Want to Learn Off-Roading But Were Afraid to Try? 4Fest Events Has You Covered

There's no better way to learn a skill and build confidence than doing it in a friendly place. 4Fest Events brings pros and novices together at off-roading festivals.

Off-Roading Made Easy
Off-roading has never been easier than right now. Photo: Erica Terry

Off-Roading Isn’t Just about Connecting to the Terrain

I have a confession to make. Whenever I’m out running my errands, and I see a vehicle that is outfitted for off-road capability, I get a wee bit wistful. I love pulling up at stoplights next to someone who has dropped the top (and sometimes even the doors) of their cars, someone who looks like they just had a dusty adventure far away from the middle of town or the highway. Seeing them reminds me of the times I’ve gone off-roading.

When I first tried it, it was exhilarating. It was also intimidating at certain moments. But that’s the hook with this activity – every time I’ve done it, I wanted to do it again, even though I don’t have too many friends with the off-roading spirit. I guess you could say I’ve got lots of enthusiasm for the activity but limited experience.

This is where 4Fest Events comes in handy.

There’s Nothing Like Learning Off-Roading In a Friendly Place

For the four-wheel enthusiast, 4Fest Events, which take place in several cities around the country, offers two full days of off-roading fun in a group setting. You have the opportunity to hit the trails and explore. There are hills to climb, rock courses to test your skills, and acres upon acres of terrain to enjoy what you like best: driving your off-road vehicle. But it’s not just about feeling the ground under your wheels. Whether you’re a seasoned in off-roading or a newbie, you’ll have the chance to connect with like-minded individuals and expand your skill set.

I attended Detroit 4Fest in Holly, Michigan in September. It was held at Holly Oaks ORV Park, an off-road vehicle park. I had the opportunity to ride along with Dawn, part of the Jeep Babes Michigan Chapter. She showed me what the park is all about; she’s part of the team that helps to keep the park in top shape for off-road adventurers.

Related: Steep Hills, Dusty Thrills at the Ford Bronco Off-Roadeo

A Girls Guide To Cars | Want To Learn Off-Roading But Were Afraid To Try? 4Fest Events Has You Covered - Off Roading Detroit 4Fest Erica T 2

Off-roading was a lot of fun with the Jeep Babes. Photo: Erica Terry

Jeep Babes Provide a Safe Space for Women

Jeep Babes is an all-women, all-Jeep group that brings women together through their mutual love of the Jeep lifestyle. Jeep Babes offers women a safe space to connect with other women, ride trails, discuss automotive topics, and participate in philanthropic opportunities.

“No babe left behind,” is the motto of the Jeep Babes, and whether you’re a seasoned off-roader or just thinking about getting started, I can’t recommend enough finding a local Jeep Babes chapter. Safety is truly the top priority, and the wealth of knowledge you can gain from the other women in the group is amazing. These babes really look out for each other on and off the trails.

Related: I went Off-Roading in the Jeep Wrangler, and it Blew My Mind 

A Girls Guide To Cars | Want To Learn Off-Roading But Were Afraid To Try? 4Fest Events Has You Covered - Off Roading Detroit 4Fest Erica T

You cover all kinds of terrain and different elevations while off-roading. Photo: Erica Terry

Magic Happens in the ORV Park

At an ORV park most vehicles that are made for off-roading are welcomed, which includes SXS (side-by-sides), UTVs (Utility Terrain Vehicles), Jeeps, 4×4 Trucks, Motorcycles, ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) and more. At 4Fest, motorcycles and ATVs were not allowed for safety reasons, which actually can help reduce your levels of anxiety if you are a beginner.

Going forward with confidence is a part of learning, and it is easier knowing you won’t have to worry about smaller vehicles occupying the same spaces on the trail. Most off-roading trail systems include beginner and advanced obstacles, giving you the chance to ascend on hill climbs, dash through mud pits, venture rock courses, stairs, and more.

Related: Side-by-Side Off-Roading Family Fun in the Honda Talon 1000R-4 

A Girls Guide To Cars | Want To Learn Off-Roading But Were Afraid To Try? 4Fest Events Has You Covered - Off Roading Detroit 4Fest Erica T 5

Flags are essential for safety when off-roading at an ORV park. Photo: Erica Terry

Flag on the Play

At an ORV park you are required to have a safety flag on your vehicle, which was the case during the 4Fest Events. The warning flag should maintain a minimum 10-foot height at a standstill and 8 feet in motion. The flags allow drivers to see where you are on the ORV trail, creating a safer environment for all off-roaders. During 4Fest events, flags and mounts are available for purchase, and installation is free.

