Is it Okay to Keep a Trail a Secret?

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Why do some people keep the best trails a secret? Is the secrecy motivated by greed? Or perhaps a more noble cause?

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98 comments

  • I get it, keep the private places private. I live in the land of blah and hope to make it out there someday. When I do, it will all be so foreign to me that even the known trails will seem incredible.

  • My home spot is ultra top secret, it is mostly on private land that I’ve carefully curated permission for over the last 20 years. I would never divulge the secrets to anyone outside of friends and I have even run people off of some of the properties, but my situation is a little unique.

  • I think it is weird for motorcyclist to be secretive about trails. A community that is sharing and claims they don’t tear up the landscape. Then are secretive because motorcyclist eventually tear up the landscape. It is really an argument against your own hobby.

  • This is also a huge problem for mountain bike trails. It’s not realistic to think trails can remain secret any longer. I wish it were, but the internet has changed that. Mountain bikers volunteer thousands of hours repairing the damage from excessive use and abusive riders. Motorcycle riders (myself included) that want quality single track need to do the same for our trails.

  • I definitely agree with keeping certain trails secret. However, once you show one other person eventually they’ll show another and then the secret is out. No secret is safe forever.

  • I say keep them a secret, I hate going out to trails or somewhere I think I’m gonna be alone or only with the people I came with and there is a ton of people riding, or signs of the trails being damaged. 🤫🤫🤫

  • Information of trail locations should be for those who earn it, not those who rent a UTV and look up trails the easy way with some beers they’re going to leave behind. I’m in the southeast so trails like these aren’t as common and I haven’t had to worry about trails being ruined, but I’m still cautious.

  • I enjoy your nice videos with beautiful scenery. I have no problem with riders who keep a trail a secret. Not all trailriders respect the nature and pick up garbage… sadly

  • It’s so funny that this video came up today!! On my latest video, a commenter wanted to know exactly where I was riding….. I am politely asking them to respect the privacy of an epic track! LOL

  • Paul from the Land of Aus , if we have a great local trail or trails ( we do not share it ) as we do not what all the city slickers and rednecks stuffing it for us and drawing the attention of the cops, wildlife people , greenies and local farmers )

  • Before I comment – Damn such high quality video. I have such a long long way to go.

    If you, as a condition of benefiting from riding a new trail, are asked not share then that’s a question of integrity. If you discover or develop a trail and don’t share its location, well it’s not like you’re keeping vital life sustaining information so share or don’t for your own reasons. The public lands are out there for anyone to discover and they can put in the time putting around running down box canyons and sweating it out dragging bikes of craggy hills and dead end washes until they find a track of their own. You didn’t talk about locals who think they own the public lands in their back yards and actively try to keep other off them that’s another thing that happens as well sometimes under the guise of a club that “manages” the trail.

  • I say Let people find and map their own adventures. In this age of social media secrets don’t last very long. The locals need their own spots to ditch the crowds of tourism.

  • Definitely don’t share trails online. Just like everything else in this world it is ruined by too many people. A surefire way to take a great riding area down is show everyone where it is. In Canada some of these trails need 100s of combined man hours to maintain just to keep fallen trees cleared out. It’s too much work to have it ruined by people who don’t care about it and intentionally wreck everything around them just for laughs. The people to share it with are people who built the trails with you, people in your riding clubs, people you race with, and whoever else you know will respect the area.

  • I have to agree – it’s sort of sad though, that there are a ton of respectful, like-minded riders who would ride the trail in a sane manner and enjoy themselves immensely – the ones you ‘intend’ to share it with. Then you have the yahoos and 4-wheelers that are hell-bent to make that single-track into an ATV route… Here in CA, even for MTB riding, we have rides that we tell folks “no GPS today”. We’ll have a section or two of ‘unauthorized’ trail on the ride. And it’s not so much that we don’t want other riders on it, but if the trail isn’t part of a ‘plan’ the local land managers will go in and block it with trees, etc… and have rangers police the area to fine riders. And we didn’t cut an illegal trail, we just found an ‘old one’ and often spend a bunch of time clearing and maintaining it. The problem is too many people! Great vid and topic.

