By Guest Blogger Amalia Nappo

Memorial Day weekend, while many families were preparing for cookouts, gathering with friends, family or traveling to a destination such as the beach, our family this year headed to Tams, West Virginia. For the last several years you would have found us on our jet-skis pulling the kids at the lake.

Soaking up the sun, building sand castles, catching the waves or simply lounging at the beach is what most people enjoy. We on the other hand were loading our gear, boots, 4-wheelers, side by side ATV and were headed towards the mountains.

Several years ago when I became a single mom after my divorce I began to take my three kids and myself to different areas in or around NC. Some trips can be 2-4 hours away, but we are able to experience different areas and also support small businesses.

Burning Rock Off-Road Park

Now we know these trips are not for everyone. Many people do not own equipment nor do they have interest (or possibly are fearful) of trails tucked in the mountains. However equipment rentals are always available for anyone looking to get into this activity.

Nature reclaimed, a beautiful destination, and fun for the whole family: these are just a few of the things that make Burning Rock Off-Road Park in West Virginia a truly special location.

With a name like Burning Rock, there just had to be a story. As with most of the region, coal is an abundant resource that has played a huge role in history. As coal was mined, the rubble (refuse) was deposited in the valley where the trail head is now located. Since some coal remained mixed in with the rubble, the immense pressure and heat would cause it to combust hence giving the name Burning Rock.

In fact, so much rock and other materials were dumped onto the land that the trail-head of the park now stands 40 feet higher than it did during its coal mining days.

Currently Burning Rock offers over 100 miles of trails on 10,000 acres of beautiful, rolling, and mountainous terrain. There are thrills for all levels of all skill levels.


Anybody is welcome, whether they have a Jeep, an ATV, UTV, dirt-bike, or any other off-roading vehicle. Of course, those who don’t have an off-roading vehicle are just as welcome!

The property is monitored by WVDEP on a regular basis with testing of five water outlets, impact of trail traffic as well as nearby timbering and/or mining operations.

Did I mention my kids are 13, 14 and 15 years old? Each of them has their own 4-wheeler. What an experience! Open areas, winding trails, deep forest, ravines, ridge-lines, occasional mud, hill climbs, rocky sections, creeks, ridge-lines, riding alongside cliffs, overlooks and so much more!

Burning Rock has their own app for their trails that can easily be downloaded to always know where you are located and where you are going. Because they have so many skill level trails, green is easy.

I will admit there are times your heart needs to reclaim its place in your chest! For those that ride, it’s about the thrill but it’s also about enjoyment and safety. Exploring the mountain trails is a great experience, as it puts you out in nature. Safety is always a priority, making sure our equipment is working, fueled and most important helmets along with abiding by trail rules. Be smart!

The trails are very well maintained, and they have excellent staff that are knowledgeable and friendly.

Often times when you come across other riders we are all looking out for each-other. If someone needs help, people stop. Many times we end up in groups, become friends and spend hours riding trails in groups.

Off-road exploration truly can be an experience for families, especially at locations that are family concise. The exploration for me has been watching my kids push their limits, overcome fear, increase confidence and the willingness to try! We have been to several other off road parks but this so far is our favorite.

With its multiple cabins, RV sites, and spaces for tent camping there are plenty of options for lodging right at the park. Other pluses are the game room, pavilion, large center fire pit and gathering area.

You can find out more about Burning Rock here, and off road parks located in NC here.

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