Safety flags are used at all ORV parks and may vary from park to park. Checking in at the specific location you’re attending is critical to find out all the details on proper flag etiquette and requirements, including the purchase of an ORV Trail Permit sticker.

A Girls Guide To Cars | Want To Learn Off-Roading But Were Afraid To Try? 4Fest Events Has You Covered - Off Roading Detroit 4Fest Erica T 7

Be safe: you will encounter lots of craggy terrain at most OTV parks. Photo: Erica Terry

ORV Safety Tips

Speed and rider inexperience are the primary contributing factors to ORV accidents. Here are a few important safety tips you should keep in mind when you venture out onto an ORV Park.

  • Ride at a safe speed.
  • Ride on the right side of the trail.
  • Operate within the limits of your ORV and yourself.
  • Stay on the trails and be prepared to adjust to changing environmental conditions.
  • Create a ride plan and make sure someone knows you’re out on the trail.
  • Keep your safety flag on at all times.
  • Keep lights on when riding.
  • Attend events like 4Fest and register for classes to get you comfortable on the trails.
A Girls Guide To Cars | Want To Learn Off-Roading But Were Afraid To Try? 4Fest Events Has You Covered - Off Roading Detroit 4Fest Erica T 6

Learning and paying attention to detail is so important in off-roading. Photo: Erica Terry

Off-Roading Education is Key

One of the main goals of 4Fest events is to get like-minded individuals out on the course having fun. Newbies, beginners, and seasoned off-roaders, no matter what your skill level is, you’re welcome to attend individually or bring your friends and family; everyone is welcome!

Some of the best things about these events are skills seminars offered throughout the day with industry professionals. During Detroit 4Fest, the available seminars were Offroad Skills 101, Winching and Recovery Techniques, and Vehicle Set-up.

First-timers who wish to build a foundation of confident, comfortable knowledge, the folks at 4Fest Events also offer an Off-Road Training class that is typically around $25. During this training, you go out onto the course and get hands-on experience. If this sounds like your level of experience, be sure to sign up as soon as possible because space is EXTREMELY limited.

A Girls Guide To Cars | Want To Learn Off-Roading But Were Afraid To Try? 4Fest Events Has You Covered - Off Roading Detroit 4Fest Erica T 4

There were lots of cool things to do at the Detroit 4Fest. Photo: Erica Terry

The Best Things about Detroit 4Fest

Holly Oaks ORV Park

Holly Oaks ORV Park has 170 acres currently open for public riding, but based on weather conditions may not all be open at one time. The Park is open to all types of ORVs–full-size, side-by-sides, ATVs/quads, motorcycles/dirt bikes. All vehicles must have a muffler and be under 94 dB(A) sound level (at approximately half-throttle). The park features a range of surface types, extreme topography, challenge elements, and trails that vary in size, difficulty, and type (one-way and bi-directional). There is a daily vehicle entry fee of $30, and like most ORV parks, absolutely no alcohol is allowed in the park or parking areas.

The Event Is Designed for Everyone

One of the unique features of Detroit 4Fest was Disability Dirt Day, a program for individuals with physical disabilities offering inclusive off-roading opportunities for all abilities in partnership with Oakland County Parks. Paired safely with a volunteer driver, participants experienced what it’s really like to zip through the dust, bounce over rocks, and splash in the water at Holly Oaks ORV Park.

Detroit 4Fest provided an off-road event that made hitting the trails family-friendly and accessible for all skill levels. Detroit 4Fest’s Vendor Village connected off-road enthusiasts with 50 vendors, including many with accessories and performance parts on hand for purchase. Many car manufacturers had their latest and greatest 4×4 models onsite. And if that wasn’t enough, this event offered over 40 miles of off-road trails and obstacles, instructional off-road guides, live music, and other entertainment.

I think the best part of this experience was knowing how many other women enjoy this dynamic activity (thanks again, Jeep Babes!) and how much this event company encourages and supports the people in the off-roading community. When a group of enthusiasts can participate in an event together, the smiles are contagious, and the energy is palpable.

Ready to vibe with other off-roaders? 4Fest has events coming up in Texas, Michigan, and Oklahoma. Just more opportunities to learn to off-road, build skills and meet great people!

Have a thought or comment? Share it with us on social media! You can find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And be sure to sign up for our email newsletter!

A foodie, adventurer, Michigander and marketing manager, Erica Terry blogs at Fashion Meets Food when not traveling, hiking, backpacking... More about Erica Terry