Pennsylvania ATV Laws: Where & How To Ride Your ATV Legally

pennsylvania atv laws

Pennsylvania is one of the largest and most populated states in the United States; it is the 33rd largest and 5th most populated state. This state is widely known for its abundance of parks; there are several places where you can ride your ATV and enjoy the sights. We will be discussing the laws regulating ATV operations in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania ATV laws state that all ATVs must be registered and titled; registration must be renewed every two years. ATVs are not allowed to operate on public roads. You can ride your ATV in Allegheny National Forest ATV Trails, Bayview OHV Area, Rock Run Recreation Area, and East Kettle ATV Trail. 

There are ATV laws that you must obey if you are going to ride and operate an ATV in Pennsylvania. Violation of these laws can put you in trouble with the law. We will study some of the ATV laws of Pennsylvania.

pennsylvania concrete arch in city hall

Pennsylvania ATV Laws

ATVs are defined as motorized off-highway vehicles with a maximum dry weight of 1200 pounds and a maximum width of 50 inches; these ATVs are regarded as Class I ATVs, while those that exceed these measurements are known as Class II ATVs. Below are the Pennsylvania ATV laws:

  • All ATVs are prohibited from operating on public roads, highways, and streets; ATVs should operate only in designated ATV areas.
  • You can ride your ATV on specific roads and highways in a city, town, or county that the governing authority approves.
  • It is illegal to operate an ATV on private property without the consent or approval of the property owner.
  • An ATV can cross two-lane highways and public streets; however, it should be done at a place free from obstruction and at a 90-degree angle to the direction of the highway or street.
  • ATVs crossing a two-lane highway must be done at an intersection between the highway and another road.
  • You can operate an ATV on public roads only when the government has declared a public emergency.
  • All ATVs in Pennsylvania must be titled and registered with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
  • If an ATV is used exclusively for farming or business vehicles, registration and titling are not required.
  • Non-residents in Pennsylvania who own an ATV will have to register their ATV in Pennsylvania before operating it, as out-of-state registration is not valid in Pennsylvania.
  • Every ATV operator must have liability insurance and should always carry it during every ATV operation.
  • It is compulsory that all ATV riders must always put on a helmet when operating an ATV.
  • ATVs are required to have a functioning brake system and a muffler.

Where Can You Ride An ATV In Pennsylvania?

There are several trails and parks suitable for ATV riding in Pennsylvania because the state has a variety of landscapes, ridges, mountains, and hills. Riding an ATV in this state provides an opportunity to explore different places and see the sights.

Allegheny National Forest ATV Trails

Allegheny National Forest ATV Trails is a part of the Allegheny National Forest; it has more than 100 miles of ATV trails. To the south of this national forest is a 76-mile trail system, and there are amenities like food, fuel, and lodging. The northern part of this area has over 20 miles of ATV and bike trails.

The vehicles allowed on these ATV trails are motorcycles, ATVs, and dirt bikes. ATVs in this national forest must not exceed 64 inches in width. The trails in the southern area are Marienville ATV and OHM trail, Penoke Off-Highway Motorcycles and ATV trail, and Timberline ATV and OHM trail.

The trail system in the northern area is Rocky Gap ATV and Mountain Bike Trail, and Willow Creek ATV and Mountain Bike Trail. The trials at Allegheny National Forest ATV Trails range from novice level to expert level.

Bayview OHV Area

Bayview OHV Area is open from Memorial Day weekend till September ends. It has more than 200 acres of ATV trails, mud holes, and hill climbs. The trails are easy and suitable for beginners, but there are also some rugged and challenging terrains for expert riders who want a little adventure.

This OHV area is open for riding only during the day; hence, night riding and overnight parking are not allowed. The only off-road vehicles allowed at Bayview OHV Area are ATVs, SXSs, motorcycles, UTVs, and dirt bikes. The vehicles must not exceed 70 inches in width. Camping and campfires are prohibited in this area.

The terrain in this area consists of loose dirt, small jumps, steep hills, hardpack, trees, rocks, dust, and mud. Entry, riding, and parking at Bayview OHV Area do not require any fee. You do not need a permit to operate your ATV in this area.

Rock Run Recreation Area

Rock Run Recreation Area used to be owned by a coal company; however, in 2007, it was converted to a recreation area. It is now a 140-mile ATV and motorcycle trail that is open from April to October 31. A permit is not required to operate a vehicle in this area unless the vehicle is not registered with Pennsylvania.

Motorcycles, jeeps, dirt bikes, sand rail 4x4s, ATVs, dune buggies, SXSs, UTVs, and SUVs are all permitted at Rock Run Recreation Area. Night riding is not allowed in this area. Individuals ages 16 and above are required to have photo identification to gain entry into this recreation area.

Entry into this area costs $14 per person; however, children aged 12 and below are allowed without payment. Riding in this recreational area costs $20 per rider; however, discounts are available on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

atv in the country side in PA

East Kettle ATV Trail

East Kettle ATV Trail is located at Bald Eagle State Forest; it is open from the Friday before Memorial Day until September’s last weekend. This ATV trail offers 16 miles of trails that go through a mixed hardwood forest. The terrain mostly consists of hardpack, loose dirt, trees, rocks, dust, mud, and sand.

All vehicles allowed in this area must not exceed 58 inches in width, and they must have an end cap or spark arrestor exhaust silencer installed. The vehicles allowed at East Kettle ATV Trail are ATVs, SXSs, and UTVs; other vehicles like motorcycles, dirt bikes, SUVs, Jeeps, Dune buggies, and sand rail 4x4s are prohibited.

You do not need to pay any fee to enter, ride, or park on this ATV trail. Primitive camping is allowed in this area; however, you must have a permit. All vehicles allowed in this area are required to be registered.

Where Can’t You Ride An ATV In Pennsylvania?

According to the ATV laws in Pennsylvania, it is illegal to ride an ATV on any public road, highway, or street except to cross. It is also illegal to ride an ATV on state property that is not designated for ATV use. You cannot ride an ATV in an area that is specially meant for wildlife.

Aside from the major state laws, some areas prohibit ATVs and do not allow them entry for different reasons. Those areas are Dutchmen MX Park, High Point Raceway, Blue Comet Motorcycle Club, Hill Side Riding Club, Creekside MX, Happy Ramblers Motorcycle Club, Pagoda Motorcycle Club, Rausch Creek Off-road Park, and Seven Mountains Ramble Trail.

Final Thoughts

Riding an ATV does not only provide fun and excitement, but it also gives you the chance to explore the area you are riding in and view different sights and attractions. In Pennsylvania, you must obey all the ATV laws and ride your ATV in a designated area only.

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.