  • because of the Internet i found out about that trail you were talking about. I thought it was a great trail just a little harder then im used to lol. i think its good to share trails to a point(help new riders enjoy the sport more). Any “secret trail” should have a gate keeper of sorts. (example a hard obstacle) but i don’t believe they should be secret.

    Maybe im just biased because i started riding not that long ago, and i don’t have any trails worth keeping secret.

  • Like a good fishing hole, if we’re together it’s fine. If not ,no specific information, especially online. Put in the time and effort, thats a big part of the adventure.

  • I wouldn’t post the info online but if someone asks you in person, go ahead and share. You want private trails, but private land. As American citizens, we own the public land upon which we recreate. It’s selfish to keep it a secret. Selfish is not a trait I aspire to uphold. On the other hand, where would Yellowstone, Yosemite, big bend, Moab, arches, niagra falls or the Grand Canyon be had it not been advertised to the public? They would all be part of some rich dudes private spread.

  • Not a problem in Canada at least my part of it. All trails I used to ride have closed within the last 5 years in the south. You really need to ride north for hours and even days to ride good trails that aren’t on private land. It’s so far out that the majority of people don’t go since it’s not really safe or maintained and fuel availability is sparse. Also, mosquitos. Softball sized.

  • Good o’l humanity… can’t share trails because someone will destroy it and ruin it for everyone.
    People won’t show trails to new people because their selfish.
    BLM only want’s to shut things down and run people off and not open new stuff.
    And we’re worried about global warming destroying “humanity”?
    What is there to destroy?

  • Couldn’t agree more about keeping cherished riding areas out of social media sites etc. The internet is a powerful thing – bringing outsiders who have less care for the land and trails when they exploit this hidden spots, leading to erosion, and heightened enforcement activity – ruining it for everyone.

  • How does desert land work, if there’s no buildings or fences, it’s open for anyone???

    Where I am we have tons of empty land, but the land is not just open for riding…..

  • I live in an area where there is no place to ride except mx tracks at $50 a day so I can’t see keeping a place to ride a secret, if you want to keep it a secret just don’t show the video, it’s like teasing people that don’t really have a good place to ride,

  • In the future, GPS tracking will charge a small fee each time you leave the trail. The fee will go towards mechanized and volunteer trail maintenance. No more OHV trail sticker, but an OHV GPS trail tracker.

  • Here in Australia, I’ve shared some tracks to random people and it has actually helped a lot of the trails because we have a lot of lantana which overgrows the trails if no one rides them. I work away from home so get to ride a lot some of the time and not a lot of the other time. So if people keep riding them, they stay open and the lantana kept back. I don’t mind sharing tracks.

  • I’m sixth generation in Washington County and I say WELCOME ALL. Otherwise it’s becomes a syndrome called Last-one-in-close-the-gate. Most of these guys you may know as locals have only been here a couple more years than you.
    Also, some of those spurs that came off that first trail you shared were pioneered by my brothers, my father and myself. One in particular is called, by us, the Christmas trail because we spent an entire Christmas day shoveling on it to get up to the next level on the side of the mesa.

  • Nailed it Tyler. You said it beautifully here. I’ve really only ridden this trail twice. The first time was in 2014, and the other time was January of this year. I’ve shown it recently here on my channel, but I don’t post the location to the public. I have taken more heat than I can express in the past many years for not publicly giving the locations of trails shown in my vids. I have people that follow my channel (subscribers) for the sole purpose of giving “thumbs down” and hate on the vids because they are so mad about how I don’t tell people where these trails are! Reading through the comments a bit here also leads me to believe that your viewers are nicer than some of mine 🙂 For the most part, I’ve given up on reading comments on most of my vids because of the hate that shows it’s ugly head. I do watch the metrics and ratios of thumbs up vs. thumbs down. You are doing a great job. If you are like me, you probably won’t see this comment. I’ll have to just email you and give you props on this vid.

  • I just did a video about this! I have noticed things like this happen a couple time with your channel where i have something scheduled to be posted and you come out with the same thing a day before me lol. Great subject for sure!

