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

colorado atv laws

Colorado is famous for its diverse and beautiful landscapes, its wildlife, and the different activities it offers. It is the best state in the United States, suitable for hiking, horse-riding, mountain biking, ATV riding, canoeing, and skiing. Colorado is located in the western sub-region of the United States.

Colorado ATV laws state that ATVs should not be operated on public highways, roads, or streets. All ATVs must be registered and numbered before they can be operated in Colorado. You can ride your ATV in Alpine Loop, Grand Valley OHV Area, Ram Off-Road Park, and Straight Creek Trail.

ATVs are very common in Colorado as they are used for recreational activities and work purposes. However, if you will be riding and operating an ATV in Colorado, you should know the laws guiding ATVs to avoid getting into trouble legally.

welcome to colorful colorado sign

Colorado ATV Laws

Seeing as there are lots of ATV operations going on in Colorado, the state has a lot of ATV laws that are strictly enforced. Violation of these laws has its consequences; you might be fined, or your ATV will be taken from you, income cases you might be given jail term depending on how severe your violation is. Below are Colorado ATV Laws

  • ATV operations are prohibited on public streets, highways, or roadways unless for agricultural purposes or emergencies.
  • All ATV owners are expected to register and number their ATVs; it is illegal to own or operate an unregistered ATV. A certificate of title, receipt, or bill of sale is required as proof of ownership during the registration of an ATV.
  • Before operating an ATV on a public road, you must be 10 years and above and have an adult with a valid driver’s license supervise you.
  • ATV riders below age 18 are always required to wear a safety helmet when operating an ATV.
  • ATVs that do not require registration are ATVs owned by the government, ATVs used for agricultural purposes or in an organized race, ATVs used only on private property or for educational programs, and ATVs owned by a non-resident of Colorado must have been registered in another state.
  • Before you can operate an ATV on any public land trails, you must first get an off-highway use permit which must be displayed on your vehicle.
  • ATVs that do not require a permit are owned by the government or those used in organized events and used for commercial purposes like firewood cutting, logging, mining, and grazing livestock.
  • All ATVs in Colorado must be equipped with brakes, headlamps, tail lamps, a spark arrestor, and a muffler.
  • It is illegal to pursue or harass wildlife with an ATV.
  • All ATVs in Colorado must not exceed the noise limit of 96 decibels during operation.

Where Can You Ride An ATV In Colorado?

There are various parks, trails, and OHV areas where you can ride your ATV with your friends. These areas all have their uniqueness, but you will certainly enjoy your ATV ride. Riding an ATV in these areas sometimes requires payment or a permit, but not all of them do. Let us take a look at the places to ride an ATV in Colorado.

Alpine Loop

Alpine Loop is open from June to October every year; it is a popular summer destination for off-road vehicle riders and operators. It offers 65 miles of designated trails of old mining roads near abandoned railroads, mines, mills, and ghost towns. Riding an ATV in this area guarantees a sight of the area’s history.

The trail system at Alpine Loop has 5 staging areas and several RV campgrounds. A Colorado OHV sticker is required to ride a vehicle in this area. The vehicles allowed are Sand Rail 4x4s, Dune buggies, Jeeps, 4x4s, SXSs, UTVs, Motorcycles, ATVs, and Dirt bikes. All vehicles in this area must have a spark arrestor exhaust silencer or an end cap and must not exceed the noise limit, which is 96 decibels.

Grand Valley OHV Area

Grand Valley OHV Area provides a large variety of terrain ranging from smooth double tracks to rugged narrow single-track. It is open all year round and allows off-road vehicles like ATVs, Jeeps, UTVs, SXSs, Dirt bikes, and Dune buggies.

Trailblazing at Grand Valley OHV Area is permitted. The trails at this area mostly consist of large jumps, small jumps, steep hills, trees, rocks, dust, mud, sand, hardpack, and loose dirt. All vehicles operating at this OHV area must have an end cap or a spark arrestor exhaust silencer.

Ram Off-Road Park

Ram Off-Road Park, also known as El Paso County, is an off-road park open to ATVs, Motorcycles, 4x4s, UTVs, Dirt bikes, Dune buggies, SXSs, Jeeps, and Sandrail 4x4s. It offers 5 miles of trails consisting of berms, small jumps, trees, rocks, steep hills, large jumps, dust, mud, loose dirt, sand, and hard pack.

Riding an ATV at Ram Off-Road Park costs $15, dirt bikes cost $10, while UTVs cost $20. Camping is allowed in some areas at this park; however, campfires are prohibited. Night riding is also prohibited. This off-road park is open from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 5 pm, while on weekends, it is open from 9 am to 4 pm.

Straight Creek Trail

Straight Creek Trail is open from May 21 till November 22 every year; riding an ATV at this trail requires a Colorado OHV sticker. The trail is about 6 miles, is rated moderately challenging, and consists of loose chunk rocks, hardpack, trees, challenging water crossings, dust, mud, and loose dirt. Trailblazing and night riding are not allowed in this area.

Motorcycles, SXSs, ATVs, Dirt bikes, and UTVs, are allowed at Straight Creek Trail, while 4X4s, Sandrail 4x4s, Jeeps, and dune buggies are prohibited. All vehicles gaining entry into this area must not exceed 5o inches in width and are also required to have a spark arrestor.

Where Can’t You Ride An ATV In Colorado?

Riding an ATV on public roads or highways is illegal. The Colorado state government prohibits such action. There are also some parks and trail systems that do not allow ATVs. These areas are Aztec Family Raceway, Two Rivers Racing, Captain Jacks Trail, Dry Lake MX Park, Thunder Valley Motocross Park. Right from the entrance to these places, ATVs are not allowed.

cinnamon pass atv on trail

Can You Ride An ATV On The Streets In Colorado?

The general ATV laws in Colorado do not allow ATVs on public streets. However, some counties and cities in Colorado have opened up their roads and streets to ATV use. These places are the City of Craig, Town of Eagle, Chaffee County, Town of Granby, Lake County, Town of Meeker, City of Parachute, City Of Sterling, Montezuma County, Moffat County, Lake City, Hinsdale County, and the City of Empire.

Some of these areas allow ATV on all the streets, while others allow it on certain streets. Hence, if you operate an ATV in any of these areas, you must make sure you are riding in a permitted area.

You can also ride an ATV on the streets in Colorado:

  • When the street is designated for ATV operation
  • When traversing a culvert or bridge
  • When you are operating an ATV for agricultural purposes
  • When crossing the street from one ATV designated area to another.
  • When the local authorities are conducting a special event, or
  • In cases of emergencies declared by the state or local authorities.

Final Thoughts

ATV riding in Colorado is popular, and there are different places to visit with your ATV. One important thing you must never forget is the ATV laws in Colorado; you must make sure you always obey them. You are saving yourself from any trouble you might get into by violating a law by doing this.

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.