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

virginia atv laws

Virginia is a southeastern state in the United States. It is the 35th largest state and is located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. There are several national and state parks, beaches, mountains, and forests in this state.

Virginia ATV laws include: ATVs are prohibited on public highways and private property unless authorized by the proper authorities. Children between the ages of 12 and 16 should operate an ATV with an engine of 90 cc. You can ride your ATV in Coal Canyon, Pine Lane ATV Trails, and Stone Mountain. 

ATV riding is one of the best recreational activities to engage in with friends and families; however, it can also be considered dangerous. In this article, we will be discussing the ATV laws in Virginia and the places where ATV operations are allowed and illegal.

welcome to virginia sign

Virginia ATV Laws

In Virginia, an ATV or an all-terrain vehicle is classified as any motor vehicle with three or more wheels, powered by a motor, and designed for off-highway use. Due to the popularity of ATVs in Virginia, there are several ATV laws that are strictly enforced. Below are the ATV laws in Virginia.

  • ATVs powered by diesel or gasoline and have an engine with a displacement of more than 50 cubic centimeters must be titled before they are operated in Virginia.
  • You must not operate an ATV on any public highway without getting authorization from the authorities.
  • You can cross a public highway with an ATV.
  • Only firefighters, law-enforcement officers, and emergency medical services personnel can operate an ATV on a public highway during emergencies.
  • Children below 12 years can only operate an ATV with an engine displacement that does not exceed 70 cubic centimeters.
  • Children between ages 12 and 16 can operate an ATV with an engine displacement of no more than 90 cubic centimeters.
  • You must not operate an ATV on private property unless you have the property owner’s written consent.
  • All ATV riders are required to wear a protective helmet approved by the State Police Superintendent when riding.
  • It is illegal to carry a passenger on an ATV not designed or equipped for passengers.
  • Registration of an ATV in Virginia is not necessary or required.
  • You can operate an ATV on public highways in Buchanan County as long as there is a sign that says such highway is open to ATVs and the operation takes place during daylight.
  • When riding an ATV on a public highway in Buchanan County, you must not exceed the speed of 25 mph.
  • Children below age 16 must not operate a full-sized ATV.
  • ATVs used solely for farming purposes or operated only on private land are not subject to ATV laws.

Where Can You Ride An ATV In Virginia?

If you are an enthusiastic ATV rider with an unquenchable taste for good off-road areas and trails, Virginia is a state you should visit with your ATV. The trails in this state are located in the forests and mountains scattered all over this state.

There are several trails that are suitable for riders of all levels. Let us take a look at some of the places you can ride an ATV in Virginia.

Mountain View Spearhead Trails

Mountain View Spearhead Trails was open to the public in June 2013 and offers over 100 miles of trails. It is a multiple-use trail system open to SXSs, dirt bikes, ATVs, UTVs, and motorcycles. Other off-road vehicles like Jeeps, sand rail 4x4s, SUVs, and dune buggies are prohibited. The trails are marked and rated.

The trails in this area offer a scenic mountain view and direct access to dining and lodging facilities. All riders and passengers are required to have a Spearhead Trails User Permit Sticker. This trail is open all year round daily from sunrise till sunset; night riding is not allowed. Camping and campfires are prohibited on this trail.

All vehicles in this area must have a spark arrestor before they can be allowed. There are no fees for entry and parking at this trial; however, every rider is required to pay $30 to ride. The terrain at this trail consists of loose dirt, hard pack, mud, dust, rocks, steep hills, and water crossings.

Coal Canyon

Coal Canyon offers about 127 miles of trails for off-road vehicles; the trails are mostly hard-packed with slight elevation changes and form a long loop. It is open daily from sunrise to sunset; night riding is not allowed. A visitor center that provides a gift shop, banquet rooms, observation decks, event rooms, and an office is also available.

The vehicles allowed at Coal Canyon are ATVs, dirt bikes, UTVs, SXSs, and motorcycles. All riders are required to wear a helmet when riding. Campfires and camping are not allowed. Riding in this area costs $30 per rider. The terrain in this area consists of steep hills, trees, rocks, dust, mud, hardpack, and loose dirt. Vehicles are required to have a spark arrestor.

Pine Lane ATV Trails

Pine Lane ATV Trails is an off-road park with 20 miles of trails, a snorkel pit, and two mud pits. It is open during the weekends from 9 am till 9 pm and has ponds for visitors to swim in. The terrain at this trail is mostly muddy but also contains loose dirt, hard pack, sand, rocks, trees, small jumps, and water crossings.

There are no fees for entry or parking at this trail; however, there is a compulsory fee of $10 for all ATV riders. The off-road vehicles allowed at this trail are motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATVs, UTVs, SXSs, SUVs, jeeps, dune buggies, and sand rail 4x4s. Night riding is prohibited at this trail.

Vehicles are not required to have a spark arrestor before they can be operated at this trail. Camping is permitted in all areas at this trail. A concession stand is available; BBQ, water, nachos, cold drinks, and hotdogs are available.

father and son ride atv

Stone Mountain

Stone Mountain offers a trail system that is about 34 miles long and mostly suitable for experienced riders. It was open to the public in October 2015 and is open all year round daily from sunrise to sunset. All vehicles entering this area must have either an end cap or a spark arrestor exhaust silencer. Night riding is prohibited on this trail.

Riding at this trail costs $30 per rider; however, there is no fee for entry or parking. The vehicles permitted at this trail are ATVs, dirt bikes, SXSs, motorcycles, and UTVs. Other off-road vehicles like jeeps, dune buggies, sand rail 4x4s, and SUVs are prohibited. All riders are required to wear a helmet when riding. Camping is prohibited in this area.

Where Can’t You Ride An ATV In Virginia?

As long as you intend to go ATV riding, it is imperative to know the designated areas for ATVs, as well as the areas where ATV operations are not allowed. In Virginia, it is prohibited to operate an ATV on any public highway, street, and road without the permission of an authorized government officer.

Final Thoughts

ATV riding is a fun and exciting off-road activity; however, there is no fun in operating in illegal places or violating any laws. This will only place you on the radar of law enforcement officers. Moreover, every plan to have a good time riding ATVs will be cut short when this happens.

It is essential that you are knowledgeable before you venture into any activity. So, it would be best if you endeavored to learn the ATV laws of the state you want to ride in and the places where ATV operations are legal. One good tip, stay clear of all prohibited areas.

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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