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

tennessee atv laws

Tennessee is famous for its natural landscape and sights; it is a landlocked state and the 36th largest state in the U.S. North Carolina borders it to the east, Arkansas to the southwest, Virginia to the northeast, Kentucky to the north, Missouri to the northwest, and Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi to the south.

Tennessee ATV laws include: all ATVs must be titled, all ATV riders must always put on a helmet, and ATVs are not allowed on highways. You can ride your ATV in Brimstone Recreation, Windrock Park, Prentice Cooper State Forest, and Adventure Off-Road Park. 

ATVs are one of the best off-road vehicles to ride; riding an ATV provides an adrenaline rush that is quite thrilling and exciting. However, before you ride an ATV in any state in the United States, you must know the ATV laws of that state.

tennessee welcome sign

Tennessee ATV Laws

The best way to explore off-road trails is by riding an ATV. However, you will have to be careful so that you do not get injured and unintentionally break any law.

Tennessee defines ATVs as motorized off-highway vehicles weighing 1,500 pounds or less, having an engine displacement of 1000 cubic centimeters, and 4 to 6 non-highway tires. Below are Tennessee ATV laws:

  • All ATV owners must obtain a certificate of title for their ATV and get a special identification plate that verifies the possession of the certificate of title.
  • The special identification plate of an ATV is not transferable, so if you want to sell your ATV, the new owner must get his special identification plate.
  • ATVs in Tennessee do not require registration.
  • An ATV should not operate on a highway except to cross a two-lane highway which should be at an angle of 90 degrees, or if the ATV is being used for agricultural purposes.
  • It is unlawful to operate an ATV under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • ATVs operated on public lands must be equipped with a good and functioning muffler system.
  • All ATVs are expected to have headlights and tail lamps which must be illuminated when riding at all times.
  • ATVs operators and passengers must always wear a helmet when riding on a street, highway, or road.
  • Non-residents of Tennessee who own ATVs do not need a certificate of title as long as they have a valid out-of-state certificate of title or if the ATV has been registered in their state of residence.
  • ATVs are prohibited from state parks.
  • ATVs should only be operated from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
  • It is highly illegal to cause any form of damage to natural resources on state forests with an ATV.
  • You must not operate an ATV on someone else’s land without receiving approval from the landowner or the person in charge of that land.

Where Can You Ride An ATV In Tennessee?

Tennessee is a very large state and has various places and areas where you can ride an ATV. Riding an ATV in a place where other ATV riders are is more fun than riding all by yourself. These ATV destinations are popular and have different types of trails ranging from easy to challenging, so the chances of having much fun with your ATV in these areas are very high.

Brimstone Recreation

Brimstone Recreation is one of the premier areas for ATV riding; it is open from Sunday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, while on Saturdays, it is open from 8 am to 5 pm. The trails at this area are marked, and there are varieties of terrain ranging from steep hill climbs, easy logging roads, scattered mud bogs, rocky and rutted ATV trails, and some shallow water crossings.

A permit is required to ride in this recreational area; the permit can be obtained from the office along with maps, riding gear, and other accessories. ATVs, SXSs, UTVs, Dirt bikes, and Motorcycles are permitted at Brimstone Recreation, while SUVs, Dune buggies, Jeeps, and Sandrail 4x4s are prohibited.

A campground is available in this area, and campfires are allowed. All riders are always expected to put on an MX helmet while riding. Every rider at Brimstone Recreation is expected to pay a fee of $28 before they can get access to ride their vehicle. A camping tent is available for $20.

Prentice Cooper State Forest

Prentice Cooper State Forest is open from March 15 to December 19; it offers many miles of trails forming a long loop. Riding in these areas provides you with a great view of Tennessee. The trails are quite wide, have light elevation changes, and mostly consist of hard-packed dirt. Some areas are rugged and have obstacles and some loose chunks of rocks to keep the riding interesting.

There are two campgrounds in this area, and campfires are allowed. The riding hours are from sunrise to sunset; night riding is prohibited. The trails at this area are rated from easy to moderate and are open to vehicles like ATVs, Motorcycles, SUVs, UTVs, Dirt bikes, Dune buggies, Jeeps, and SXSs.

Adventure Off-Road Park

Adventure Off-Road Park is the most popular off-road park where you can ride an ATV in Tennessee. It is a 500-acre park that provides more than 120 miles of designated and marked trails for off-road vehicles. Motorcycles, Dune buggies, Dirt bikes, Jeeps, ATVs, SUVs, SXSs, and UTVs, are all allowed at this off-road park.

This off-road park trail ranges from mud pits, rugged and steep hill climbs, artificial obstacle courses, and rock gardens. A motocross track is also available at this park. Entry into Adventure Off-Road Park costs $20 per person; upon entry, trail maps are provided.

Camping at Adventure Off-Road Park is allowed, and there are areas for trailers and tents. Campfires are also allowed. This off-road park is open only from Friday to Sunday; however, you can also book an appointment to ride during weekdays.

atv buggies in muddy road

Windrock Park

Windrock Park is one of the parks that provides ATV riders with the best off-roading experience. It has more than 300 miles of trails ranging from easy gravel roads to extreme rock crawls. This park is open all year round, and a land-use permit is required for riding in this area.

All off-road vehicles are allowed, and a campground is also available. The campground has some designated tent sites and fully furnished cabins for renting. Entry to Windrock Park costs $25.51 per person, while a camp tent costs $16. This park is also known as Coal Creek OHV Area.

Where Can’t You Ride An ATV In Tennessee?

In Tennessee, you cannot ride your ATV in every place; there are some places where ATVs are not allowed. The state enforces some laws on where you cannot ride your ATV; however, the management team of some of these areas does not allow ATVs.

The state law prohibits ATVs from public roads, highways, and streets. Riding an ATV in a state park is also forbidden. ATVs are also not allowed at the Unicoi Motorcycle Trail and Smith Mountain Trail for special reasons.

Riding your ATV in these areas where they are not allowed can attract punishments like you may be fined, or law enforcement agents can confiscate your ATV.

Final Thoughts

You should be able to enjoy an ATV ride with your friends and families; however, you can only fully enjoy and test an ATV’s power by riding in rough and rugged terrain with different obstacle courses. Riding an ATV in any of the areas mentioned will provide you with an amazing experience. However, it would be best to always remember to obey the ATV laws in Tennessee while riding your ATV.

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.