Getting the Mud on Your Wheels: Top 4 Off-Road Driving Parks in Washington

Washington State is heaven for off-road enthusiasts, and there are some parks and trails that raise the bar even higher than the already-lofty average. Whether for year-round residents or occasional visitors, there are dozens of locations across Washington worth exploring with an off-road vehicle.

Start with the following four destinations, and you will see why so many regard the Evergreen State as one of the country’s best off-road playgrounds. These four parks and trails easily rank among the best in the country.

Top 4 Off-Road Driving Parks

1. McCellan Butte OHV Trail

Located in a popular part of the famed Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, the McCellan Butte Trail is especially welcoming to beginners. Officially designated an off-highway vehicle, or OHV, route, it is less demanding than many ruggeder trails elsewhere in the same stretch of National Forest.

Spruce up a pickup truck or SUV with a few affordable parts available online from or the like, and McCellan Butte becomes entirely accessible. Beginners will appreciate how the trail is forgiving of even major mistakes, thanks to runoff areas that surround the trickiest sections.

Top 4 Off-Road Driving Parks in Washington

Despite being relatively laid back, McCellan Butte affords some beautifully dramatic views. There are few better ways anywhere to get started with off-road driving than to head to the McCellan Butte OHV Trail.

2. Naches Pass Trail

Mount Rainier National Park is a favorite of hikers and mountaineers, but it has a lot to offer to fans of off-road driving, as well. Mount Rainier itself rises 14,410 feet above sea level, and its snow-capped peak is clearly visible from many places in the park.

The Naches Pass Trail allows off-road drivers to test their skills while taking in some truly beautiful scenery. Easily accessible from a well-maintained dirt road, it is open to vehicles throughout the summer and early fall.

At 15 miles long, Naches Pass includes plenty of tricky terrain, with conditions on the ground varying from dry and dusty to slick and wet, depending upon recent weather. Easy exits onto some gentler, more-forgiving logging trails can prove welcome to drivers who dive in a bit too deep.

3. Elbe Hills Off-Road Vehicle Park

Located near the tiny, historic town of Elbe, the Elbe Hills Off-Road Vehicle Park features one of Washington’s densest trail networks. That means being able to enjoy anything from an easy, casual drive through the woods to a white-knuckle crawl over large rocks and fallen trees.

Admission to Elbe Hills is free of charge, with the Washington Department of Natural Resources overseeing the area. A statewide off-road driving enthusiast group maintains detailed trail maps and offers helpful advice to newcomers.

4. Walker Valley Off-Road Vehicle Area

The Cascade Mountains are full of trails and routes that challenge even the most experienced off-road drivers. the Walker Valley Off-Road Vehicle Area covers a great deal of ground within its nearly 80 square miles of terrain.

Located an easy drive from Seattle, Walker Valley welcomes everyone from rank beginners to highly skilled veterans. Between its accessibility and the quality and variety of its terrain, Walker Valley rightly ranks as one of the best-rated and most popular off-road parks in the state. While it can become a bit crowded at times, Walker Valley is always worth a visit.

These four off-road destinations rank among Washington’s best, even if many drivers will have different favorites of their own. Washington is packed to the brim with wonderful places to drive an off-road vehicle, as many have discovered. Spend some time at one of these parks or trails and you will discover how exciting off-road travel can be.

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