Chadwick OHV Area, Ozark Missouri

Destinations, Midwest, South — on July 18, 2007 at 12:00 pm

Southern Missouri is renowned for its entertainment shows, the Ozark Mountains and a vast cave system that’s so extensive cartoon cavemen Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone could wind up lost. As we made our way from the Springfield, Mo., airport down highway 65, we also realized it could be famous for its cacophony of billboards littered along the road advertising good ol’ Branson.
In Branson, you’ll find entertainment shows galore and enough cheap novelty gift shops to suit your penny pinching side. But that’s not why we ventured to Missouri’s south: We were in search of top notch ATV trails. Our trip would venture outside of the herd of slow-moving senior bus tours and money splurging tourists of Branson.
We soon learned southern Missouri is also well known for its slurry of sensational restaurants, fishing and Bass Pro Shops.
Anxious Anticipation
After we filled our bellies with omelets and French toast for breakfast, we made our way northeast to Chadwick OHV through a series of twisting, scenic backroads. Chadwick is located in the northern-most portion of the Mark Twain National Forest near Ozark. As we approached the riding area and 112 miles of trails, our stomachs turned as we grew anxious to tackle the terrain — or maybe it was from the extra Tabasco we put on our eggs!
Yamaha had a solid setup for us media types at Chadwick, with a full-blown semi packed with blue and white Wolverines ready for action. We set up for our ride on a side portion of trail 140 on Cobb Ridge. Our first tour of Chadwick would lead us through trail 101 and 121 and eventually merge into Rattlesnake Ridge and trail 120B.
As we started the Wolverines and made our way to the trail, we observed just how dense this portion of the Mark Twain National Forest is. Trails wound through hollows of oaks, pines and hickories that towered above our quads. Before entering the first trail, our Yamaha guides brought us by one of the updated campgrounds located on Cobb Ridge. The area had plenty of available camping with running water and the basic facilities.
Signs were posted around the area alerting campers that all garbage created must be brought back out. Garbage pickup is available at Cobb Ridge, but on
a limited basis. So come prepared with garbage bags and reserve a place in your trailer or truck to haul the garbage out with you. And don’t forget, you are in black bear country, don’t make the mistake of leaving food and beverages out when you take off for a trail ride.
The Chadwick campground also has limited electrical hookups, which makes the trip easier for RVs and rigs set up with trailers.
Chadwick Rules
Chadwick requires all children under the age 18 to wear a helmet, and the U.S. Forest Service highly recommends all riders wear one.
Riders need to be aware that Chadwick is open to motorcycles, hikers, horse riders, bicyclist and a few roads are open to passenger vehicles. We only encountered ATVs during our trip on the back trails. However, logging trucks were circling through passenger roads, so we maintained slow speeds and remained attentive while connecting to main trails.
Also, a forest use pass is required to ride at Chadwick, and it can be obtained at area convenience stores in Chadwick or Ozark. Riders must not veer from marked trails, unless they are in the 2-acre play area near Cobb Ridge campground or the 5-acre Trails Bike Area between trails 110 and 135.
No motorized vehicle wider than 50 inches is allowed, mainly because the trails are too tight for anything wider. Bridges were built for ATVs and motorcycles, and nothing larger. An approved spark arrestor and proper exhaust packing is required.

Cruising Chadwick
Once we finished examining the campground, rules and regulations, we were ready to ride the trails marked easy, moderate and difficult. Well, at least we thought we were. Just 10 minutes into our adventure we realized we could have used an extra week of conditioning. Exhausted, we took off our helmets and slugged down a bottle of water. Temperatures were in the 90s and the humidity was tropical — hard to believe it was mid-September! But, when riding, we didn’t notice the steamy conditions as much thanks to a nice Ozark breeze.
Our concentration quickly shifted from exhaustion after our body adjusted to the rigors of riding, and we began focusing our energy on the Chadwick trails. Trail 101 started out winding through the trees with bermed corners and loamy gravel, which helped fulfill our aggressive-riding needs.
Trail 101 was marked easy, but we did notice that several sections were more difficult than an inexperienced rider would like to ride on. Many of the easy, moderate and difficult trails were very similar as far as terrain, so we definitely recommend all ATVers to be experienced and ride with other experienced riders.
As we made our way farther into the Mark Twain Forest trails, we were presented with a more challenging ride. Our morning adventure merged from trail 101 to 121, where we found tough hillclimbs and downhill descents.
As we made our way around trail 121, we turned off to trail 120B that made a steep switchback descent. Yamaha officials kept telling us about a unique cave that tunneled into Rattlesnake Ridge and disappeared into the darkness. After riding down hill and twisting over a bridge, there sat the ever-talked about cave. A cool, refreshing gust of air puffed from the mouth of the cave. And, with our gear sticking to us like melting gum, we appreciated the cave cool down.
In one full day of riding, we only explored a very small portion of the Chadwick OHV trail system. When we looked at the map and the trails we traveled, we only wished we had more time to explore the area fully.

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    1 Comment

  • Fernando says:

    Last (boreal) summer I was in Chile, in Santiago, and wanted to rent a motorcycle to visit the north. The desertic part of the country. Where the Dakar takes place now. And when doing the rental I chose to better take a tour with a guide and a backup truck. Its a bit more money but there was no chance of me getting lost or loonking for a tow in the middle of no where. Its a great experience that you have to live for your self. Anyway, their link is http://www.samttours.com . Cheers! Fernando

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