If driving dirt trails or roads with your 4x4 or motorcycle is something that sounds fun to you, WindRock Park in Oliver Springs, Tennessee should be high on your list of destinations.
Nestled on the border of the Ridge and Valley Appalachians and the Cumberland Plateau, the landscape of this 72,000-acre park provides an incredible venue for both adrenaline and relaxing. Waterfalls, endless 4X4 trails of every difficulty, and epic downhill mountain biking trails give you plenty to do during the day. The nights are quiet, except for the crackling of fires and the occasional owl, with most people resting up after a big day exploring and putting their off-road skills to the test.
My wife, Kristine, 9 year old son, KC, and I loaded our Nissan Titan XD 4x4 diesel truck with camping gear, an Orion Cooler full of food and drinks, mountain bikes, my kayak, and some GoPro Cameras.
We had never been off of Interstate 40 in the Harriman, TN area and this was a great excuse to explore a new area of Tennessee. We arrived at WindRock Park around mid-day and found checking in and getting our bearings easy. While we opted for the primitive camping with our Titan and a truck bed tent, there are full RV hookups, and lots of cabins for rent as well. Book your campsite early during the fall months and even on weekdays as visitors snatch up their spots to experience Tennessee’s beautiful foliage.
When we first pulled into the General Store to check in and get our “Land Use Permits” we got lots of advice on top areas to check out. I wanted to get to the highest peak and really put my 4x4 Titan to the test. “CE” Charles Edward helped us find the types of trails we were looking for that were reasonable for a full sized stock pick-up. When not helping people like us find adventure off road, “CE” is the sheriff in town and was leaving early to work the “Trunk or Treat” Halloween party. He is somebody worth looking up when you get to the park.
We managed to get to the top of the mountain early enough to hang out and enjoy it. A nice tailgate picnic, some photos, hikes, and soaking in the scenery put us all in a great mood. Next time, I am going to bring a kite, however, and some binoculars. We could see the Smoky Mountains, the Cumberland Plateau, and valleys that include whitewater creeks and fishing lakes like Watts Bar.
Putting our Nissan Titan to the test trying some more difficult roads was fun, but we didn’t get too crazy. This park can best the top buggies and motorcycles with the most difficult trails and ditches. I am glad I brought my mountain bike! There are world-class downhill trails that will challenge the pros. KC and I did some biking, but the downhill trails are not for his skill level. I got a short run in without him, however. You can easily spend a few days mounting biking as this may be the most impressive downhill track on the East Coast. You may see some pros training on the trail in their full body armor. Windrock also rents out ATVs for the more difficult trails.
By the time the sun was getting low we managed to find our way back to camp and get set up. The fall foliage was starting to show and the sunset was awesome, followed by a 3/4 moon that lit up camp nicely over clear skies, a great night to cook up burgers and marshmallows. KC couldn’t have been more excited to sleep in the tent with mom and dad.
Sometimes it is the little things in life that make a big difference.