Badin Lake OHV Trail Complex

Area Status: Closed
Badin Lake OHV 1

The Uwharrie National Forest provides the only public off-highway vehicle (OHV) or motorized trail system in the Piedmont Region of North Carolina.  The motorized trails are located in the Badin Lake Recreation Area of the national Forest.  The Badin Lake OHV Trail Complex is open for motorized recreation for mountain bikes, e-bikes, dirtbikes, ATVs, UTVs, side-by-sides, and full-sized 4-wheel drive vehicles with the purchase of a day or annual pass/permit to be displayed on the vehicle.  The trail system is open from April 1st to December 15th annually, however, the actual date may vary depending on what day of the week April 1st and December 15th fall on that year.  It has 6 trailheads to access the 17 miles of trails.  Additionally, it is within 1 to 2 miles of developed campgrounds – Arrowhead Campground, Badin Lake Campground, and Badin Lake Group Camp where flush toilets, vault toilets and showers are available for campers.  Unlicensed and unregistered vehicles cannot be driven on the Forest Roads, State Roads, or through the campgrounds; they must be trailered to a trailhead to be ridden on the OHV trails.  Horseback riding is not allowed on these trails except at designated trail crossings or where both equestrian and motorized use is designated on the trail.

The trails range from easy to extremely difficult.  Currently there are 9 trails for approximately 17 miles to ride.  The designated motorized trails are marked with orange diamond markers and are for two-way traffic.  When the trails open annually on April 1st they remain open 24 hours per day for 7 days a week and can be ridden at night if vehicle has working head lights and tail lights.  Riders of ATVs and dirt bikes are required to wear a DOT approved helmet for motorized use and eye protection. 

If you have never been to the Badin Lake OHV Trail Complex please heed this advice:

  1. Do Not start at Cotton Place Trailhead on the eastern end of the Daniel Trail (TR390).  This is the extremely difficult section that is not recommended for ATV’s, UTV’s/ side-by-sides, dirtbikes and stock 4WD vehicles or beginners.  Go to the Art Lilley Campground/Trailhead, Falls Dam Trailhead or Dutch John Trailhead and begin your trail ride there.
  2. Know which trailhead you started at and where you need to return to if you have trailered your motorized vehicle to the site. 
  3. Get a Badin Lake Recreation Area map from vendor before you ride the trails. 
  4. Follow the Tread Lightly! Principles of Responsible Recreation at all times. Stay on the designated trails.

Riders need to carry a map, supplies, first aid, and recovery gear and have a plan for vehicle removal if it becomes disabled.  The Forest Service does not tow vehicles off the trail.  You’re responsible for your vehicle if it gets stuck or breaks down on the trails. You must get it removed from the Uwharrie National Forest. 

At a Glance

Operational Hours: The Badin Lake OHV Trail Complex is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week from April 1 to December 15, annually. 
Reservations: No reservations needed for the OHV Trails.
Fees: Trail passes are required for motorized vehicles, e- bikes, and mountain bikes to ride on these trails.  The cost of passes is: $5 for a day pass and $30 for an annual pass.  The trail passes can be purchased at the Uwharrie District Office or at several vendors/stores around the Uwharrie National Forest. Vendors List below:
  1. Eldorado Outpost: 4021 NC Hwy 109N, Troy, NC 27371. Phone: 910-572-3474
  2. Swift Island Gas Station: 4560 NC Hwy 24/27W, Mt. Gilead, NC 27306. Phone: 910-439-0073
  3. Troy Welcome Center: 100 W. Main Street, Troy, NC 27371. Phone: 910-573-3153
  4. Uwharrie National Forest District Office: 789 Biscoe Road, Troy, NC 27371. Phone: 910-576-6391
Open Season: April 1 - Dec 15
Usage: Medium-Heavy
  • Alcohol is prohibited on the trail system.
  • Unlicensed vehicles are not allowed on the designated Forest Service roads and must be trailered to the trailheads to access the OHV trails.
  • OHV trail pass must be displayed in a visible location on the vehicle. Day passes are valid until midnight of the date written on the pass.
  • No passengers allowed on ATV's unless vehicle manufactured to carry passengers.
  • Children under 8 may not operate ATV's or motorcycles. An operator under 16 must have constant supervision by an adult over the age of 18. Other state rules for age apply.
  • Motorcycle & ATV operators must wear Dept. of Transportation approved helmets & eye protection.
  • Spark arresters, mufflers, and brakes are required for motorized vehicles.
  • Vehicles must have working headlights, tail lights, & brake lights if riding the trails after sunset.
Restroom: Vault toilets are at Dutch John & Art Lilley Trailheads


OHV Camping

Recreation areas with activity OHV Camping:

OHV Trail Riding

Recreation areas with activity OHV Trail Riding:

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities