North Carolina: Roy A. Taylor ATV Trail

Sylva, N.C.

How many names do you have for your favorite or local riding area?

We recently found the Roy A. Taylor ATV Trail System in North Carolina. Or was it Wayehutta Section? Or, as some call it, Cullowhee.

No matter what you call this OHV area, we call it fun.

Wayehutta hosts 30-plus miles of family friendly loop trails that accommodate all skill levels.

All trails are clearly marked by difficulty. The most difficult trails are a mixture of hard-packed clay, loose rock, large and challenging rock sections, and steep climbs to the top of the mountain.

There are plenty of more difficult, and several easy, trails that are easily reached from the parking area. They work well for less-adventurous riders in the group.

We were a little confused by signs that read "do not enter'' when, just 50 feet up the trail, there's a one-way sign. It appears that trails may be one-way only, but we couldn't find anything published, printed or posted. To be safe, follow the one-way-only signs if posted.

To find Wayehutta, pull out your atlas and look in the extreme western corner of North Carolina. Find Sylva, Highway 74 and 23.

From Sylva, head south towards Cullowhee on Highway 107 about four miles. Just north of Cullowhee you will come to a traffic light for Old Cullowhee Road. Turn left on Old Culowhee, for a mile and a half.

As you approach the Tackaseigee River bridge you'll see CR 1709, or Wayhutta Road. It may not be clearly marked. If you go over the bridge and past the gas station then you went too far.

Take Wayhutta road about two miles. When it turns to gravel you know you are close.

Trailhead parking for large motor homes could be a little difficult, but there's parking for a good number of vehicles and trailers.

There's a very nice shelter house, hand pump for well water, toilet and information kiosk. Take your time to check the kiosk for any posted trail information.

Wayehutta is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, and a $5 daily fee is necessary. The money really helps to maintain the area.

You can buy an annual pass for $30. The trails are closed December 15-March 31, which is mud season, to help protect the trails.

North Carolina recently passed laws that apply to ATVs and who can ride them. All riders must wear helmets and eye protection. Riding double is prohibited, unless the ATV is designed as a two-person vehicle. No alcohol is allowed.

Also, all ATVs must have a muffler that has a U.S. Forest Service-approved spark arrestor.

Anyone born after Jan. 1, 1990, must possess an ATV safety training certificate. Riders younger than 16 must be supervised by an adult.

There is no camping allowed: this is a day-use area only.

Sylva is only 5 miles up the road. Here you will find motels, camping, and plenty of restaurants.

The Smokey Mountain ORV Club has provided years of volunteer work, helping to maintain the area.

The Highlands Ranger District (828) 526-3765 can provide up-to-date information and camping options.