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By CJ Rena Johnson

Carolina Adventure World: Where the Darkness Came Alive!

Links to Videos Below

Creek crossing
Creek crossing

CAW's welcome center
CAW's welcome center

Mud holes a plenty
Mud holes a plenty

Carolina Adventure World Staff and Friends
Carolina Adventure World Staff and Friends

As Carolina Adventure World crossed the threshold into the dark side, the woods, tracks, trails, and service roads came alive with the growls, moans, and groans of the dark riders and their machines as they fought their way over obstacles, up hills, through gullies, down slopes, and through mud-- all challenges only heightened by the darkness.

It was definitely quite an adventure. I now understand why people love to night ride. I had done it briefly before and never understood why anyone would want to do it. It seemed dangerous and scary with nothing but shadows and eeriness around every turn. However, as darkness fell on February 7 and I found myself a few miles from camp, I began to fall myself, this time in love with night riding. Now, I cannot wait until the next time.

The place was on fire that night and in some places, I mean literally. They had one of the largest bonfires I had ever seen. Everyone seemed to love it. Every time I went by, there were riders surrounding it. They were talking, laughing, and just enjoying themselves. As I walked around, I heard them comparing machines and racing stories. Some of them were discussing trail conditions and where they wanted to ride next. It was nice to see such a diverse group with so much in common. There was music playing, constant laughter, and folks just sitting back taking it all in. At one point, I felt like I was in the middle of a country music video.

I met quite a few of the CAW staff, and they are all friendly and nice. They were always very helpful when I had questions about anything or needed anything. They were always talking to the different riders about the trails and all the different amenities available onsite. One of the first people you meet at CAW when you walk into the Welcome Center is a sweet woman named Tabitha. They sure picked the right person for this job. I am sure you will enjoy meeting her or Joe or Patrick or any of the CAW staff. I even met one of the owners and had talked to her and her little dog Ann for a few minutes before she told me who she was. She and her husband seem like very nice people.

Several members of the CAW crew were running what they call their “ATV Friend Patrol.” They were out on the trails taking people fuel, digging out ATVs that were stuck, helping lost riders and even picking up trash when needed. Usually, night rides are on a “you are on your own” policy, but it was nice to know that there were people out there looking out for the riders during this event.

The trail system at Carolina Adventure World is quite extensive as well. My test riders and I tried to cover as many of the trails as we could, but it is hard to cover 2,600 acres in one night.

If you are looking for mud, you will find it on the trails that go down through the bottoms, or you can head on over to one of the two intense mud bogs that are challenging to any mudder out there. If you want to leave the mud and head for higher ground, there are plenty of trails for that. My favorite for that is any of the blue trails. If you are looking for hill climbs, you can head out for Grizzly, Beacon, or Mammoth hill areas. You can even go hit what the riders call the rollercoaster on trail #12. There is even an amazing rock crawling area down off Trail #25 and for those of you who love to ride power lines, you can do it legally at Carolina Adventure World! There is something for everyone including a junior motocross, an extensive Enduro cross, a cart track, a drag strip, and a speed track.

They also have several different camping and RV areas, most with electrical and water. They have a nice bathhouse, and a spray wash area for your machines. They have a service center, and a welcome center with a nice gift and supply shop, food, drinks, and a concession stand. They even have a zip line for those people looking for a little extra challenge in between riding!

Do you have family members who don’t ride ATVs or don’t have one to ride? You can rent anything from quads to golf carts or even mountain bikes to ride on their extensive mountain biking trail system. Do you hate hauling your machines back and forth all the time? They have a very nice and affordable storage area where you can keep your machines safe and in the dry at the center, so they are there and ready to ride when you are.

So bring your whole family out for a day of fun they will be talking about for a long time. They are open every day from 8 AM to 5 PM in the winter and until 6 PM the rest of the year.

They have many events scheduled this year and are planning more all the time. They also host group functions there that can be custom planned to include anything or everything the center has to offer, including camping, rental units, guides, the zip line and everything you might want or need to make it a great event for your group. So give them a call at 803-482-3534 or go to their website at for all the details including photos and videos of the area.

Carolina Adventure World is very easy to find, as it is right off of I-77 in SC at exit #46. It is about 50 minutes south of Charlotte, NC and about 30 minutes north of Columbia SC. You take exit 46 and follow the signs to go about 2 miles and it will be right there on your right. The next All Night Ride will be the weekend of March 13th and 14th when they are hosting the first race of the 2009 Championship Mud Racing season. I hope to see you there!

As always: Decide now to have an awesome day!

Videos: Day & Night Riding | Helmet Cam 

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