  • I know most of the trails in central Idaho. I have ridden a lot of idaho at this point. I get the points you make in this video, and i agree. I have really been considering this topic a lot as i have revealed some of my most scenic and remote trails Idaho has to offer. I want us to have a strong community of riders so that we can fight against those who wish to close off our trails. Also if we get more riders we can maintain the trails better (especially the ones with a lot of deadfall). I guess this is assuming we get good riders who wont just shred everything up, do no maintenance and ignore politics.

    This said, I would love to travel to Utah or other states and ride their best trails. I can’t do this because of the mindset you describe in this video. I go on a vacation ride and I have to ride crappy trails unless i get lucky. I’d like to think there is a better way…

  • I think people who keep “public” riding areas secret are ********!! Think about it, these are PUBLIC areas and furthermore we each should be supporting the sport, that won’t happen if only a select few get to ride.. That’s how this will dry up and die then no one will get to ride.. It’s pretty basic logic……… the popularity of this sport has driven a ton of advances in bikes and gear and has allowed a lot of people to make great incomes off of it. So you take away the good riding spots from folks then the interest will be lost and it will shrivel up and die.. Is that what we want, I know I don’t…..

  • We used to call that blowing out a spot back when I skateboarded. I’m fine with people keeping this stuff secret. Nothing is worse than finding a great place to ride, skate or just chill that suddenly gets ruined or shutdown due to overuse or assholes not respecting the space.

  • I thoroughly disagree with every single point you made in this video. I’d love to create a new channel and post every single GPS coordinate of every single off road trail I ride just to share it. This hoarding of ride trails, especially on BLM lands needs to stop.

    • I wondered why people never shared locations then I started my own channel and when it started gaining attention I quickly understood why these guys don’t share locations. If you get involved with the clubs that maintain the trails you might come away with a different perspective on this. Imagine your local trails suddenly get a huge increase in traffic because of a YouTube video, it’s still going to be the same very small percentage of riders out there with shovels and saws maintaining the trails.

  • It is not at all ok to keep public trails secret and people that do are the ones making dirt biking less approachable. If trails are over crowded to the point they are being destroyed or need to be one way then there should be more trails. Showing there is enough people to merit more land being set aside for trials is important. Remember most people only care about them selves, the majority that are against dirtbikes only do so for facebook cool. If they see there are all these people riding then it wont be face book cool to crap on them any more. Critical mass worked for pedal bikes, why cant motorbike riders learn from that? Its important keep the sport growing to make it more accessible to more people. Keeping trails a secret does not help grown the sport. This is related to Barry’s video about people being too embarrassed to tell coworkers they ride dirtbikes.

    • Side note, you can not blame trails being used on people knowing where they are. That’s like being mad that more people got in to dirt biking. More people is a good thing in the sport.

  • It’s hard sometimes to not share a trail cause you want your buddy to have the same joy as you did riding it.but at the same time it sucks when it’s crowded and you run in to side by sides or even full size vehicles in the trail.

  • We all have to remember that we all started out with no clue and what we were doing when we bought our first motorcycle, and for the most of us if it hadn’t been for more experienced riders we would have gotten fed up and give up motorcycles. So thanks to all of you that have shared your experience and your secrets.

  • Great video I took my tw 200 on that very trail. I was solo and some of those hills with the vertical rock shelf at the top had me kinda scetched out not having a ride partner and all. But I,managed to go all the way without tipping over so that was awsome! I found this trail by accident and a had a great time considering!

  • Where I live there are local trails maintained by the local dirtbike club. Membership is $120/yr or $10/day. Trails get destroyed and need maintenance. If revenue surpasses trail maintenance they build a new trail to add to the existing network. Now that being said I live in Canada and our population density is much lower so perhaps we never see the amount of riders you guys get in the States. After the club hosts a local race I can see the massive amount of destruction to the trails. I blame a lot of it on new riders who buy 450cc motocross bikes and ride around sitting down… these guys dont understand how to get traction and sometimes they just sit there spinning their wheel digging holes 2ft deep SMH. Having trails for all levels an help with this. If the entrance/exit to a trail has some difficult obstacles it’ll keep the masses out.

