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

kentucky atv laws

Kentucky is a state located in the southeast of the United States, and its capital is Frankfort. This state is very popular for the Kentucky Derby, which is in Louisville, the state’s largest city. There are different areas and places to ride an ATV in Kentucky.

The main Kentucky ATV law is that it is illegal to operate an ATV on any public roadway or highway. You can ride an ATV legally in Kentucky in any of these locations; Earlington ATV Park, Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area, Dirty Turtle Off-Road Park, MOB Motorsports, and Turkey Bay OHV Area. 

Kentucky does not have many laws concerning ATVs, but the few they have are strictly enforced. It is very important that while operating an ATV in Kentucky, you must abide by all legal rules to prevent facing punishments.

kentucky sign on wooden arrow

Kentucky ATV Laws

Kentucky views an ATV as a motor vehicle used for recreational off-road use. If you will operate an ATV in Kentucky, you must know the laws guiding the operation of ATVs. Refusal to comply with these laws can result in different penalties.

  • Every ATV in the state must be titled with the state.
  • It is illegal to operate an ATV on public roads in Kentucky unless the city or town created a law allowing it on public roads.
  • An ATV is allowed to operate on public roads only when used for farming or agricultural purposes, road maintenance, construction, and snow removal.
  • Every ATV operating on public roads must comply with traffic laws, and the driver or operator must have a valid license.
  • An ATV is permitted to cross a roadway only during the day and at an angle of 90 degrees.
  • If the city or town you are riding in allows ATVs on the streets, you can only ride during the day unless you are engaged in emergency road maintenance or snow removal.
  • All ATVs in Kentucky must be equipped with an efficient and suitable muffler.
  • When an ATV is being operated on a public street, it must always have at least two taillights and one headlight.
  • Every ATV operator in Kentucky is required to put on the approved protective headgear except when using the ATV for mining, farming, logging, or any other commercial activities.
  • Children below age 16 must not ride an ATV with an engine size above 90 cc and must always ride under direct parental supervision.
  • It is unlawful to ride an ATV under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Kentucky.

Where Can You Ride An ATV In Kentucky?

Riding an ATV is quite exciting, especially when riding with friends. It gives you a certain type of adrenaline rush, which makes the ride enjoyable. However, something else can make you further enjoy your ATV ride, which is riding in the right place.

Riding your ATV on a plane surface is not as fun as riding on rough and challenging terrain. There are several places in Kentucky where you can ride your ATV. These areas provide you with challenging terrains that make you enjoy your ride to the fullest. ‘

MOB Motorsports

MOB Motorsports is an off-road park that is open every day year-round. This park provides many hill climbs, tracks, and miles of narrow wooden trails. Occasionally, motocross races are held and hosted at this park. Every vehicle in this off-road park must have an end cap or a spark arrestor exhaust silencer.

Motorcycles, ATVs, SXSW, Dirt bikes, and UTVs are the only off-road vehicles permitted. The trail system in this area is filled with loose dirt, berms, small jumps, trees, dust, sand, large jumps, steep hills, rocks, and mud. Riding an ATV at this park costs $30 per rider.

Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area

Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area, also known as Black Mountain Recreation Park, is a 7000-acre trail system open all year round. This area has two trailheads; Putney Trailhead and the Evarts Trailhead. The Evarts trailhead is close to a general store that sells basic camping supplies.

Riding an ATV in this area requires a Black Mountain General use permit that can be gotten outside the park. Night riding is allowed in this area; however, the vehicle must have front and rear lights. Every ATV rider is expected to always use a seatbelt. Campfires are permitted in some areas of this park.

Earlington ATV Park

Earlington ATV Park is an off-road park that was established and opened to the public in 2010. This park has 500 acres of hardwood forest with ATV trails. It has restroom facilities and a designated staging area.

To ride an ATV in this park, you will require a permit which you can get online. Riders below age 17 are expected to always put on boots, a helmet, and goggles when riding. Every vehicle in this park is required to have a spark arrestor. UTVs, SXSW, SUVs, Jeeps, and Dune Buggies are prohibited from this park.

Where Can’t You Ride ATV In Kentucky?

It is very important to ensure you ride your ATV in a legal way. There are some areas that the law prohibits ATV operation. It is necessary that you know those places and never ride on them. Riding an ATV on a public road, highway, or street is forbidden by state law.

However, this law has some exceptions if the operation is agricultural-related or for other commercial activities. Some places that prohibit ATVs in Kentucky include The Holler, Eagle Creek Hare Scramble Park, and Nikita Motorsports Park. These areas do not permit an ATV to operate inside them.

guy rides atv in dunes

Popular Places To Ride Your ATV In Kentucky

Kentucky has a lot of popular places where you can ride an ATV. These places are popular for their size, facilities, the type of terrain, or the kind of activities they provide for ATV riders. You can choose to ride your ATV in any of these popular areas.

Dirty Turtle Off-road Park

This off-road park is very popular and is open on Friday and Saturday from 9 am to 10 pm, and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. Dirty Turtle Off-road Park is 286 acres of many mud bogs and numerous trail systems. The trails at this park range from wide and easy to steep and rugged; there are also numerous stream crossings.

Camping is one of the activities permitted at this off-road park; there are cabin rentals available, but a reservation is required to get one. There are also restrooms and a general store in this area. Racing events take place occasionally in this area, and during that period, concession stands are provided.

Turkey Bay OHV Area

Turkey Bay OHV Area is another popular place for ATV riding that provides about 100 miles of challenging trails coupled with primitive camping near a lake and a scenic view. The terrain of this OHV area is mostly filled with rocks, steep hills, mud pits, berms, trees, dust, hardpack, and loose dirt.

This OHV area is open all year round from dusk till dawn every day. To ride an ATV in this area, you must have a permit, and your vehicle must have a spark arrestor exhaust silencer. The vehicles permitted at this area are ATVs, UTVs, SUVs, Motorcycles, SXSs, Dirt bikes, Dune Buggies, and Jeeps.

Final Thoughts

Kentucky is a very beautiful state with many places where you can ride an ATV. However, while riding an ATV in Kentucky, make sure your activities are legal and you are careful to obey all the ATV laws. Only then can you fully enjoy your ATV ride. It is essential that you have fun in a legal and compliant manner.

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.