Arizona ATV Laws: Where And How To Ride Your ATV Legally

arizona atv laws

Arizona, the 6th largest state, is famous for the desert, forests of pines, mountains, ski resorts, national forests, and numerous parks. There are several ATV-designated trails in Arizona where you can ride on both easy and challenging trails, depending on your skill level.

Arizona ATV laws are: all ATVs are required to have a certificate of title and an OHV decal, ATV operators must have a valid driver’s license, and children below age 18 must wear a helmet when riding an ATV. You can ride your ATV on the Box Canyon OHV Trail, Alto Pit OHV, and Arizona Peace Trail.

Riding an ATV is quite exhilarating; however, it is necessary to always comply with the laws guiding the operation of ATVs in the state or country you find yourself in. Every activity you engage in must be done legally, including ATV riding.

arizona grand cayon state sign

Arizona ATV Laws

In Arizona, ATVs are motorized vehicles operated on water, land, snow, ice, and other natural terrains. There are several ATV laws in Arizona, and violating them will get you in trouble with the law enforcement agents. Below are the Arizona ATV laws:

  • All ATVs are required to have a certificate of title in compliance with the mandatory OHV decal law.
  • To ride an ATV on any city, state, or county roads and highways, you must have a valid driver’s license.
  • Before operating an ATV on any public or state land, you must register the vehicle with the state. However, you do not need to register the ATV if it will be operated on private property only.
  • If an ATV rider is below 18 years, he must put on a helmet when riding.
  • ATVs operated on dunes or other managed lands in Arizona must have an 8 feet safety flag attached to the rear end.
  • Every ATV in Arizona should have a license plate and an OHV decal.
  • If you operate an ATV thirty minutes before sunrise or after sunset, the ATV must have functioning headlights and taillights illuminated during such operations.
  • ATVs in Arizona must have brake lights, a spark arrestor, a rearview mirror, and a good muffler system.
  • ATVs should be operated only on routes, trails, roads, and areas open to ATVs.
  • It is highly illegal to operate an ATV in a manner that damages riparian areas, wildlife habitats, cultural or natural resources, and properties.
  • An OHV decal of an ATV must be renewed yearly in Arizona.
  • ATVs can be operated on the streets in Arizona; however, they have to be made street legal.
  • Non-residents of Arizona do not need to have an OHV decal before operating their ATV in Arizona.

Where Can You Ride An ATV In Arizona?

Arizona is also known as the Grand Canyon State; it has a beautiful landscape and provides breathtaking views to riders. As an off-road rider, Arizona is one of the best places to have a fun and exciting off-road adventure. There are several trails, parks, and areas to ride an ATV in Arizona.

Box Canyon OHV Trail

Box Canyon OHV Trail is also known as Black Hills Box Canyon; it is a 10-mile OHV trail. This trail provides a variety of terrain from desert single track to steep rocky climbs and deep-water crossings. At this trail, several side trails lead to small canyons and mines.

The terrain of this trail is mostly sandy and has several water crossings; however, it also consists of hardpack, rocks, berms, steep hills, loose dirt, dust, mud, small jumps, and trees. An AZGFD sticker is required to ride on this trail, and vehicles must have a spark arrestor exhaust silencer or end cap and not exceed the noise limit of 96 decibels.

Box Canyon OHV Trail is open all year round and requires no entry, parking, or riding fee. It is also open to all off-road vehicles: Sandrail 4x4s, Motorcycles, SUVs, SXSs, ATVs, Jeeps, Dune buggies, Dirt bikes, and UTVs. Night riding and camping are permitted at this trail.

Alto Pit OHV Area

Alto Pit OHV Area is open all year round but the time open for each month varies. This OHV area has many surrounding ATV trails with different terrains for beginners and expert riders. The amenities at this area are restrooms, picnic tables, a staging area, and a pavilion.

The vehicles allowed at this OHV area are SXSs, Dirt bikes, UTVs, Motorcycles, and ATVs; SUVs, Jeeps, Dune buggies, and Sandrail 4x4s are prohibited. All vehicles allowed at this area do not exceed 50 inches in width and are required to have a spark arrestor exhaust silencer or an end cap.

Camping is allowed in this area. Parking in this area costs $5 but is usually free on Wednesdays. The terrain at Alto Pit OHV Area is mostly hard-packed and contains trees, berms, small jumps, sand and gravel pits, dust, loose dirt, rocks, mud, sand, and a few water crossings.

group of people ride atvs in capadoccia

Arizona Peace Trail

Arizona Peace Trail is the longest off-road trail in Arizona and the largest in the United States; it is 675-mile-long and can take up to five days to fully explore, unlike other trails that can be completed in a day. This trail covers several cities and counties and is maintained by different government agencies and other off-road institutions.

This trail is open to Sandrail 4x4s, Motorcycles, SUVs, SXSs, ATVs, Jeeps, Dune buggies, Dirt bikes, and UTVs. Due to the long distance of this trail, there are accommodations and restaurants along the way where you can relax. You will also have access to different views like mines, ghost towns, and wildlife in their natural habitat at this trail.

Where Can’t You Ride An ATV In Arizona?

In Arizona, there are some areas where riding ATV is prohibited. You cannot ride your ATV on a public road or highway that is not open to ATVs. It is also illegal to ride your ATV in wildlife habitats. Some other places in Arizona where ATVs are prohibited are White Hills Trails, Mesquite MX, Fort Valley Trail System, Kelly Canyon, and Apache Trail.

Can You Ride An ATV On The Streets In Arizona?

ATVs are permitted on the streets in Arizona; however, they will have to be made street legal. You will have to make some modifications to your ATV to make it street legal. The first step in making your ATV street legal is to register it for on-highway use.

When you register your ATV for on-highway use, you will get a registration sticker that you should put on the upper right corner of your license plate. Street legal ATVs usually have the letters MC on the left side of the license plate. Although most of the things required to make an ATV street legal are also required for all ATVs, some additional changes are to be made.

To make your ATV street legal, you must have your license plate displayed in a visible area; however, it must be lighted as well. You must also install a horn to your ATV, which must be audible from at least 200 feet. Lastly, your ATV must have liability insurance and emissions. Once you have added these things to your ATV, you can ride it freely on the streets in Arizona.

Final Thoughts

There are many great places to ride an ATV in the United States; Arizona is one of the best states to ride an ATV as you get to have an amazing and challenging ride while enjoying the view of incredible sights. There are many off-road trails to explore with your ATV in Arizona. Next time you are wondering where to ride your ATV in the United States, consider visiting Arizona.

By Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher loves to play with new toys and dive into new hobbies. As a serial entrepreneur, work definitely comes first but there is always room for hobbies.

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