ATV/Side by Side Mudding: Tips and Top Mud Pits
One of the most fun ways to test the limits of both rider and machine is to take your side-by-side (SxS) UTV or ATV on a route that’s more bog than trail: the muddier, the better! Understand the basics of mud bogging and find some of the best mud pits and trails across the country.
What is ATV/UTV Mudding?
Many off-roading trails have their patches of mud, but when looking to go mudding you must specifically search out an area. Much like sand, mud demands specific hardware and accessories and rider techniques to successfully navigate through.
ATV riding in mud does pose some interesting challenges: the mud sticks to your off-road vehicle and to you, which can impact your machine’s performance and hamper your visibility. Mud also obscures your view of rocks, logs, and other obstacles and debris, and makes it impossible to visually gauge the depth of sodden holes and mucky waterways.
Mudholes often require a burst of throttle to cross without getting stuck, but that speed can backfire if the depth or underlying substrate isn't what you expected. Slick mud can pose traction problems and especially mucky mud pits can “bog” down your tires and strain your engine. But, all these challenges are what makes ATV/UTV mudding so fun! Make sure to check out some of the best side by sides for mudding for the ultimate adventure.
What to Bring ATV Mudding
Being fully prepared for mudding calls for certain tools, accessories, and apparel. Rigging up (and suiting up) for mudding is a science unto itself, but the following should give you some of the basic considerations to get you started.
ATV & Side-by-Side Mudding Clothes
Whether you are riding a quad or a side-by-side, plan to get muddy! Your SxS or ATV mudding clothes should provide full-length protection and padding to help buffer you from any mud flying up and unexpected wipe-outs. Insulated vests or riding jackets may be useful in damp or cold weather and muck boots and waders are also recommended. Most importantly, make sure to always wear a helmet and goggles when riding an ATV or UTV.
ATV/SxS Mud Riding Accessories
Whether you are looking to do some casual bog-riding here and there or if you are outfitting your SxS or ATV for the nastiest or most competitive swamp circuits, there are many accessories available for improving your off-road vehicle’s mudding capabilities.
ATV mud tires are a must. The deep tread and angled lugging on these improve traction on slippery muck while enabling “self-cleaning” as the tires shed mud out to the sides. Medium or shallow-tread mud tires often have decent utility on more general off-roading terrain, in case your budget doesn’t allow for purchasing multiple sets of tires and you’re not planning on specializing in ATV mud pits.
Snorkels breathe clean air for the engine, CVT intakes and exhaust in deep mud pits; diff breathers and other vent lines are also musts if you’re going in deep water. Installing CV boot protectors can prevent or lessen axle damage and joint wear providing extra insurance when you’re plowing through a muddy basin or channel with no idea what’s hidden under the surface. Dielectric grease can also help protect electrical connections. Don’t forget a winch: an absolute lifesaver out there in the mud-scapes.
For side-by-side UTVs, keep in mind that full windshields aren’t conducive to UTV mudding, as a couple major splashes can quickly turn your sightlines to nothing. Half windshields or flip-up/tip-out versions are better suited to mud-bogging.
UTV/ATV Mud Parks in USA
There is no shortage of awesome mudding trails and parks in the U.S. Here’s a sampling of some of the best:
- High Lifter Proving Grounds (Shreveport, LA): No better place to ramp up your mud-hole mastery.
- Muddy Bottoms ATV Park (Serepta, LA): A couple of hundred miles of trails and multiple mud pits in a 5,000-acre playground.
- Cooterville Mud Rides (Tallulah, LA): If you haven’t figured it out already, the Bayou State is a good place to find mud.
- Busco Beach (Goldsboro, NC): Open 24-7 access to mudholes and mud pits.
- Boggs & Boulders (Andalusia, AL): Mudflats and mudholes galore in this 1,000-plus-acre off-roading resort.
- Durhamtown Off Road Resort (Union Point, GA): The biggest off-roading park in the Southeast can get plenty muddy, not least on the aptly named Swamp Loop.
- Crooked Creek Mud Bogg (Carrabelle, FL): Emphasis on the “bog.”
- Barnyard All Terrain (Livermore, ME): A unique combination of mud awaits you at one of the Northeast’s bogging hotspots.
- Badlands Off-Road Park (Attica, IN): The more than 800 off-roading acres at Badlands include some excellent mud routes.
What to Do If You Get Stuck Mudding
Spend enough time riding in the bogs, and you’re going to get bogged down—part of the fun, really! Three elements can help you free a SxS UTV or ATV stuck in mud: a winch, a high-quality tow strap, and plenty of riding buddies for extra hands.
Get Hooked on Riding in ATV Mud Pits
Mudding is an awesome way to improve your off-roading skills and learn just how effective vehicular tweaks can be in adapting to challenging terrain. It goes without saying that it’s also ridiculously enjoyable, especially when you’ve got a whole crew getting muddy alongside you—and helping you get un-stuck!