8 Tips for Family-Friendly ATV Adventures

Contributed by Wild Rock PR

ATV’s and side-by-sides are an awesome way explore! With over a thousand miles of interconnected trails through Ride the Wilds, Northern New Hampshire is an up-and-coming destination for families looking for a way to unplug and reconnect. Check out these 8 tips brought to you by Bear Rock Adventures on how to ensure you and your family have the best summer adventure:

Do your research and book a vehicle with a company you trust. It’s important to get a vehicle (or vehicles) that fit your family. Side-by-sides are a family favorite, as some can fit up to six people.

If you’re renting a vehicle, ask questions and feel comfortable before getting in the driver’s seat. Here are some helpful videos.

Wear the right gear. This includes helmets for all passengers under age 18, eyewear (sunglasses, glasses, goggles) and closed toe shoes for everyone – don’t forget to wear a seatbelt if available.

Rent a place to stay nearby. Consider lodging that backs up or is within ATV driving distance to trails (check local regulations on ATV use on main roads).

Plan a breakfast, lunch or dinner at a local restaurant. Relax and put cooking worries aside for a meal or two at these amazing eateries minutes away from trails. Some are even on the trails, so plan accordingly and pack snacks if-needed.

Know where you’re going. Maps are available to guide your ride and indicate the difficulty of each trail, giving you an idea of what terrain to expect. Keep an eye out for signs on the trails during your ride that can provide other helpful information.

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. Many animals call the area home, so be on the lookout for moose, deer, birds and more – keep your distance.

Check the weather and dress in layers. Be prepared for anything from warm sun to heavy rain. If you wear the right clothes, your adventure can be amazing in any weather.

Everyone has a trailblazer inside them. Whether the next family vacation is off-roading, boating or traveling to a new area, make sure you’re outside and embracing the inner trailblazer within.

Upper Ammonoosuc River Paddle-Hike


I plan on revisiting the Upper Ammonoosuc River this summer and combine a paddle with a hike of the Percy Peaks Loop. Bill Schomburg, a dear NFCT friend who passed away recently, told me about Percy Peaks and the Cohos Trail, which crosses the NFCT on the Upper Ammo, when I first met him in 2014. I think these two intersecting trips will make a great weekend.


I paddled the Upper Ammonoosuc from Gord’s Corner Store in West Milan to the new Stark Access (NFCT Map 7) in the spring 2015. The river in this stretch is quiet and meandering. In June, a canopy of soft spring green bends over the river along the way. I also have driven through the valley in fall and recommend it as an exceptional trip for foliage viewing.

A slow moving ten miles can take half a day with time to stop for lunch and enjoy the scenery. At normal flows wide golden sand bars pop up next to deep swimming holes making lovely picnic spots and good fishing. The river is road-side, but you don’t notice. In the last mile or so houses become visible until the leaves are fully flushed out.

The Stark access is a convenient take out with good parking on river left just above Stark Village. If you enjoy class II rapids as I do, you will want to continue downstream another quarter-mile to the Stark covered bridge to take advantage of some fun whitewater.

Put in at Gord’s Corner Store at the intersection of Routes 110 and 110-A. Here, NFCT constructed stairs lead down to the water, and you can park at the store. Gord also has a deli to supply your lunch, offers a shuttle service and rents canoes, so everything you need is right there!

If you haven’t had enough paddling, the river continues quietly for another five miles to Emerson Road (the way to Percy Peaks) or eight miles beyond that to the Connecticut River in Groveton. The character remains quiet with a few punctuated rapids and a number of dam carries. See the NFCT trip planner tool for details.


The Percy Peaks Loop is described in detail on the Hike New England web site and is recommended by the Cohos Trail as one of the Dozen Best Day Hikes. I have scouted these unique twin mountains from the river and roadside. Their broad granite slab-covered tops have captured my imagination every time. This 6.7 mile hike is reported to take a half day.

Where to Stay

  • Camp or take a room at Percy Lodge and Campground.
  • Paddle up and camp at one of the three NFCT campsites along the Upper Ammonoosuc (river access only). NFCT trip planner, NFCT Map 7 and the NFCT Guidebook for information.
  • Rent the Ammo Cabin situated right on the river from Gord’s Corner Store. Drive in or paddle up, this rustic cabin rental is a great place to hang out, fish and play in the river.
  • Stay at the Stark Village Inn for a charming, traditional Bed & Breakfast experience.