Best ATV for Mountain Terrain: Top 3 Beginner Choices

Are you the type of adventurous off-road rider that wants to conquer the most difficult trails that you can find? Then you definitely need a trustworthy quad to accompany you on your journeys! Today, I’m going to share what makes the best ATV for mountain terrain and give you my detailed opinion on the top three models for trail riding quads!

The best ATVs for mountain terrain are Yamaha Raptor 700R, Can-Am Outlander Max XT 850, and the Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4x4i. These are the best hill climbing ATVs on the market and they can tackle rocky trails or steep hills without any problem. I chose the three mountain ATVs based on their traction, stability, and ability to handle challenging offroad trails. Therefore, it’s difficult to pick one as the best. All three models are powerful four-wheelers that can tackle mountain terrain with ease.

Giving a definitive answer on the best ATV for mountain terrain is an almost impossible task. However, I’m here to help you decide which is the best quad for your trail-riding needs and share all my tips on what makes a reliable and tough four-wheeler ready for all-terrain types. Keep on reading for my full review of these three excellent mountain ATV models.

infographic with best ATV for mountain terrain

Best ATV for Mountain Terrain

To be frank, all ATVs are able to handle a variety of terrains, from rocky mountain trails to sandy dunes. They are called “All-Terrain Vehicles” for a reason, after all. That being said, if you want to try your hand at some of the most difficult mountain terrains out there, you can definitely have some difficulty with smaller, less powerful ATVs. The key factor to look for when deciding on the best ATV for mountain terrain is stability.

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When climbing up rocky and muddy hills, you need to know your quad won’t overturn. This is why I put together a list of the three best ATVs for steep terrain on the market, based on my own experience and opinions from other experienced off-road riders. All of the models I’m sharing with you today have great suspension and tires, as well as enough horsepower to overcome the most challenging obstacles on mountain trails.

Not just that, but I wanted to make sure that I give you a variety of options to choose from in terms of engine capacity, top speed, storage capacity, and price point. I would happily take any of these three ATVs on my next off-road adventure, so you can be certain no choice is the wrong one.

The Yamaha Raptor 700R – A Powerful and Speedy Monster

Yamaha Raptor 700R


The Yamaha Raptors are well-known in the community for being some of the speediest off-road vehicles out there. The top speed of this 4-wheeler is reportedly 196mph, so you can pretty much assume that this machine isn’t easy to control by a beginner. This speed has been recorded, of course, on smooth terrain. But what about on the mountain trails that you’re dying to explore? Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Yamaha Raptor is the fastest ATV in 2022.

Well, experts say that the Yamaha Raptor 700R can easily maintain a top speed of 75mph in any type of terrain, from mud to snow. This is still an insane amount of speed that is sure to give a thrill even to the most experienced off-road riders. Therefore, if you are a die-hard adrenaline seeker, the Yamaha model is probably the best option for you out of the three I’m sharing today. The powerful engine also makes this four-wheeler one of the best hill climbing ATVs you can get.

The Yamaha Raptor 700R is equipped with a single-cylinder, four-stroke engine with a capacity of 686cc and horsepower of around 45hp. This monster quad is incredibly durable and offers smooth riding that not many ATVs can achieve on tough terrain. You are sure to enjoy the five-speed plus reverse transmission and electric start that help you face any type of terrain, including rocky paths.

This 1-passenger sport ATV from Yamaha is priced between $8,500 and $9,100, making it the most affordable quad on today’s list. Everyone I know says that the Yamaha Raptor 700R is an excellent ATV all around, with benefits such as incredible power and affordable maintenance, so I proudly declare it one of the best ATVs for mountain terrain.

Can-Am Outlander Max XT 850 – The Go-To Two-Passenger Mountain Quad

Can-Am Outlander Max XT 850

Steep hills are no longer a scary challenge when you are riding on a Can-Am Outlander Max XT. The sturdy and powerful Outlander model was first introduced on the market by Bombardier in 2006. Since then, Can-Am has only improved this quad with better suspension and a variety of engine options. Both the 650 and 1000cc options make for great machines, but I think the 850 gives you the most bang for your buck.

The Outlander Max XT has the longest wheelbase in my selection of mountain ATVs, making it the most stable option. The 11 inches of ground clearance gives this ATV the ability to tackle the steepest mountain trails, but it can pose some difficulty with downhill switchbacks. Still, the 4×4 traction on this model is highly impressive, making it a dependable choice for muddy, snowy, and icy terrains as well.

The 850cc engine offers 78hp, which pairs well with quick throttle response and a smooth suspension system. This quad can reach top speeds of around 60mph. This is not as fast as the Yamaha Raptor, but it’s still plenty of speed to have an exciting mountain trail experience. Ask anyone who owns a Can-Am Outlander Max XT and they will tell you that this is the best ATV for steep terrain. The power that this four-wheeler possesses is simply impressive.

What is bound to make a huge difference for buyers is that the Can-Am Outlander Max XT is equipped with a second passenger seat. If you often hit the trails with your spouse, this bulky and dependable ATV will offer you endless adventures together. However, you need to be ready to drop a pretty penny on this model, which can vary in price from $12,000 up to $13,800.

