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Urbex with a Side-by-Side: Discover Hidden Treasures Safely and Respectfully

urbex in side-by-side

Urbex, or urban exploration, is a practice that involves visiting man-made places, often abandoned or hidden, to discover architectural and historical treasures. However, this activity is not without risks or responsibilities. I will outline the risks, preparation needs, and legal requirements later in the text. My explorations are done in a side-by-side. I drive a Maverick Trail DPS 800, which allows me to reach various destinations. Each outing is a chance to capture the essence of the places visited, while respecting their history and context. Indeed, every place has a great and long story to tell. My vehicle becomes essential in this increasingly popular practice.

urbex in side-by-side

Obtaining Permissions

It is crucial to emphasize the importance of obtaining permission from owners before venturing into these places, just as it is necessary to have the right of way from landowners to ride an ATV in general! This respectful approach is essential to ensure the safety of everyone, as well as the integrity of the sites explored.

To obtain permission to explore an abandoned site, it is essential to follow a respectful and legal approach. First, identify the owner of the site or the person responsible for managing the land. This may require research in the land registry or inquiries with local municipalities. Most of the time, it is not a problem when you ask.

Once the owner is identified, prepare a formal request for permission, clearly explaining your urban exploration project, your intentions, and the measures you will take to ensure the safety and preservation of the site. It is important to emphasize your commitment to respecting the property and leaving no trace of your visit.

In some cases, such as for impactful exploration work, specific regulations may apply, requiring prior official authorization, as indicated in the “Mining Watch Canada” guide and the directives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests. Make sure to understand and comply with these regulations to avoid any infractions.

Finally, keep a copy of all communications and permissions obtained, and be ready to present them if necessary during your exploration. By following these steps, you will help promote responsible urbex practice, while protecting your own legal safety and that of the heritage being explored.


Urbex is more than just exploration; it is an adventure that requires preparation, respect, and responsibility. By following these principles, we can all enjoy the hidden beauty of our urban environments, while preserving the legacy of these spaces for future generations. So, before embarking on your next exploration, make sure you have taken all the necessary steps for an enriching and respectful adventure.

By respecting these principles, I help promote a positive image of urbex, while ensuring my safety and that of my adventure partner, my spouse Kathy! It should not be forgotten that by visiting such places on an ATV, I give a bad impression of many people if I am not respectful. Both the respectable members of the urbex community and the numerous ATV riders in the province.

To embark on urban exploration, meticulous preparation is essential. Start by equipping yourself with comfortable and secure shoes, offering good support and non-slip soles for navigating unpredictable terrains.

A sturdy and well-organized backpack is essential for carrying your equipment, with compartments for your electronic gadgets and accessible pockets for items you will need quickly. Don’t forget to include a first aid kit, as accidents can happen in abandoned environments.

More Preparation!

Ensure you have clothing suited to weather conditions, with modular layers to handle temperature variations. A GPS device or reliable mobile navigation apps are indispensable for finding your way in unknown places. An external battery will keep your electronic devices charged, essential for safety and documenting your adventure.

Also, plan for adequate lighting, such as a powerful flashlight or a headlamp, for explorations in dark areas. Finally, don’t forget to bring a water bottle and snacks to maintain your energy throughout the expedition. With proper preparation and adherence to safety rules, urban exploration can become a rewarding and memorable experience.

Have you noticed that everything I need is also what I have to bring on a “normal” off-road vehicle ride? My side-by-side becomes a formidable tool here for carrying my equipment and myself to hard-to-reach and much more remote places.


Urban exploration, known as urbex, is an adventure that attracts with its mysterious side and the promise of discovering timeless places. However, this practice is not without risks, and it is crucial to know them before getting involved.

Physical dangers are perhaps the most obvious. Falls, injuries from unstable structures or debris, and contamination risks in dilapidated buildings are real threats. There are also legal risks, as unauthorized entry onto private property can lead to legal action. Additionally, some sites may harbour illegal activities or be a refuge for ill-intentioned individuals, increasing the risk of violent incidents.

In Conclusion

Safety must always be the top priority in urbex practice. This involves learning about the site’s condition, wearing appropriate protective gear, and above all, never exploring alone. It is also advisable to leave an itinerary and expected return time with a trusted person. (Just like with an ATV.)

Moreover, respecting the visited places is a fundamental principle of urbex: this means taking nothing and leaving nothing behind, except photographs. You can enjoy the photos from my latest exploration in this article.

Urbex can offer incredible experiences, but it is essential to remember that safety and respect for the law and the places are the keys to keeping these explorations positive and enriching adventures. By following these tips, urban explorers can minimize risks and fully enjoy the excitement and hidden beauty in the forgotten corners of our urban environments.

These exploration days with my side-by-side and my spouse Kathy are always wonderful memories. We will still talk about them in 20 years! Last important detail: I will never reveal the locations of my rides; it is one of the basic principles of urbex.

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