5 Great Northeastern U.S. Destinations to Check Out From Behind the Wheel of Your Bronco
In previous posts, we’ve looked at destination options in the Western, Southwestern and Midwestern United States that are definitely worth checking out from behind the wheel of your Ford Bronco. So, this time around, let’s set our proverbial compasses both farther east and farther north.
With its dramatic transformation through the seasons each year to its surprisingly varied assortment of scenery, the Northeastern United States must be experienced in person to be fully appreciated. And, with temperatures on the rise, this region of the country becomes more attractive than ever.
While on the whole, public access to adrenaline-inducing, Bronco-worthy rugged terrain (legal access, anyway) seems a bit more limited in this region as compared to other parts of the U.S., there are plenty of destinations in northeastern United States that would definitely warrant a “must see” classification simply on the basis of the unbeatable vistas they provide.
Rocky Mountain Terrain Park, Maine
Generally, when any person or place bills itself as the “premier” anything, it tends to be taken with a bit of understandable skepticism, but it’s warranted in this case. In billing itself as “Maine’s Premier Off-Road Playground”, Rocky Mountain Terrain Park may well be guilty of understatement, if anything.
When you combine its natural aesthetics, overall welcoming vibe and expansive acreage, this is a destination with few equals anywhere. There’s little doubt that adventure-seeking off-roaders in this region agree wholeheartedly. Rocky Mountain Terrain Park can boast of a rock-solid 5-star Google rating.
You’ll find all kinds of trails to navigate from behind the wheel of your Bronco in the more than 700 acres that comprises this off-roading mecca, ranging from mildly challenging to pulse-pounding and, as far as that previously mentioned “welcoming vibe” is concerned . . . that’s to be taken literally. Rocky Mountain is among a select group of destinations in this part of the country that openly welcomes all vehicles, even going so far as to state as much on its website.
So, point your Bronco here and you’ll likely find yourself in the midst of a varied assortment of off-road vehicles ranging from trucks, rock crawlers, dune buggies to ATVs, UTVs and snowmobiles.
The activity menu at Rocky Mountain isn’t just limited to off-roading, either. They also offer camping facilities for those planning to pack the right gear in the backof their Broncos, guided trail trips, food packages and even a shooting range.
Jericho Mountain State Park – New Hampshire
Located in the White Mountains of Berlin, New Hampshire, Jericho Mountain State Park is Included more for its overall destination than its appeal as a 4-wheel drive proving ground. This is a 4-season destination, catering to legions of snowmobilers in the colder months, and offering some great camping, swimming, fishing and canoeing at Jericho Lake as the temperatures rise.
If you’re up for towing an ATV or snowmobile behind your Bronco, this is definitely a destination worth considering, especially if you live close by. Jericho’s 60 miles of ATV trails comprises the only major state-owned ATV riding area in all of New Hampshire and the snowmobile culture here runs deep.
The scenery here is also postcard worthy. The image of Jericho Lake with the mountains in the distance is something that’s bound to stay with you for quite a while.
Hunter Mountain Resort, New York
As the name would imply, this is a destination known foremost for winter pursuits like skiing and snowboarding. However, it does have more to offer than that. Plenty of off-roaders venture here once the weather warms up, drawn to the area by its lengthy network of trails that are definitely worth exploring. The topography ranges from mild to wild — Hunter Mountain draws its share of mudders and rock crawlers, but you’ll find plenty of more traditional 4-wheel drive motorists, as well.
For those of you who have pulled your Bronco into your garage without having much occasion to perfect your four-wheel driving skills, Hunter Mountain has you covered. They offer one and two-day excursions that are open to all registered, inspected and insured four-wheel drive vehicles. The curriculum includes instruction and real-world practice on obstacles like mud passes, log crawls and stream crossings, culminating in a hill climb to the area’s summit, which is a full 3200 feet above sea level and offers a stunning view of the terrain below.
Bald Eagle State Forest, Pennsylvania
This HUGE expanse of inviting wilderness spans nearly 200,000 acres and reaches into no less than 5 separate counties. Regardless of whether you’re looking for challenging trails, serene natural settings through old-growth forests or a combination of these, this is a destination worth checking out.
Just before the turn of the 20th century, the land comprising Bald Eagle was purchased by the state to protect it from the widespread depletion of natural habitats that seemed to have been especially severe in this part of the country — largely due to irresponsible foresting and mining practices. As a result, where there was once only rotting stumps left over from the past now there stands a thoroughly revitalized forest.
Because of its history, Bald Eagle’s state management does take an active role in making sure overzealous off-roaders don’t cause a backslide in the now-pristine vistas that took so long to rejuvenate, not all of the acreage will be navigable from behind the wheel of your Bronco, but plenty of it is.
Should you choose to bring along your dirt bike or ATV, you’ll find plenty of opportunity to fire them up here — this forest boasts the largest network of dirt roads anywhere in the state. And if fishing or camping is more your style, you’re in luck — you’ll find no less than 14 different streams nearby, including White Deer Creek, which is renowned among fly fishing aficionados. Penn’s Creek has been a “go-to” destination for canoeing and kayaking for quite a while and there are more than 45 designated motorized campsites to choose from.
Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts
The warmer the weather gets, the more appealing this destination will be. While it’s admittedly also not really a place to put your 4-wheeling skills to the ultimate test, Cape Cod offers a singular experience that’s likely been hidden from some over the years by its perception as a ritzy, “pass the Grey Poupon” magnet for the affluent.
Sure, they’re out here, but Cape Cod has an awful lot to offer — especially during the summer. For starters, there are miles and miles of clean, sandy beaches here that you can actually access without even getting out of your Bronco — that is, until you’ve found the perfect spot to take in the incredible ocean vistas here. In the spirit of full disclosure, in order to take in some oversand driving, you will have to come fully equipped with the proper gear, as prescribed by the National Park Service.
Nearby, there’s plenty more to do, from hiking through forests so green that it’s hard to believe they’re in such close proximity to the ocean, to fishing and hunting.