How Do You Ride an ATV on a Steep Hill?

Riding an ATV, also known as an all-terrain vehicle, or a quad bike can be incredibly fun.

With low-pressure tires, a straddled seat, and handlebars for steering control, you can tackle almost any terrain with it, and feel like you’re racing through the wilderness.

But it’s not just all fun and games with the ATV, as you have to learn how to properly control it, so that you can ride it safely, without accident or injury.

Out on the trail, you will come across plenty of obstacles, and that’s most of the fun with riding an ATV, but you need to know how to overcome these obstacles the proper way.

One of the main ones you will come across is hills. Some pretty steep ones too! So learning how to ride your ATV up those steep hills safely is a must for all beginners!

Let’s go through the main and most important tips for when going up a steep hill with your ATV:

Body position:

Do you know how like when you ride a horse, you have to adjust your body position depending on whether you’re going up or down a hill? Irrelevant, we know, but with riding an ATV it’s exactly the same.

When you’re going up a steep hill, your body should be leaning forward, in a standing position. The steeper the hill, the more forward you should be.

This way, your body weight will help keep the front tire on the ground as it climbs the hill (very important to stop the ATV from tipping), and none of your weight is behind, dragging it down.

Keeping your head up:

It’s tempting to keep your eyes fixed on the ground in front of you, as you advance. But when it comes to a hill, you need to keep your head up, so that you can see the obstacles coming up from up ahead.

That way you can correct your path, if necessary, with plenty of time! (An obstacle mid-hill can completely ruin the climb, so this is important!)


One of the most important things to do when you’re about to start climbing a steep hill is to get as much momentum as possible beforehand. This isn’t always possible, as it depends on the terrain leading up to the hill.

But if you have enough of a straight path, increase the speed of your ATV as much as you can, so it has that driving momentum at the beginning of the hill.

This way, it will be able to climb up a big chunk of the hill, before there are any signs of struggle!

Setting a path:

Preparation can be the key to getting up that hill without issues. Set a path, and know exactly which way you’re going to climb the hill.

That way there won’t be any unexpected obstacles or problems. And as you’ll know where you’re going, you probably won’t feel as nervous!


When you’re climbing the hill, the initial momentum you’ve managed to gain will help, but it’s very important that you don’t do anything that might slow down the ATV. Slowing down mid-climb is lethal, and can very well ruin the whole thing!

This is where the shift comes in. You need to make sure you’re being smooth with both the clutch and that you’re shifting at the right time and not too soon!


You obviously need gas to get your ATV up the hill, especially if it’s a steep one, as your ATV will need all the more power.

But if you give it a sudden big burst of the throttle, the tires might slip from the sudden momentum, causing you to lose grip, and this means you likely won’t make it to the top. But of course, you still have to give enough throttle to keep going, or else you’ll slow down and become doomed.

The trick is in finding a good balance, and in being as smooth as possible with any changes.

Turning around if needed:

Knowing when to give up is just as important as working towards success.

With a hill, the sooner you realize you’re not going to make it, the better, as you’ll have more time to turn around without tipping over and being at risk of injury.

If you’re going to turn around, try and do it somewhere where your ATV has enough room to do so safely!

What type of path is best for driving an ATV up a hill?

As we’ve mentioned, setting the best path to go uphill with your ATV can be the key to getting to the top successfully. But what type of path is the best?

What type of path is best for driving an ATV up a hill

As a general rule, you should always try and find the smoothest and straightest line to the top. By smooth, we mean the flattest terrain, with the least amount of bumps and obstacles. This is because obstacles can seriously slow down your progress, and mid-hill, slowing down can mean doom.

When traversing a slope what should you do if your ATV starts to tip?

If you’re going up a steep slope and your ATV starts to tip, you should try and turn it around to head downhill. Do so by turning your ATV in a wide turn.

However, if this isn’t possible because you can’t do so safely, or it’s already tipping, then jump off the ATV uphill, so that you land in front of it as it falls backward.

What is the most important thing to remember when swerving your ATV?

The top ‘do not do’ when swerving your ATV, is braking. This is because it will cause your tires to lock up, losing traction and grip on the ground.

And as you’ll be mid-swerve, the momentum will cause you to skid, and depending on the speed, you could even tip over. Instead, try slowing down slightly before you begin the swerve!