Big adventure on the mountaintops in Evarts, KY

Some things are just made to get the adrenalin going. Things like ziplines and ATV adventures. Luckily for those who thrive on such things, you can find both in one day at the same location in Evarts, Kentucky.

Evarts is a small mountain community in Harlan County, about 150 miles southeast of Lexington. When contour mining pulled out of the mountain, the county was left with 7,000 acres of rugged trails, tall trees and the potential for a terrific recreational area.

Harlan County Ridge Runners ATV Club

The Harlan County Outdoor Recreation Board Authority was formed to optimize the mountain’s usage and what visitors discover today is a playground larger than most, with 150 miles of drivable (sometimes barely) trails.

Each trail is marked with a unique identifier and a classification as to its difficulty. Markers indicate the type vehicle that is safe to negotiate each, so even first timers don’t have to worry about getting in over their heads.  ATV Illustrated magazine called Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area “possibly the best ATV riding in North America.”

Harlan County Ridge Runners ATV ClubATV rentals are not available, so just about everyone brings their own vehicle(s).  However, if you show up without your own ride, all is not lost. The Harlan Country Ridge Runners ATV Club has hundreds of members who love to ride and will often offer to take you along. It’s a cross-your-fingers and hope you find a member system, but generally you can find the members hanging out near the Ziplines or down at the campground.

We spent the afternoon cruising the trails with the ATV Club members and had just a great time. The mountains are an amazing playground for ATV’s, side-by-sides (SxS), OHV’s and dirt bikes;  and the trails have adventure written all over them, no matter what your skill level. Beginner, intermediate or extreme drivers will all go away happy.  Open all day, all year round; one day, 31 day and yearly passes are available at one of two trailheads. Click here for directions.

Before or after trail riding, you’ll also want to check out the Black Mountain Thunder Ziplines.  I’ve been on many ziplines around the world, but honestly have not enjoyed any more than these.  11 Lines – 2 miles of line – up to 500 feet in the air and 60 MPH. That’s what you want from a zipline.

With an abundant, friendly staff to keep things moving, this was a fast paced and enjoyable morning. Only open since August 2011, this is an undiscovered gem. The lines and equipment are made for fun and flying 500 feet above the treetops is a trip you won’t forget. The views are amazing. But look fast, they don’t last long at 60 MPH.

Reservations are needed ahead of time, so contact them at 606.837.3205.  Ask about combination discounts if you partake in both adventures.

 PHOTO GALLERY – Mouse over the lower right corner and click on the arrow to see full-screen version.