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

oregon atv laws

Oregon is the 9th largest and the 27th most populous state in the United States; it is the most geographically diverse state. It is filled with several bodies of water, volcanoes, dense evergreen and mixed forests, semi-arid shrubland, and high deserts.

Oregon ATV laws include: all ATV riders must possess an ATV safety education card, and all ATVs must display a sticker before being operated. You can ride your ATV on Blue Mountain OHV Trails, Jordan Creek, McCoy Motorized Recreation Area, and Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.

Oregon has more than 54 designated trail systems for off-road riding; you can ride in open deserts, mountain trails, and dunes. The operation of ATVs is very popular in Oregon. In this blog post, we will discuss Oregon’s ATV laws and the legal designated ATV trails in the state.

oregon state flag

Oregon ATV Laws

In Oregon, there are four types of ATVs; Class 1 ATVs: quads, four-wheelers, and 3-wheelers. Class 2 ATVs are SUVs, rock crawl vehicles, sand rails, jeeps, and pickup trucks, Class 3 ATVs are motorcycles, and Class 4 ATVs are Side by Side.

Class 1 ATVs are 50 inches wide or less, have a dry weight of 1200 pounds or less, have a seat designed for the operator, use 3 or more pneumatic tires, and are controlled by handlebars. Class 2 ATVs are vehicles weighing more than 1200 pounds and wider than 50 inches, and are designed for cross-country travel on sand, land, snow, ice, swampland, water, marsh, and other natural terrains. They are operated for off-highway use only.

Class 3 ATVs are mostly dirt bikes; they are vehicles that travel on two tires. Class 4 ATVs are UTVs, vehicles with a width of at most 65 inches and a dry weight of 1800 pounds or less, a non-straddle seat, steering wheels, and travels of 4 or more pneumatic tires.

Oregon ATV Laws

  • All Class 1 ATVs should be operated after the operator has obtained an ATV operating permit; the permit costs $10 and must be renewed every 2 years.
  • You must have a driver’s license or instruction driver’s permit before operating any Class 2 or Class 4 ATV.
  • Children below the age of 18 must always wear a DOT-approved helmet when riding an ATV.
  • All ATVs must be equipped with a muffler that limits the noise level to 67 decibels.
  • Before operating an ATV, Class 1 and Class 3 ATV operators must have an OPRD ATV Safety Education Card.
  • Anyone with a suspended or revoked driver’s license should not operate an ATV of any class.
  • Class 2 and 3 ATVs are required to be titled and registered before they are operated.
  • All Class 2 ATVs must have liability insurance.
  • Non-residents do not need to obtain an ATV safety education card before operating their ATV if registered in another state recognized by Oregon.
  • Children below age 16 must be supervised by an adult when they are riding an ATV.
  • All ATVs operated in Oregon must have a USFS approved spark arrestor and functioning brakes.
  • If you are operating your ATV after sunset, you must equip it with a headlight and taillights, which must be illuminated during the period of operation.
  • You cannot ride your ATV on the streets, public roads, and wilderness areas.

Where Can You Ride An ATV In Oregon?

Oregon is a big state with various sites and attractions. There are several places to ride an ATV in Oregon, such as beaches, sandy areas, deserts, forests, and other designated trails. Let us look at some of the best places to ride an ATV.

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is open all year round from 6 am till 10 pm daily. An Oregon ATV permit sticker is required to ride any vehicle in this area. The vehicles permitted include motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATVs, UTVs, SXSs, 4X4S, Jeeps, dune buggies, and sand rail 4x4s. Night riding is not allowed in this area.

All vehicles entering this recreation area must have an end cap or a spark arrestor exhaust silencer and a whip flag attached. The noise limit is 99 decibels in this area. Camping and campfires are permitted in certain areas in Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Parking in this area costs $5; however, there are no fees for entry and riding.

Blue Mountain OHV Trails

Blue Mountain OHV Trails is a part of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest; it has a main trail about 50 miles long. This trail has three campgrounds with direct access to the trails; the campground at this southern part has a good fishing area and hiking trail. Trailblazing is prohibited at this OHV trail.

The vehicles allowed at Blue Mountain OHV Trails are ATVs, motorcycles, dirt bikes, UTVs, and SXSs. Others like 4x4s, dune buggies, jeeps, and sand rail 4x4s are prohibited. The terrain at this trail consists of loose dirt, steep hills, water crossings, berms, sand and gravel pits, hardpack, dust, mud, and rocks.

McCoy Motorized Recreation Area

McCoy Motorized Recreation Area is a part of Willamette National Forest; there are about 50 miles of trail for off-road vehicles. The vehicles permitted are sand rail 4x4s, dune buggies, Jeeps, 4x4s, SXSs, UTVs, ATVs, dirt bikes, and motorcycles. It is open all year round to all vehicles; during the winter season, snowmobiles are also allowed.

The noise limit in this area is 99 decibels. Camping is permitted in some areas. When riding in this area, you will have an incredible view of Mt. Jefferson and Cascade Mountain Range.

The terrain at this recreation area consists of loose dirt, hardpack, steep hills, trees, rocks, dust, and mud. It is mostly suitable for novice riders. Your vehicle must have an Oregon ATV permit sticker attached before it will be allowed into this area. Night riding and trailblazing are prohibited.

atv riding in sand

Jordan Creek

Jordan Creek is open all year round except during the fire season; the trail is mostly suitable for experienced riders. Most of the terrain is difficult; the trails are narrow, steep, and one way down with sharp cutbacks. The terrain consists of steep hills, trees, sand or gravel pits, berms, large jumps, small jumps, water crossings, rocks, dust, mud, loose dirt, and hardpack.

The vehicles allowed at Jordan Creek are dirt bikes, Jeeps, UTVs, motorcycles, ATVs, 4X4s, and SXSs. Dune buggies and sand rail 4x4s are prohibited. All vehicles must have a spark arrestor and must not exceed the noise limit of 99 decibels. Night riding and trailblazing are prohibited. You must get an Oregon ATV permit sticker for your vehicle before you can ride it in this area.

Where Can’t You Ride An ATV In Oregon?

One of the most important things that make any ATV operation legal is operating in a designated location. Riding an ATV in a prohibited area has its consequences; you might be heavily fined, you can have your driver’s license suspended, or your vehicle can be seized.

You cannot ride your ATV on the streets, a public road, or a highway in Oregon. It is illegal to ride your ATV on a paved road or a two-lane gravel road closed to ATV use. You cannot ride your ATV in wilderness areas also.

Final Thoughts

If you are lucky to own an ATV or your option is to rent an ATV, there is something you should know before you set out to ride the ATV. You must know the ATV laws of the state you reside in. It is also imperative to know the designated trails to ride an ATV. In most states, violating an ATV law is synonymous with violating other state laws, with unpleasant consequences. Learn the ATV laws and have run riding.

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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