Pennsylvania: Mines and Meadows ATV Resort

Wampum, Pa.

Imagine riding an ATV for half a mile underground through an old abandoned limestone mine. Sound like fun?

You get that opportunity, and much more, at the Mines and Meadows ATV Resort in Wampum, Pa., about 40 miles north of Pittsburgh.

The brainchild of Robert Svihra, the Mines and Meadows ATV Resort offers visitors guided mine tours for $5 per vehicle, 43 miles of groomed trails, primitive camping for both tents and RVs, 18 RV sites with electricity, ATV rentals and even quad storage.

Annual memberships are $250 per person or $400 per family. Non-member rates are $25 per day or $40 for two days.

The mine tour is definitely a must-do ride, and must be done on one of the guided tours. No one is permitted in the mine without a guide.

The mine is a constant 55 degrees and during much of the tour headlights provide the only source of illumination. That means that the ATVs on the tour must have sufficient lighting for safety reasons. The tour guide makes the final decision on whether a machine will be allowed in the mine.

Svihra notes that he has invested nearly $2 million to create the resort because of his love for the sport, the camaraderie of ATVing, and an intense desire to pass along some of the joy he’s found through riding ATVs. His dream is to create a state-of-the-art year-round destination where friends and families can congregate and enjoy ATV riding.

“As an avid ATV rider, I am all too aware of the crackdown in recent years on riding on both private and public lands,” he says. “Until now, the only alternative for local riders was to drive three or four hours, spend a fortune in gas hauling your ATVs, wait in long lines just to get on a trail, probably pay again to stay overnight and finally repeat the process to come back home.”

If you don’t want to camp, Mines and Meadows has partnered with the nearby Holiday Inn Beaver Falls to offer special room rates. The Holiday Inn is about five minutes away. Mines and Meadows also offers a special deal with the Pittsburgh Marriott North in Cranberry, which is about 15 minutes away.

The trails are open from 9 a.m. to sunset.

There are various rules that must be followed at the resort. For example, DOT- or SNELL-approved helmets and protective eyewear must be worn at all times, travel is permitted on designated, blazed routes only, speeds in excess of 25 mph are prohibited and all children under the age of 16 must have direct adult supervision. Youngsters ages 8 to 15 must complete a certified ATV training class before operating an ATV in Pennsylvania. Children under the age of 8 aren’t allowed to operate a vehicle.

Also, ATV registration is required under Pennsylvania law. Out-of-state registrations are honored for all states that have reciprocity with Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania registration applications can be completed onsite at Mines and Meadows or obtained by calling the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Snowmobile/ATV Unit at (717) 783-9227.

In addition, ATVs must have a working, non-racing muffler and USFS-approved spark arrester with a 99-decibel limit.

Directions: Take Exit 13 from Pennsylvania Turnpike and go 3.9 miles north on state Route 18. Turn left at the Gateway Commerce Center sign (just past the Stonecrest Golf Course). Go a short distance and turn left at the first intersection onto Old Route 18. Go about 0.6 miles. Parking is on the right.

The trailhead address is 1307 Old Route 18, Wampum, Pa., 16157.

GPS coordinates: main office N40 51.847 W80 19.933, campground N40 52.652 W80 20.572.

For more information, contact the Mines and Meadows ATV Resort by email at minesandmeadows@zoominternet.net or call (724) 535-6026. The fax number is (724) 535-6028.