I do not own a four-wheel drive vehicle, but I love them. And my experience with them as off-road vehicles is merely as a young passenger...who became an "old passenger" with great memories.

When I was a kid, we'd visit our relatives in southwestern New Mexico every other year and stay a couple or three weeks. Without fail, whenever we would arrive at my aunt's house in tiny Mimbres, New Mexico, my cousins would grab my sister and me, and we'd head out on an off-roading adventure. Back then, there was a LOT of public land, so we wouldn't be on any kind of a paved road before we were driving across a field or through a stream to parts unknown. It was such a blast.


That's why it's so much fun for me to watch these drivers navigate the treacherous-looking Mason Jar in Harlan, Kentucky. It's part of the Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area.

Trust me, even the kinds of four-wheel drive trucks and SUVs my cousins were using were NOT capable of handling something like the Mason Jar.

By the way, the kind of off-roading I was talking about earlier is of the MUCH milder variety than the extreme nature of what drivers can expect at Black Mountain.

I would imagine visitors bring a conventional vehicle along with their UNCONVENTIONAL ones so they enjoy all that the Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area has to offer.

My guess is that that hot tub is mighty inviting after a day of throwing your neck, back, and whatever else you got all over the place while mastering one of Kentucky's most popular off-road courses.

And yes, there are multiple off-road courses for the Kentucky enthusiast. Or Tennessee or Indiana or Illinois.


If you DON'T feel like traveling that far away from home, there's the Turkey Bay Off Highway Vehicle Area in Murray, Kentucky at Land Between the Lakes.


Even closer is the Blue Holler Offroad Park at Mammoth Cave, a course tailor-made for ATVs and larger four-wheelers.

Summer isn't over, but hey, FALL sounds like the perfect climate for off-roading in Kentucky. And it looks like you can take your pick.

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