Windrock Park will always be very special to Sabrina and me. When we were thinking about purchasing an RV, we first rented a Class A motorhome and took it to Windrock Park campground to see how we would like the RV lifestyle. We also rented off-highway vehicles, also known as ATVs, for a weekend while we were there. The RV rental itself was in horrible condition, but the experience was amazing and locked in our decision to hit the road.
We now have been living in our RV for a full year and we wanted to do a trip to celebrate our nomadiversary. What better way than going back to Windrock Park where it all began? We wanted to make this trip extra special, so we invited our friends Dave and Katie from RN-RV Chronicles to meet up with us at Windrock for the week and our friend Mark came along with us and stayed in our RV. To say we had a blast would be an understatement.
Windrock Park campground in Oliver Springs, TN, is a unique camping experience where you can rent side-by-side ATVs and drive them like you own them. You can even park them overnight at your campsite if you rent for multiple days, which you just may want to do if you plan to see all 300 miles of trails.
The trails come in three different levels: easy, moderate and difficult. We never stepped up to a difficult trail, but some of the moderate ones felt difficult to us novice riders.
Getting the ATVs
It all starts at the camp store and the experience is very similar to renting a car, except they walk you through the operation of the vehicles before you drive away with it. The instructor showed us all the features of how to engage the four-wheel drive, how to change it from high to low, as well as how to lock all the wheels in case we would really get stuck.
He then showed us any damage that he noted on the vehicle and asked us to look it over as well. While inspecting the roof he pointed out the damage on the roll bar and said it was from the previous group who rolled the vehicle completely over. This was a nice reminder to us that these can roll, and we should be cautious out there.
Going off road
With our helmets strapped on, we took off into the mountains. It had rained pretty hard that week and the trails were extra muddy. This really added to the fun for most of us, although Sabrina asked if I could strategically hit the puddles, so the mud would only splash on me and avoid her. Sometimes we were crawling up hills being careful not to let our tires lose grip and slip back down the hill. Other times, we were slowly going downhill, being careful not to tip over. But there were also moments where we could really pick up the pace and slide around corners letting our rear tires dance around on top of the dirt.
Most of the trails were very scenic, and as a passenger it was fun just to take in the sights – especially at the top of the mountains that let you see for miles. My favorite parts of the trails were the thick green areas that looked like the jungle. The small waterfalls would cross over the trails and at times it looked like we were driving through Jurassic Park. I kept a sharp eye out for any raptors that might be lurking in the woods. We really felt like we were on an adventure and loved it!
We did have a few close calls where we felt like we were going to tip over or get stuck in some of the deep mud, but for the most part I think we all handled ourselves very well. Our toughest challenge turned out to be trying to read the map, so we did not get lost. Since we had trouble navigating during the day, we were always sure to start making our way back to camp before dark, so we wouldn’t get lost for good.
Back at the campground
The fun did not end on the trail. Back at our campsite, we had plenty of room for our RV, car, two ATVs and all of our friends. We did cookouts and swapped stories about our adventures on the trails while sitting around our campfire. We laughed at being more lost than found on the trails and how every small hill climb was a huge victory. We hope to make this a yearly tradition and continue to invite more people out with us to enjoy this adventurous experience. One day we might even learn how to read a map.
If you are looking for more than the standard campground experience and want a bit of adventure in your next RV getaway, then we think you will love Windrock Park and all it has to offer. We also have a six-minute video about our experience, if you’d like to see a little more from our trip.