If you are a beginner and are still learning the ins and outs of ATVs, I suggest checking this article that explains what to wear when ATV riding. You don’t want to be caught unprepared when riding on dangerous mountain trails.

Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4x4i – The Utility ATV that Acts Like a Sport

Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4x4i


It’s no wonder that Kawasaki named this model “Brute Force,” since it goes over any terrain like a true roaring beast. I say roaring because the engine is known to be quite loud, so this is something to keep in mind if you’re sensitive to sound. Still, I think the engine roar can add to the thrilling experience of mountain riding, so it’s not a complete turn-off for me. In my opinion, this is the best ATV for trail riding. You will feel confident and comfortable on all trails. Including the trickiest of mountain trails.

Interestingly enough, the Kawasaki Brute Force is not a sport ATV, but it still can handle any type of terrain. You might remember that I said this machine is the most versatile out of the bunch. This is exactly what I was referring to; the Japanese brand known for top-quality quad bikes created an ATV like no other. This 4-wheeler is both a reliable utility vehicle that can act as a farmer’s best friend but also a mighty brute that tackles challenging terrains like a tank.

You will find this model has a 749cc engine with a V-twin configuration and dual throttle bodies. Kawasaki built this quad with performance in mind, so you get a commendable top speed of 73mph with very low fuel consumption. As for horsepower, the Brute Force 90-degree engine can get up to 50hp. The Electric Power Steering system included with this ATV makes trail riding a seamless experience.

Much like the other two models I’ve talked about, the Kawasaki Brute Force is known for great stability and good traction in a variety of weather conditions. What sets it apart is the utility feature, including the large storage capacity on the front and rear racks. If you want to haul filming equipment with you to capture the stunning views at the mountain top, this spacious quad will easily fit all of your cargo. The Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4x4i retails for around $10,000, making it the middle-range option in our list of best ATVs for mountain trails. The last thing I want to mention about this mountain four-wheeler is that it sports a really awesome looking design.

Which ATV has the Smoothest Ride?

Knowing that you are going to tackle rocky mountain trails, it’s a given that you cannot expect the smoothest of rides. However, you still don’t want to be hauled from one side to the other when you speed up the hills. If your ATV has a reliable suspension system, large tires, and good weight distribution, you will not need to worry about back pain when you get off the machine. Even if you do not pick one of the three models I shared with you today, it’s imperative that you look for a larger wheelbase, large tires, and excellent shock absorption.

Out of the three models I’ve shared with you today, the Can-Am Outlander Max XT 850 will probably give you the smoothest ride. Sport ATVs from Can-Am are generally regarded as the smoothest riding ATVs on the market because they are heavier and have longer suspension travel distances. This is the case with the Outlander Max XT as well, alongside having large 26-inch ITP Terracross tires that seem to levitate over rocky terrains.

What Brand of ATV is the Most Reliable?

This is a question I receive quite frequently from new off-road riders, but it might be even more difficult to answer than which is the best ATV for mountain terrain. You might hear a different opinion from every ATV owner that you meet, based on their own experience and preferences. That being said, I did my fair share of research to offer you the most informed answer that I could.

The majority of off-road experts will say that Honda is the most reliable ATV brand because of its unmatched safety measures. They have always provided clients with consistency in terms of quality and resilience. If you are dead-set on purchasing a Honda with reliable TraxLok technology, the best sport ATV suited for mountain trails in their collection would be the TRX450R.

Still, that is not to say the three brands I focused on today are not reliable manufacturers. In fact, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Can-Am are some of the most well-sold ATV brands worldwide. There are plenty of arguments to be made in favor of each one, but if I had to choose one as the most dependable, I would go for Kawasaki. They equip their quads with 5-way preload-adjustable shocks that are well-known to create a comfortable riding experience hard to beat by other brands. Quality designs, great suspension systems, and incredible attention to detail make Kawasaki one of the most reliable ATV brands out there.


A good ATV can be the gateway to a lot of fun adventures on off-road trails. As I’ve explained, a good mountain terrain ATV will have big tires, great suspension, and a powerful engine. There are plenty of ATVs that fit these standards out there. Even though there are great models available from other brands such as Polaris and Honda as well, I wanted to share with you a variety of features and price points so that you can choose based on your preferences. Therefore, you can look past the terrain availability to other important criteria, such as your budget and usage needs.

If you are looking for a speedy ride on your own, the blue Yamaha Raptor will be your partner in crime. If you want a smooth ride you can enjoy with your spouse or your best friend, then I recommend you spend a little extra money on the Can-Am Outlander Max XT 850. Last but not least, for people looking to put their quad to work from time to time but still want to enjoy fun mountain trails in their free time, nothing can beat the Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4x4i.

Out of the three, my top choice would have to be the Yamaha Raptor 700R because it is the cheapest out of the bunch but can also offer a thrilling off-road riding experience like no other. I’ve never heard of any Raptor owner that was unhappy with their purchase, so it has to be my top recommendation today. Regardless of which one you choose to purchase, you will have no trouble facing rocky trails, steep hills, and muddy paths.

Bob Kelly

Hey there, my name is Bob and I've been riding ATVs, dirt bikes, and UTVs for most of my life. Going on outdoor adventures has always been my passion. I love sharing tips and tricks with beginners who are getting ready to join the world of outdoor enthusiasts. You can reach me at if you want to get in touch.

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