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New Hampshire ATV Laws: Where & How To Ride Your ATV Legally

New Hampshire ATV Laws: Where & How To Ride Your ATV Legally

New Hampshire is located in the New England region of the United States; it is the 5th smallest and 10th least populous state. It is popularly known as the Granite State because it has extensive granite formations and several quarries. New Hampshire is one of the states where you can enjoy your ATV riding.

The ATV laws in New Hampshire include: all ATVs must be registered with the state before operating. Children below age 18 must always wear a helmet when riding an ATV. You can ride your ATV on the Hillsborough Recreational Rail Trail, New Hampshire Motocross Park, and Pisgah State Park. 

Riding an ATV is exciting and fun; it is a good way to relax and engage in recreational activities with family and friends. However, as an ATV rider in New Hampshire, you must be aware of the laws regulating the operation of ATVs and make sure you obey them.

welcome to new hampshire sign

New Hampshire ATV Laws

In New Hampshire, an ATV is classified as a motor-driven vehicle designed to travel over other terrains other than a maintained road with one or more tires, having the capacity for payloads and passengers, not exceeding 50 inches in width and 1000 pounds in net weight.

The enforcement of ATV laws is to ensure the safety of both ATV riders and non-riders. Below are the ATV laws of New Hampshire:

  • You must not operate an ATV at a speed of more than 35 mph during the period between sunset and sunrise.
  • ATVs operated on public lands must be registered before they are operated; registration for residents costs $54, while for non-residents, it is $73.
  • New Hampshire does not allow the use of ATVs registered in another state; as a non-resident, you will have to obtain a 10-day registration before operating your ATV on public property.
  • ATV riders above the age of 12 must have either a valid driver’s license or an OHRV safety education certificate before operating an ATV.
  • If your driver’s license is under revocation or is suspended, you are not permitted to operate an ATV.
  • ATV operators below age 14 can only operate an ATV under the supervision of an adult with a valid driver’s license.
  • An ATV rider below age 18 must wear a helmet and eye protection and cannot carry a passenger when operating an ATV.
  • You can only ride an ATV on a public road when crossing from one designated trail to another.
  • ATVs are to be operated only on designated trails and private property.
  • A child below age 12 must not cross a public road with an ATV.
  • It is highly illegal to operate an ATV while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Every ATV operator must always possess the registration certificate of their ATV and should provide it with identification when requested by an authorized officer.
  • You must always seek permission from a property owner before operating your ATV on private property.

Where Can You Ride An ATV In New Hampshire?

Although New Hampshire is a small state, it still has many places to ride an ATV. There are different places in New Hampshire where you can ride your ATV through technical terrain and mud patches while feeling the burst of wind on your face. Nevertheless, there are also public places to ride an ATV, which we will look at.

Hillsborough Recreational Rail Trail

Hillsborough Recreational Rail Trail is a very smooth and easy trail; it is about 8 miles and has a gradual elevation change. It is open all year round except during the mud season. Your ATV must have an NH OHRV sticker and a spark arrestor exhaust silencer or an end cap before you can operate it in this trail.

The terrain on this trail is mostly hard-packed and filled with trees; it also contains mud, dust, and rocks. There are no fees for entry, riding, and parking on this trail. All riders must always wear an MX helmet when riding. This trail is mostly suitable for novice riders, but experienced riders can also ride on this trail.

The noise limit at this area is 96 decibels, and the maximum vehicle width is 50 inches. This trail is open to UTVs, ATVs, Dirt bikes, SXSs, and Motorcycles. Jeeps, Dune buggies, SUVs, and Sand rail 4x4s are prohibited from operating on this trail. Night riding is allowed in certain areas of this trail; however, trailblazing is prohibited.

New Hampshire Motocross Park

New Hampshire Motocross Park was formerly known as Jolly Roger MX; it has two motocross tracks, and the main track is 1.5 miles long. It is open on Thursdays from 1 pm to 7 pm and from 10 am to 4 pm on the weekends. All riders at this park must wear a helmet when riding, and night riding is prohibited.

The off-road vehicles permitted at this park are Motorcycles, ATVs, and Dirt bikes. Others like SUVs, UTVs, Jeeps, Dune buggies, SXSs, and Sand rail 4x4s are prohibited. Riding at this park costs $40 per rider, while for children, it costs $30; there are no fees for entry, parking, or camping.

New Hampshire Motocross Park terrain contains loose dirt, trees, small jumps, berms, hardpack, sand, dust, rocks, steep hills, and large jumps. There is usually rider traffic at this park because of the large population of riders. Some shades are scattered around; this park is suitable for novice, amateur, and expert riders.

big atv on mountain top

Pisgah State Park

Pisgah State Park has about 15 miles of trails along with several ponds and ridge climbs. The terrain in the southern part is a little rocky, but it smooths out; it contains hardpack, berms, loose dirt, dust, mud, trees, steep hills, sand, and water crossings. A staging area is available at this park, with lots of parking space.

This trail at this park is open all year round but is closed to the public during the mud season, which is between April and May. To ride at this park, you must have an NH OHRV sticker on your vehicle, and your vehicle must also have a spark arrestor exhaust silencer. The maximum vehicle width is 50 inches, and the noise limit is 96 decibels.

The vehicles permitted at Pisgah State Park are ATVs, SXSs, motorcycles, UTVs, Jeeps, SUVs, and dirt bikes; others like dune buggies and sand rail 4x4s are prohibited. All riders are required to wear a helmet when riding. Night riding and trailblazing are not allowed in this park.

Where Can’t You Ride An ATV In New Hampshire?

In New Hampshire, there are places you cannot ride an ATV because the law prohibits them. However, there are also some off-road trails and parks that do not allow ATVs to operate. As an ATV rider, you must know these areas so that you do not think of or make efforts to ride there.

You cannot ride an ATV on a public road, highway, or street. Operating an ATV on a railroad right of way, airport runway, or a landing field is also illegal. You cannot ride your ATV within a cemetery. You cannot ride your ATV in Canaan Lions Motocross, Sandbox NH, and The Rock Pile Motorsport Park.

Final Thoughts

Before riding an ATV, you should first know the ATV laws and the places you are permitted to ride an ATV in the state you are in. Knowing this saves you from any trouble and keeps you and others safe. When riding an ATV in New Hampshire, make sure you always obey all the laws and ride in designated areas only. Regardless of how fun an activity is, you will not enjoy it when it is conducted improperly, or there are external disturbances.

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