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By Tom Richardson
If you’ve never driven an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) before, we’ve got just the place to give it a try! Jericho Mountain State Park—in the northeast corner of New Hampshire’s White Mountains—is about as ATV-friendly as it gets. Indeed, each summer (except this one) the park and nearby town of Berlin play host to the annual ATV Festival featuring live music, a parade, ATV demos, food and beer trucks, and more. The 7,400-acre park was created in 2005, and comprises 50 to 60 miles of dedicated ATV trails (snowmobiling and hiking are also popular) maintained by the Androscoggin Valley ATV club and the White Mountain Ridge Runners Snowmobile Club.
Downtown Berlin is home to several ATV-rental companies, among them Northeast Snowmobile & ATV Rental, that can set you up with all the gear, maps, and safety equipment you’ll need for an action-packed day on the trails. Northeast rents the latest Polaris side-by-sides, which are stable, comfortable and safe, as long as you maintain an appropriate speed. And you’ll be amazed by their ability to scramble effortlessly over impossibly rugged and steep terrain.
The ATV trails inside Jericho range from easy to technical, and lead to several scenic stops, including the five wind turbines stationed atop a ridge at the eastern edge of the park. The park also features a warming shelter with outdoor picnic tables where riders can take a break while taking in the sweeping view of the valley.
If you decide that ATV riding is your thing, you can spend several days inside the park, camping on the shores of Jericho Lake (actually a manmade reservoir). The ride-in/ride-out campground features tent, shelter, and RV sites, along with a beach, bath houses, kayak and canoe rental, grills, and a shelter for functions.
Jericho Lake Campground is open weekends only beginning May 12. The park opens full-time for the season on May 22 and closes November 12. Operating hours are 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Campsite fees are $25 per night, the Adirondack shelter is $29 per night, and cabin fee is $50 per night.