Each year we head someplace new for Ultimate Adventure, and though we sometimes hit popular places in whatever region we are wheeling, we often forgo them in order to wheel and reveal lesser-known trails. Unfortunately, more and more public land is being shut off to wheelers. Luckily, 4x4 parks are popping up all over so we can still explore what is available for wheelers. This year we found four spots that were willing to host our crew of rambling rigs. Here are the first two.
Our first stop of the trip was at the Southern Missouri Off Road Ranch outside of Seymour, Missouri. This brand-new 930-acre park just opened in March, and besides 4x4s, they welcome ATVs and motorcycles. In less than a year, owner Danny Boyd, with help from the Ozarks JeepThing club (www.ozarkjeepthing.com), has opened more than 15 miles worth of amazing wheeling tracks within nine trails, and there is more to come. They are comprised of loose dirt, undercut waterfalls, and steep climbs, so you'll need to bring your horsepower, especially in late winter and early spring when trails get muddy. The park is currently open every weekend and has primitive camping, though RV sites are in the future. Also available is the Super 8 Motel in nearby Seymour (417.935.9888, www.super8.com) and a couple of 4x4 shops such as Gentleman Jims Recovery and Repair (417.934.6594), Harris Off Road (417.469.5542), and Johns 4x4 and More (417.744.2721) in case you need some wrenching before or after you hit the trails. Want to head there for some wheeling? Call 471.935.6594 or 417.247.0565, or visit www.offrdranch.com.
Our second stop of the trip was the Outlaw Adventures Off Road Park. Run by Brett McGee and Matt Mangin, this park is the unknown secret of this year's trip. Imagine a 110-acre park just 25 minutes from Fayetteville, Arkansas, hiding over a dozen trails and giant limestone rocks bigger than the doublewide you grew up in. Opened in August 2004 by McGee, Mangin, and the members of the Dirty Underwear Gang 4x4 club, this place is just starting to get up to speed, but the potential is enormous. It is currently open to group rides by appointment only, so if you like big rocks, get your posse and contact McGee. He showed us around in his big green YJ on Rockwells. In addition to the park, there is the local Adkins 4x4 in Siloam Springs, where spare parts are available and hotels are just up the road in Fayetteville. We camped out, but don't expect showers, just primitive-style tent camping in the dirt. Want to go? Call 479.790.0722. We recommend it.