Off-roading in an unusual setting at Virginia's Oak Ridge Estate

Some off-road drivers may be all about the need for speed, but others appreciate the scenery and challenges of a setting a bit more. In these instances, drivers may want to seek out special areas that boast a nice blend of obstacles and interesting sites. Luckily for off-roading enthusiasts in the Virginia area, there is one easily accessible property that offers all of this and more. Automobile magazine recently spotlighted this location, but for many fans of off-road driving, the locale has been a hot spot for years. 

About Oak Ridge Estate
The history of Oak Ridge Estate can trace its history back centuries. Nestled in Nelson County, Va., which is about halfway between Charlottesville and Lynchburg, the property dates back more than 250 years. Its centerpiece is the more than 200-year-old main building. Once housing a prominent Virginia merchant, the dwelling features dozens of rooms and classic architecture. It is surrounded by manicured gardens and several outbuildings, all of which made up a large portion of this estate. 

However, with more than 5,000 acres of land present as part of the Oak Ridge Estate, there is plenty of excess room away from the houses. This includes a large section of land that is reserved for off-road driving. Made up of steep rock grades, gentle streams, rolling hills and dense forests, there is a ton of room to roam on this site.

In total, the property boasts about 47 miles of trails. With the sheer number of obstacles and challenges, it's likely you'll only be able to conquer a small section in a day - especially if you need to be helped out of a bind - but a visit that spans several days will undoubtedly keep you entertained. 

Off-road events
Oak Ridge Estate is home to several off-roading events, and each of these special gatherings brings together fans of off-road driving in a unique way. In 2010, it acted as host for the first annual Wheeling for Hope charity event, which raises money for the American Cancer Society fundraiser Relay for Life. Modified vehicles are welcome to participate in this multiday event, which encompasses everything from driving and prize raffles to live entertainment and general camaraderie. 

Another notable celebration is Camp Jeep. Although this event moves locations, it has brought its action to Oak Ridge Estate several times, and each occurrence gets bigger and better than the one before it. This all-Jeep event brings together more than 6,000 people driving 2,000 Jeeps, offering drivers to take part in everything from off-roading to kayaking and mountain biking. 

One of the highlights of this event is the engineering roundtables, where experts provide insight to top-of-the-line modifications that can allow drivers to get the most out of their vehicles. 

What a vehicle needs
To conquer the land that makes up Oak Ridge Estate, an off-road vehicle will need to be equipped with a few alterations. Tow hooks are mandatory to drive on the course, and it is a good idea to be ready to utilize front hooks, as there are quite a few slippery sections that may be difficult to climb. Winches may also be a smart investment, as the soft red clay can easily trap a vehicle and its driver, requiring lots of effort to get out of the jam. 

Skid plates and armor may also be a welcome addition. These Jeep modifications can make a big difference in how confidently you can approach the course, as they can protect a vehicle from some of the most common nicks and scrapes that come about from off-roading.