An ORV Practice Area Near Flint, Michigan
by Lynn Conway
Copyright @ 1990-2003, Lynn Conway. All Rights Reserved.
[ See also Lynn's MX page, MRA Racing Page, and Trail Riding Page ]
When my boyfriend Charlie and I first began trail riding on dirt bikes, we spent a lot of time practising at the Genesee County ORV Scrambles Area known as "the Mounds", just northeast of Flint, Michigan. This is an outstanding practice and play area for dirt riders of all skill levels.
Originally an old sand and gravel pit area, the terrain is soft and sandy, very 3-dimensional (mounds, holes, and complex large berms), with lots of woods and many small to medium-sized ponds scattered all through it. Although it is only about 1/2 square mile in area, it seems very much larger due to the complexity of the terrain.
In 1990 we made a map of the rideable areas of the Mounds, based on an aerial photo and on ground checks as we did our practice riding. The map enables riders to more fully exploit the rideable sections, and to piece together interesting riding loops. This map, and a short Guide to the Mounds, was published in 1990 in the monthly newsletter of the Cycle Conservation Club, the large trail-riding organization here in Michigan.
Since then, some sections of the Mounds shown in our map and described in the Guide are no longer accessible, having been set-back due to the encroachment of housing into adjacent areas. Some aspects of access and parking have changed too. However, the map and the Guide are still quite relevant, as a means of finding your way around the remaining sections that are accessible.
For current information about about the Mounds' riding regulations, schedule and fees from the Genessee County Parks Mounds information page. For more information about the Mounds, you can call the Genessee County Parks information number at (1-800-648-7275 or 1-810-736-7100) and/or visit the Genessee County Parks website. The Mound's Riding Regulations (as of 3-07-03), our Map of the Mounds, our Guide to the Mounds and an Aerial Photo of the Mounds follow below. We hope this information helps you enjoy the great dirt riding at The Mounds!

 Mounds Riding Regulations 

 Map of The Mounds 

 Guide to the Mounds

  Aerial Photo of the Mounds
Mounds Off-Road Vehicle Area

Monday – Saturday: 8:00 a.m. – Sunset
Sunday: Noon to Sunset

6145 E. Mt. Morris Road—1.5 miles east of Genesee Road.
Open year-round, but from March 15 – May 15, no trucks are allowed and motorcycles and ATVs are restricted to the eight-acre scramble area only.
Daily Residents: $6.00 per vehicle
Daily Non-Resident: $9.00
Season Pass – Resident: $30.00
Season Pass – Non – Resident: $50.00
ORV sticker required. Children under 16 years of age must have their Michigan ORV safety certificate at the time of purchase of a Mounds pass. All operators are required to be in with State of Michigan requirements governing off-road vehicles. United States Forestry approved spark arrester required. Exhaust noise may not exceed 94 decibels.
Snowmobiles prohibited.
Requires State of Michigan ORV Sticker
Sound Testing Procedures:
Gasoline Powered, Full-Sized Vehicles
All Configurations: 95dbA @ 2000 RPM 20”, and USFS spark arrestor or a reverse flow muffler.
Diesel Powered, Full-Sized Vehicles
All Configurations: 95dbA @ ½ THE RATED rpm @20” -or- a reverse flow muffler. Note: Absent an on-board tachometer, the vehicle may be accepted with a reverse flow muffler in good working order.
Motorcycles, Three & Four Wheel ATVs
All Configurations: 1986 or newer 94dbA @ ½ the rated RPM @ 20” & USFS approved spark arrestor.
1985 or older 99dbA @ ½ the rated RPM @ 20” and USFS approved spark arrestor.
(c) Lynn Conway, 1990.
The Genesee County ORV Scramble Area northeast of Flint, Michigan is an outstanding practice and play area for the dirt rider. These riding notes, keyed to the attached map, will help you explore the many features of "The Mounds". The area is open all year, from 8am to sunset on weekdays, and from noon to sunset on Sundays. A helmet and a Michigan ORV sticker are required.
How to get there: Take 1-75 to Exit 126, then drive 8.5 miles east on Mount Morris Road (1) to the entrance (2) to the parking area (3). Note: there's a pit stop (4) in the parking area.
For a first tour: Travel out the East Whoops (6) to the Old Railroad Grade (7). Take (9), a fast, lightly whooped trail out to the Flat Track (10). This is a large, fast, hard-packed oval. From the SE --comer of (10), go W to check out the Sand Ovals (12). From here, work N to the Fence (13), which forms the NE boundary of a fast, open, motocross-like area that usually has a number of bermed turns and small jumps to offer. From (13) go NW on the North Loop Road (15), and explore on down the West Loop Road all the way back to the Sandpits (22, 23), which offer all sorts of play terrain. Then go S down the Main Whoops (5) to get back to the parking lot (3). An alternative path from the Fence (13) to the Sandpits (22, 23) is via the East Loop Road (14). The E, N, and W Loop Roads are all deeply whooped, providing good practice or hard riding, or both, depending on your speed, experience and point of view!
Beginners note: Areas (7) and (8) provide a good, open practice area for new dirt riders, with good visibility and a variety of easy terrain. After basic practice here, go on into the Little Hills (30, 3 1). These aren't usually crowded, and contain lots of hilly, windy single track trails that are great for technical practice at slow speeds. Backtrack to the parking area via (7) and (6). Once you're comfortable on (7) and (8), you can also begin to explore slowly around the tour described above.
For practice and play riding: Experienced riders might note the fast flat track (10), the Sand Ovals (12), the Fence area (13), and the Little Hills (30) mentioned above. The Holes (26), is a group of large holes in the ground offering steep descents, turns, and then climbs and jumps back up over the ridgelines down into adjacent holes. The East Mounds (29) offers undulating ridgelines that are fun to ride along. Several shortcuts, (24, 25, 27, 28), connect good play areas, letting you put together interesting scrambles routes. The tubes (19) offer fast, rollercoaster-like runs with lots of high, banked turns. The West Mounds runs (20) are similar. Area (18) (not yet mapped) has lots of mounds, mudholes and ponds to play among. The Sandpits (22, 23) are great play areas of fast, open, sandy terrain full of bermed turns and small jumps, surrounded by lots of interesting hills.
Water and Mud crossings: The map shows interconnected trails and open riding areas. To avoid clutter, it doesn't show the many lakes and streams in the Mounds. (About a third of the blank areas on the map are lakes, a third are woods, and the rest we haven't mapped yet). Even during dry spells, you'll cross lots of streams and mudholes. During wet spells, it gets even more interesting. Some mudholes are a lot deeper than they look. If you do happen to sink into the mud somewhere, there are lots of nice, clear lakes and streams to wash off in!
Crowding: The parking area (3), the sandpits (22, 23), and areas (5, 6, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 26) are very crowded on weekends, while areas (7, 8, 12, 29, 30) are seldom crowded. Very few riders visit the Mounds during the week, so a weekday would be the best choice for your first trip.
Safety considerations: The terrain at the Mounds is soft and fairly forgiving during spills. But, there are no one-way trails, so there's a real danger of head-on collisions if you're not cautious. This is especially true of runs like the Tubes (19) and the West Mounds (20), that have lots of fast, blind turns. Beginners are advised to stay in open areas where they can see and be seen by faster riders. All riders should use caution on narrow single track trails, especially on blind turns and in the summer when vegetation limits visibility. Wear all your protective gear when riding at the Mounds!
Mid-1980's aerial photo of the Mounds
[for a higher-resolution version, click this link (822KB)]
[back to MX page]