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

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

Americans know that Washington is different from Washington DC, but citizens of other countries may not be aware of that. Washington is the 13th most populous and the 18th largest state in the United States. More population and landmass mean more destinations for ATV operations.

Washington ATV law includes: all ATVs can be operated only when the operator has gotten an ORV use permit, and the off-road vehicle must display a current ORV tag. You can operate an ATV legally in Liberty Lake ORV Park, Owl Mountain Trail, and the High Lakes and Blue Lake Trail System. 

You need to know two vital things as an ATV rider before participating in any ATV operation; the ATV laws of the state you are in and the designated places for ATV operations. Knowledge of these will make you conduct your ATV operations legally.

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Washington ATV Laws

Washington classifies ATVs as motorized non-highway vehicles used for recreational purposes on non-highway roads, trails, and other natural terrains. Vehicles classified as ATVs in Washington are usually 50 inches or less in width, have a seat height of 20 inches or more, have 4 tires, and weigh less than 1500 pounds. Below are Washington ATV laws:

  • You can operate an ATV on public roadways as long as you are driving under the speed limit of 35 mph.
  • It is illegal to operate an ATV on a state highway when it is not specifically listed as open to ATVs.
  • The operation of ATVs on highways should be conducted only when the highway is within the limits of a town or city.
  • It is against the laws to operate an ATV on a public highway within the boundaries of a county.
  • All ATVs operating in Washington state must be registered and titled; registration must occur within 15 days of purchasing the ATV.
  • A metal tag must be displayed at the rear end of every ATV operating in Washington; the metal tag must be renewed every seven years for $2.00.
  • Before operating an ATV on any public roadway in Washington, you must have a valid driver's license and a current and proper on-road vehicle registration.
  • ATVs used for agricultural purposes, owned or operated by the government, used for emergencies, and owned by a non-resident do not require registration.
  • Before you operate your ATV on private property, you must obtain permission from the landowner.
  • You can operate your ATV on the streets in Washington; however, you must make some modifications to make your ATV street legal.
  • Children under 13 should always have adult supervision when riding an ATV; however, the adult must have a valid driver's license.
  • It is illegal to operate an ATV under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances.

Where Can You Ride An ATV In Washington?

Washington is such a large state with lots of wide-open spaces, national forests, and mountains that provides ATV riders with an endless off-road adventure regardless of their skill level. There are many off-road trails for ATV riders in Washington; some of these trails will be listed below. These trails all have different types of trails for experienced riders and beginner riders.

Liberty Lake ORV Park

Liberty Lake ORV Park has a 16-mile trail open all year round but may close temporarily during the fire season, usually around August or September. The only vehicles permitted at this park are ATVs, Motorcycles, and Dirt bikes; others like SXSs, UTVs, Jeeps, and Dune buggies are prohibited.

Camping and overnight parking are also prohibited in this park. All vehicles gaining entry into this area must have a spark arrestor exhaust silencer or end cap and must not exceed the noise limit of 105 decibels. The trails at this ORV park are mostly hardpack and consist of loose dirt, trees, mud, berms, steep hills, rocks, dust, and small jumps.

Owl Mountain Trail

Owl Mountain Trail is situated close to the Canadian and Washington border; it is 7 miles long and provides several scenic views of creeks, deep wood vegetation, and mountains. It is open all year round and accommodates vehicles like ATVs, Motorcycles, UTVs, SXSs, and Dirt bikes.

The trail is a mixture of hardpack and rugged sections; it also has moderate and steep hills, rocky climbs, and many trees. It would take at least 3 to 4 hours to complete the trail. The maximum vehicle width at this trail is 64 inches, and all vehicles must have an end cap or a spark arrestor exhaust silencer. All riders on Owl Mountain Trail are required to always stay on the trail while riding.

High Lakes and Blue Lake Trail System

High Lakes and Blue Lake Trail System has over 150 miles of trails geared for experienced and beginner riders. It is open from April till November, and a WA ORV Tab is required to ride on this trail system. There are no fees and passes for entry, parking, or riding in this area.

Due to how large this trail system is, it has several campgrounds that provide direct access to the trails. The noise limit at this trail system is 105 decibels, while vehicles exceeding 50 inches in width will not be allowed to operate in the park.

The vehicles allowed at this trail system are Motorcycles, Dirt bikes, ATVs, SXSs, and UTVs; others like Jeeps, Dune buggies, 4x4s, and Sandrail 4x4s are prohibited. All vehicles at High Lakes and Blue Lake Trail System must have a spark arrestor.

Where Can’t You Ride An ATV In Washington?

Riding an ATV on public roadways and highways is allowed under some circumstances; however, you cannot ride an ATV on any public roadway or highway if you are not in any of those situations. This prohibition is under the ATV laws in Washington.

There are other trails and areas where ATVs are prohibited in Washington. These areas are Ward Creek MX, Ridge MX, Foggy Dew Trail System, Washougal MX Park, Miller Peak, Batey Bould Motorcycle Trails, Whidbey Island MX LLC, Pacific Raceways MX, Woodland Motocross Park, Riverdale Raceway, and Oak Harbor MX. These areas do not allow ATVs to gain entry as they are not designed for ATV operations.

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Can You Ride ATVs On The Streets In Washington?

Yes, you can ride your ATV on the streets of Washington; however, you will have to make your ATV street legal before operating it on the streets. To make your ATV street legal, you must add some modifications to your ATV. These changes are:

  • You should add a headlamp, tail lamp, and stop lamp to your ATV.
  • You must have a functioning brake system, a muffler, and a spark arrestor.
  • Add reflectors, mirrors, and turn signals to your ATV.
  • Install a horn and a windshield on your ATV.

Once you have installed these modifications to your ATV, you will have to take it to a licensed Washington ATV dealer or repair shop for inspection. Once your ATV meets all requirements, you can operate on the streets.

Before you can ride your ATV on the streets, you must possess a valid driver's license and receive both an on-road and off-road tag during the registration of the ATV.

Final Thoughts

As an ATV rider in Washington state, you must always obey all the ATV laws and ride in designated trails only. If you want to ride your ATV on the streets, make sure you add the necessary modifications to your ATV.

Never perform any illegal activities with your ATV and always stick to the rules; you will be sure to have a good time riding your ATV. It will be sad if you have your ATV confiscated or you face a more severe penalty for violating ATV laws during operation.

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