Adventure lovers can make an entire trip on the back of a motorcycle. With your hair billowing in the wind and the roar of the engine below, the thrill is unparalleled. But, sometimes, getting off the beaten path provides an entirely different travel experience.
Instead of riding the winding roads, explore the great outdoors with an off-roading adventure. These stellar spots provide endless chances for some good old-fashioned fun—flying through the dirt.
Trade in your motorcycle for four wheels, grab some soft loop tie down straps and toss your bags in the car for five off-roading experiences you won’t soon forget.
Thinking of France conjures up images of Parisian fashions, fresh-baked loaves of bread and stunning architecture. So getting off the pavement and into the dirt may seem like a foreign concept. But Calais, France actually has a very exciting off-road trail that heads south into the French Alps. From there, it continues on into Italy and, later, to Switzerland, offering a stunning tour of Western Europe.
Combine the dirt biking adventure with some camping. You’ll find you see much more of the region than you would on a main highway. Travel through alpine villages and sweeping valleys before reaching altitudes that provide unrivaled panoramic views.
Old Smuggler’s Trail, Cambodia
This trail is designed for the most adventurous of thrill seekers—but it offers some incredible sights. One of the toughest trails on this list, the Old Smuggler’s Trail runs through Cambodia’s Cardamom mountains. In olden times, the path served as a way for smugglers to transport goods secretly; go figure, huh?
Though that is no longer the case, the narrow jungle trail has become overgrown with towering bamboo stalks. These plants can be used to create small rafts that can be used to cross the overflowing river during monsoon season; without it, it may not be possible to get across with your bike intact. There are plenty of small villages to visit along the way and shores on which to camp for an authentic Cambodian experience.
Oaxaca to Huautla de Jiménez, Mexico
It’s always a thrill to experience Mexican ruins, and the ones near Oaxaca are typically off of the beaten path. Though it may be a bumpy ride, it’s worth it, visiting ancient spots before continuing on to Huautla de Jiménez.
The narrow road leading to the mountain town is even bumpier, covered in potholes and spots of soft brown mud. Steep turns provide an extra element of danger as do the rocks sliding down the steep hillsides above, but thrill seekers will still want to take a turn. The ideal place for those who adore all things ancient, this beautiful path can be risky but always exciting.
There are a few spots for off-roading in the United States, but the American Southwest has the greatest setting. Moab is already an outstanding place to travel if you love the outdoors. The hiking trails, rock formations, stone arches and colored boulders provide a stunning scene—but it gets even better once you get off the road.
With so many paths in the area, beginners can easily feel at home in Moab. But the region also offers some challenging trails for only the most advanced bikes and jeeps. Make it a multi-day trip with a little additional camping and hiking gear.
Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
High in the mountains of Nepal, the Annapurna Circuit provides an endless adventure experience.
Many already revere The Himalayas as one of the most thrilling spots in the world. But this trek starts a little lower, in the rice paddies and agricultural fields of lowland Nepal. Once you start heading up the base of the mountains, you’ll fly through a lush, vibrant jungle filled with unique flora and fauna. But the true highlight of this trip is what lies just beyond the forests. The higher you get, the more spectacular the views as you traverse the snowy peaks. Towering to the sky, you’ll also spot some stupendous gorges and valleys.