  • If it’s public then it’s public data that you can get from a shapefile from the USFS or BLM or old school from a MVUM. More people know of the “secret” trails then people think. It’s right there in the public domain. Some locations will always be under ridden because they are remote and not really convenient to anything.

    The other issue people don’t think about it is when the BLM or USFS says, no one uses this trail so let’s just decommission it. That does really happen.

    As the population grows and Adventure riding, Dual Sport, and dirt bikes grow in popularity there will be naturally more people out on public trails. I’ll give an example of Mt Herman Rd (yes a road) here near me out of Monument, CO. When I moved here in 2007 I could drive up that road (didn’t yet have a dirt bike) and not see anyone, and even no one on weekends. Then the population of Denver and Colorado Springs grew and grew. Now if I go out on a Wednesday and ride or drive up that nice dirt road I will see people, from hikers, to Mtn bikers, to campers to people driving it. As areas grow in population you will see more and more people out there, they too will find your “secret trails” as like you did they looked at a map, or got the tracks. I’m not sure why this surprises people.

    Now I assumed we were talking legal trails. Illegal trails typically are not talked about but if you slow down and start to look around you can spot them, a lot of times they are maintained. Get to know the right people they will tell you all about them and the ones they built and continue to build. Those I agree, we don’t talk about them, or share gps files. Some of them it’s obvious the rangers know about them but they don’t care either. As for video, unless you are stating where (which means you are riding it illegally and providing proof) you shouldn’t mention it it’s a vague video description of out riding.

    I know a very skilled rider, that rides everything but trails…LOL He rides mostly boulder fields that he finds along side roads and stuff. hahaha To each their own.

    If it’s public I’ll share it, if it’s sketchy then NO way. If nothing more so the Ranger doesn’t find it and try and close it sooner, even though I have yet to see them attempt to close anything by me and I suspect it’s the Mtb guys putting int he singletrack. Good thing is it keeps getting longer and longer and as if it’s laid out with thought.

  • Here in Ireland many off-road spots are privately owned – most of the time they are open for public but owners might remove the access if there are to many visitors. Most of the riders I know are responsible and know about that, when riding we are trying not to create new trials, and leave no trace. However many new riders do not follow this rules which can result in owners blocking access. If anyone is asking me for details of my spots I prefer to invite them for a ride rather than just show the place on maps.

  • I understand your predicament, I visited some areas in Canterbury, New Zealand for work, areas of private property, that were stunning, that I would love to return to in my own time and walk or ride, but being private they are not accessible. I can fully appreciate that landowners do not want masses roaming all over their land destroying areas of biodiversity and beauty. But it is a shame not to be able to share these areas with those close to you that would enjoy the locations.
    I traveled from Zion down to Phoenix and Las Vagas and it is an area of staggering beauty, I enjoy watching you channel as much for the scenery as the bike action.

  • Amen brotha. Its hard cause we want to show the best trails to our friends and family from out of town, but when you go to a place that brought a lot of solitude and enjoyment either riding solo or with a small group and then see its always crowded its kind of disheartening. Keep exploring and lets ride soon! I think I have a couple trails I’d like you to see @everide.

  • I made the mistake of adding some of my hidden treasures in NC to the gravelmap website. Figured it couldn’t hurt to show some of the sweet spots I’d managed to find. And these were legal roads also, hard to believe due to the condition of them and remoteness, but for folks willing to scour old maps and do scouting, they are out there. A year after logging a bunch of them on the website, I revisited most of them in the western end of the state and found many had been utterly destroyed. And it was happening while I was there. Side by sides and dirt bikes tearing it up. This was especially bothersome because it’s was registered roads, not an ohv area. I learned my lesson. I share my tracks with only good friends now

  • After riding and racing all over the western U.S. for more than 50 years, which is longer than most of the viewers have been alive. I could tell you about the hundreds of thousands of acres CLOSED because of people with No Respect for the land, the locals, or the trails.
    Giving away the access to hard earned trails is a crime. Social media and internet sites that promote the over use and disrespect that you describe is where we should draw the line.
    A rider should have to earn the right to know where these almost “sacred sites” are, not just because you can “google it”
    Graffiti, tire marks, trash and trail abuse is typically what you find from motorized morons with no self control or respect for others.
    If you want to see the truth, just go to Southern California or Nevada.
    It is no wonder why environmentalists want close us out, ban off-road travel, close vast areas of land. God help us!!

