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Off-Road Terrain

Switchbacks

A switchback is a type of trail that you’ll come across when driving up a hill or mountain. A switchback zigzags back and forth and has sharp corners. This man-made travel pattern reduces the steepness of sloping terrain for riders. Additionally it prevents trail erosion because storm water will follow the flow of the trail rather than running straight down the mountainside, eroding the hill and the trail.

When riding switchbacks, make sure you:

  • Avoid spin-outs by making smooth, controlled corner turns and remembering to shift your body weight into the turn.
  • Try not to ‘roost’ at the top of a turn (this is when you spray dirt like a rooster tail behind you).
  • Avoid brake sliding when descending a switchback. This will create a gouge in the trail which is bad for the trail conditions, bad for the the environment, and is disrespectful for other riders.

RIDER SAFETY TIP: TURN TOO TIGHT?

If you come across a switchback turn that’s too tight to get around safely, ride until your front wheel is touching the inside (or apex) of the turn, then put the transmission in neutral, set the parking brake and dismount the machine. Then put the back end of the machine toward the outside of the turn to widen the angle, remount and continue on your way!

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Boat in the water with people sitting aboard
Hunter with a bow in tall grass at dusk
Man on yellow ATV riding through dirt tracks
Person on snowmobile riding through snowy trail
Person paddling in white water rapids
Three individuals backpacking across a yellow, grassy plain
Boat in the water with people sitting aboard
Hunter with a bow in tall grass at dusk
Man on yellow ATV riding through dirt tracks
Person on snowmobile riding through snowy trail
Person paddling in white water rapids
Three individuals backpacking across a yellow, grassy plain

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LET'S WORK TOGETHER

 

Go boldly, tell your story. Campfire is building a collective of ambassadors who share a passion for the wild. If you’re an influencer, publisher or sport expert drop us a line. Let’s hook up and inspire others.

CAMPFIRE STORIES

Stay in the loop. Sign up for our newsletter
to get the latest stories from around the fire.

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