As spring has set in, so has the desire to get outdoors and enjoy some time off-road. Living in the Midwest can be tough during the winter. Temperatures regularly stay well below freezing. Snow can add up. The amount of time spent outside dwindles along with the hours of daylight.
Then spring materializes and it’s time to get back out there. The opportunity to see the new builds that everyone has been working on over winter is kind of like seeing all the new flowers start to sprout. With that optimism in mind, we set out to Bundy Hill a local off-road park. The following are some of our thoughts on what makes it stand out here in the Midwest.
Off And Running At Bundy Hill
Bundy Hill Off Road Park is located in Jerome Michigan. Jerome is about an hour south of Lansing and two hours southwest of Detroit. Bundy, as it is commonly referred to, sits right next to U.S. 12. The off-road area is not visible from the road but signage is plentiful. The park is privately owned and has been in business since 2009. Bundy Hill Off Road is also the largest privately owned off-road park in Southeastern Michigan. Prior to 2009, the property was mined for aggregate material that was used in building roads and other construction projects throughout southern Michigan.
The terrain features sandy hill climbs, cumbersome whoops, wooded trails, and some deep mud. The park encompasses over 300 acres. The vast majority of that is open to off-road vehicle recreation. Whether you have a Jeep, truck, SxS, ATV, dirt bike, or a 4×4, Bundy Hill has something for you.
The riding area includes man-made obstacles that promise to create a challenge for even the most experienced off-roader. Bundy is open from nine in the morning until eight in the evening Wednesday through Sunday during the spring and summer.
How It Works
Upon arrival at the property, drivers can either check in at the ranger station or the main office to gain entry. Admission is twenty dollars per driver and ten for passengers. A multi-day discount is also offered. Once the required waiver is signed, each driver will be issued a yellow card. It is worth holding onto this card as it makes getting into the park much faster the next time you visit.
Each vehicle must be equipped with a high visibility flag. The height of the flag and mounting location depend on the type of vehicle you will be driving. All four-wheel-drive vehicles must have a flag, and they must display a minimum of eight feet off the ground. Flags and mounting brackets are available for purchase at the front office.
After you get your wristband, you head past the ranger station and into a large staging area that offers plenty of parking for trailers and tow vehicles. Once parked and unloaded, drivers may immediately access the the accessible trailheads leading in several directions. We headed straight for the sand drag strip. There we spent a few minutes watching vehicles battle it out to see who was quickest.
Amenities Abound At Bundy
One of the best features of the park is the ability to camp where you wheel. The camping is primitive but generators are allowed. Those that choose to stay on the property, will have their choice of over twenty rustic sites within the off-road park.
Bundy Hill also has its own diner and various food trucks rotate throughout the season. We tried the smash burger from a local food truck and it did not disappoint. A pavilion for grilling your own food is also available. There are no flushing toilets on-site, but clean portable toilets are located both in the campground and the picnic area. They were well maintained during our time there, and that makes all the difference.
There is a wash plant for those that get a little too deep in the mud. This is a monetized feature and requires cash for use. The park is available for rent as a whole as well. A rental of Bundy Hill ensures you have access to catered lunches, air stations, power washers, and trail work completed to suit your group. An experienced park ranger will also be provided to help your group get the most out of the time at Bundy Hill. The park also has a specific RC course.
Mild To Wild
The trails of Bundy Hill are color-coded to indicate difficulty. Maps can be found online or at the entrance to the park. Green trails indicate that loose rock, dirt, and sand are present. Obstacles no higher than 12 inches will be in these areas. Blue trails consist of obstacles greater than 12 inches in height. A minimum 31-inch tire size is recommended on the blue trails. These areas may not be suitable for stock vehicles. Black trails have obstacles that exceed 24 inches in height. Enhanced off-road equipment like winches, traction aids, high ground clearance, and easily accessible tow points are required. Red trails are where the possibility of carnage is highest. Street-driven 4x4s should not attempt these trails. Roll overs are common on red trails.
During our time in the park, we stuck mostly to green and blue trails. We especially enjoyed Peastone Hill. Using the onX off road app we identified 1,241 feet as our highest elevation on Peastone Hill. Our lowest point was noted at 274 feet while we navigated some of the general-use roads through the lower quarry areas. Other notable areas in the park include Full Tilt, Warn Valley, and Devil’s Tower. Beware that those areas are considered some of the most challenging.
What The Locals Think
Cell coverage is excellent throughout the park and help is only a call away. The proper number to call for help will be located on your map. If a driver happens to get so stuck and cannot self-recover, the park does have equipment available for recovery with a fee. Guided tours are also available for those that want an extra hand in getting to know the area.
During our time at Bundy Hill Off Road, we came across a lot of people having a great time. One of those people was long-time off-roader, Ryan Schumaker. This wasn’t his first time at Bundy Hill. “I really like the variation of the landscape. There are wide and narrow trails. There are hill climbs and open areas too. Drivers of any experience level can have fun,” Ryan shared.
We have to agree Ryan. We saw children on small ATVs, and we saw brand-new Jeep Rubicons on the trails. Everyone seemed to be having a blast. Bundy is definitely considered a family-friendly environment. No alcohol or drug use on the property is tolerated. But feel free to bring your four-legged friend as pets are welcome.
Benefits Of Going Private
Ryan also made mention of something else that seems pretty important. He said, “My second favorite part of this place is that it’s privately owned. Therefore no registration, titles, or ORV trail stickers are necessary for entry. Just pay the entrance fee, put your flag on, and run what you brung!” There is something to be said for being a private entity. Going to a privately owned park does present the opportunity to avoid some of the permitting requirements common to off-road areas in most states. This is especially true for state-owned land. There is also a clear incentive for the park staff to make solid efforts to ensure people have a great time.
Ryan summed it up by saying, “I’ve found that everyone at this park is here to have fun. Most people will offer a helping hand if you break or end up stuck. The staff will also float around and provide guidance, and the park is easily assessable from a main road and offers plenty of parking for trucks and trailers of any kind. I’ve been to this park several times. Been here twice this year already. It’s a great day trip for anyone within a few hours. There’s plenty to do in this park you’ll really have to explore to see everything.”
Off Road Xtreme Bundy Hill Review: 4 out of 5 Stars
When stepping back and looking at all that Bundy Hill Off Road Park has to offer, we rate the park 4 out of 5 stars. The size of the park, terrain variations, facilities, and staff are all great positives. The landscape itself provides opportunities for off-roaders to enjoy the area, all while challenging their skills as much or as little as they like.
Depending on the type of rig you have, there are options for every skill level. The ability to camp right on site, and eat right in the park are big selling points. For a great chance to look at the park from a high vantage point, we recommend Border Trail. It does have some size restrictions, so be aware of that when you visit.
Have you ever been to Bundy Hill Off Road Park? Do you agree with our assessment? We want to hear what your thoughts are. Share this article with your friends and consider Bundy Hill for your next adventure.