10 as nothing requires underbody protection, lockers, etc. However, I would recommend at least having a 4×4 vehicle.

You will run into a few different types of terrain ranging from dirt roads to larger rocks, and even some sand. That can make it a bit more technical than just a simple forest road.

5. Mettowee Off-Road Extreme Park

5th Gen 4Runner Off-Roading in Mettowee Off Road Extreme Park

Photo By: @4runnertoy4x4

Tell Us About Your Favorite Spot

Mettowee Off Road Extreme Park is an off-road vehicle park located in Whitehall, New York. Here, you’ll find all sorts of different trails and obstacles. This park is also known for mud, so plan on heading home with your rig caked in it. However, there are also plenty of trails that are a bit more tame and less technical.

Watch out for ATVs and dirt bikes, you will be sharing the trails with these smaller vehicles.

What Difficulty Would You Rate This Spot?

I would rate this area an 8/10 – 10/10 depending on what obstacles you are trying to do. Like most OHV and ORV parks, you will need a pretty built rig to overcome the more difficult ones. Mettowee is no exception to this.

I would suggest having underbody armor at a minimum, but the more the better. I would also recommend having a 4×4 vehicle with high ground clearance and some A/T tires. This should get you pretty much through anything.

Final Thoughts

3rd Gen 4Runner in New York

And that wraps up today’s trail features! Stay tuned for our next post as we continue highlighting popular off-road areas across the country!

Are there any spots in New York State that you think we missed? If so, comment them down below!

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