North Dakota ATV Laws: Where & How To Ride Your ATV Legally

north dakota atv laws

Although North Dakota is not a large state, it is still one of the good places to live in the United States. Because of the size of this state, there are few designated areas and trails for ATV riding. However, you can still enjoy your ATV ride in this state.

North Dakota ATV law states that all ATVs must be registered with the state and equipped with brakes, headlights, and tail lights. Some of the places you can ride your ATV legally in North Dakota are Roughrider OHV Trail, Airborne Alley MX Park, and Turtle Mountain State Recreation Area.

The adage “knowledge is power” is very important because when you have the knowledge, you know what is expected of you and what is not. In this article, we will be talking about ATV operations in North Dakota.

north dakota peace garden state

North Dakota ATV Laws

North Dakota classifies ATVs as off-road vehicles designed for off-highway use and can travel on snow, marsh, land, swamp, ice, and other terrains. North Dakota does not have a lot of ATV laws; however, the ones they have are strictly enforced. Below are North Dakota ATV laws:

  • ATVs can be operated on ditch bottoms, the top of backslope, and the backslope of any highway, but only if the ATV is registered.
  • Every ATV rider operating on a highway must have a valid operator’s license.
  • The operation of ATV on the slope, shoulder, or roadway of a highway is permitted only when there is an obstruction that prevents the operation of ATV on ditch bottoms and backslope.
  • All ATVs must be equipped with at least one headlight and taillights; they must also have a functioning brake system.
  • You must register your ATV with the North Dakota Department of Transportation and get liability insurance.
  • Registration of ATVs require a $20 fee.
  • Non-residents of North Dakota must have a non-resident public trail and land permit before operating an ATV on any public land.
  • ATVs owned by the government or used exclusively on private lands and organized track racing events do not require registration.
  • Every registered ATV should have a decal or license plate fixed on its body part where it is visible to all.
  • The operation of ATVs on the streets, highways, roadways, or the shoulder of any road is only allowed in emergency cases.

Where Can You Ride An ATV In North Dakota

Although North Dakota is small, it does not mean there are no areas and trails suitable for ATV riding. This state is known for its beautiful landscape and nature; it also has several hills, valleys, and lakes. There are quite some places to ride an ATV in North Dakota.

Roughrider OHV Trail

Roughrider OHV Trail used to be an old railroad bed alongside the Missouri River; however, it is now a 16 miles OHV trail. It is open all year round, and the terrain mostly consists of gravel, water crossings, and a few rocks. However, when it rains or during a spring thaw, this area is usually very muddy.

This OHV trail is a very popular one and is usually crowded during the summer and fall. A campground is also available at Roughrider OHV Trail; campers have enough facilities like parking space, telephones, restrooms, and water. The only vehicles permitted at this trail are Dirt bikes, ATVs, Motorcycles, SXSs, and UTVs.

All vehicles at this OHV trail must have an end cap or a spark arrestor and must not exceed 55 inches in width. There is no fee for entry and riding at this park. Before you can ride at this OHV area, you must have a North Dakota trail access permit.

Airborne Alley MX Park

Airborne Alley MX Park is an MX track in North Dakota, also known as the Pembina MX track. It is open all year round; however, the park is usually closed to the public if there is flooding. The terrain of this MX park consists of berms, large jumps, trees, rocks, small jumps, dust, mud, loose dirt, sand, and hardpack.

Motorcycles, ATVs, and Dirt bikes are the only off-road vehicles permitted at this MX park; others like Jeeps, UTVs, SXSs, Dune buggies, and SUVs are prohibited. You do not require a permit to ride at this park. All vehicles at this park are expected to have an end cap or a spark arrestor installed.

Parking and entry into this park are free; however, riding costs $10 per rider. However, you can also pay $35 yearly as a rider while family costs $60 yearly. These fees are paid at the city office.

Turtle Mountain State Recreation Area

Turtle Mountain State Recreation Area provides 12 miles of designated ATV trail and has single-track trails available for novice riders. The trails go through deep wood forests, hilly terrains, and open prairies. This recreation area is open to SXSs, ATVs, Motorcycles, UTVs, and dirt bikes; however, hikers are also allowed.

This recreation area is located at Sjule Road, Bottineau, North Dakota 58318. There are no fees for entry, parking, and riding in this area. All vehicles in this area are expected to always stay on the trail and have a spark arrestor exhaust silencer or an end cap. A staging area is available at Turtle Mountain State Recreation Area; it has space for trailers.

This recreation area is open all year round. SUVs, Dune buggies, Jeeps, and Sandrail 4×4 are the off-road vehicles prohibited in this recreation area. You must have a North Dakota Trail Access before you can ride at Turtle Mountain State Recreation Area.

guy jumps on muddy road with atv

Kimball Bottoms OHV Area

Kimball Bottoms OHV Area has over 400 acres of play areas, trails, and sand bars. It borders the Missouri River. There are a couple of islands accessible in the area as long as the water level is low. This OHV area is not only open to off-road riding, but boating, fishing, and swimming are also permitted.

Vehicles allowed at Kimball Bottoms OHV Area are ATVs, SXSs, Dirt Bikes, Motorcycles, SUVs, Sandrail 4x4s, Jeeps, Dune buggies, and UTVs. Primitive camping is permitted in this area; there are many primitive sites where you can camp. This area is open all year round.

There are no fees and passes required for entry, riding, parking, and camping in this area. Children below 18 are required to always ride with an MX helmet on. A North Dakota trail access permit is required to ride in this area; vehicles must also have a spark arrestor or end cap.

Where Can’t You Ride An ATV In North Dakota?

ATVs are not permitted on public streets in North Dakota. It is against the law to ride and operate an ATV on the roadway, shoulder, inside bank, or slope of any street, highway, or road in North Dakota except during emergencies. Eagle Ridge Motorcycle Club also prohibits ATVs and other off-road vehicles except for motorcycles and dirt bikes.

Turtle River Motocross Park is another park in North Dakota that does not allow ATVs. The only time an ATV is permitted at this park is on Sundays; every other day, an ATV is not allowed. Riding an ATV where it is prohibited is illegal, and by doing so, your ATV might be collected from you, and you might be asked to pay a hefty fine.

Final Thoughts

North Dakota is also known as the peace garden state. This state is one of the best places to explore with an ATV. However, you must be careful to ride your ATV in designated areas only. In these areas, you will meet and interact with other ATV riders and have fun.

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.