  • Off topic- But why can’t a jap company make a FI Dual-Sport for 8k. Clearly it’s possible to make a cheap reliable yet modern 250. How about a WR450R, with the same engine design as the 250r. Feel like they’re missing out on big chunk of sales right there

  • In here about 95% of trails are documented and maps are available to anyone and it’s not a problem. The trail network is so dense overuse really isn’t a problem, funnily enough, it’s been years since I’ve met another dirtbike rider on random and I do thousands of kilometres a year off the road. If there is just one known trail per 20 dirtbikes, it could be a problem, but if you really open it up and have 100 trails per dirtbike, everything works out well.

  • Before the internet and civilian GPS I would 100% agree with secret trails and to share those trails with true riders who care about the land. Today? Forget it. You don’t own the land or the trail so it will only be “Secret” for so long. Clubs and working with NFS, BLM and so on will keep the trails open with maintenance and policing of said trails for our current and then next generation. There is no such thing as a Jeep Only. SXS Only or dirtbike only trail. One way or another all trails will eventually be used by all. Dirtbikes start the trail, ATV/SXS widen it out and then the Jeeps take over. Then the Dirtbikes start a new trial and the cycle begins again.

  • I see two sides to this issue. I see the side of having a trail that you know is not going to be crowded, its pristine, your tire track is probably one of very few. The other side of that is the fact of environmentalists closing trails and not having but only a very few accessing the trail to go against closing that particular trail. I see both sides, I do like trails with very little traffic so to speak. Northern Utah is all fenced in and getting more so all the time, NO TRESPASSING, all over the place.

  • Nice video! Glad you stayed with motorcycling! I watched an older video of yours about rude guys, aggressive forum members etc.
    Glad you stuck it out and are smiling and happy.
    I have ridden over at Gooseberry Mesa, love it!

  • I’m quite new to off-road motorcycle riding. What resources should I use to find good places to ride? I’m experienced in finding good places out in BLM land and National Forests for camping, and I prefer methods more along the lines of doing my own research and finding places (By reviewing Motor Vehicle use maps, scouting satellite imagry and topo maps, etc.) , but I have also gotten good use out SOME OF the app’s where users upload locations of places they have camped and enjoyed. For now, I’m riding on actual roads and on OHV trails.

    Anyone have advice for me?

    (To make sure I’m clear, I’m not looking for people or places to just tell me specific places to ride, but rather a way to learn how to find them myself – teach a man to fish style – and at this point I’m totally cool with riding well-known and heavily ridden trails and that’s probably safer for me than going way out on some “secret” trails where barely anyone goes… also, the reason I’m asking this right now is because I’ll soon be leaving on a trip from Arizona to Portland and will have however much time I take to camp, ride, etc. So while the strategy I would take when I live in one spot is to do a lot of exploring myself and learn the area slowly, that won’t work so well during this trip. I’d like to do some research and get a plan of what general route I’d like to take on my way up north)

  • I don’t share my tracks online for the reasons you mentioned in the video. I’ll tell people the general location of where I ride, but I leave it up to the individual to find their own trails. If you wanna ride my favorite trails, just ride with me.

  • This is one of my favorite trails!!! So many fond memories here! Just found your channel, definitely a new subscriber now. Greetings from a fellow STG local

  • Same crap in fishing. People try to have secret spots. I bet you there isnt a place you go, that you cant walk around 2 mins without spotting a beer can. Secret??? Stop with the secrets. Get more people riding/fishing. Tell them where they can go enjoy this life while there is still time.

  • It brings up the point of why are you posting videos. On one hand you say watch my channel about this great sport and buy a bike. On the other hand don’t ask me where I ride . Some people might think you view them as not worthy.

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