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

wisconsin atv laws

Wisconsin, a state in the upper midwestern United States, is bordered by Lake Superior to the north, Illinois to the south, Minnesota to the west, Lake Michigan to the east. There are many trails, parks, recreation areas, and OHV areas in Wisconsin where you can enjoy ATV riding.

Wisconsin ATV laws include: all ATVs operated on public lands must be registered within 10 days after purchase. Children above age 11 must have a valid ATV safety certificate before operating an ATV. You can ride your ATV in Georgetown Trail, Riverview ATV Park, and Tigerton OHV Park.

Most ATV laws in Wisconsin are strictly enforced by the authorities. Violation of these laws have consequences; hence, it is best to always comply with them. We will be discussing the ATV laws in Wisconsin and the best ATV destinations in the state.

winsconsin welcomes you wooden structure

Wisconsin ATV Laws

Wisconsin views ATVs as commercially designed and manufactured motor-driven devices with a dry weight of 900 pounds or less, a width of 50 inches or less, 3 or more low-pressure tires, and a seat designed for the operator.

Wisconsin also defines a category of ATVs as small ATVs; they are ATVs with four wheels and have an engine of 130 cubic centimeters or less. Below are Wisconsin ATV laws:

  • If you plan to operate your ATV on any public land in Wisconsin, you must register the ATV. After registration, you will receive two registration decals, which must be displayed on each side of your ATV.
  • If your ATV is used for agricultural purposes, you can register it for private use; registration costs $15.
  • Once your ATV has been registered, you are expected to attach a license plate to the rear of the ATV, except the registration is private.
  • The license plate of an ATV must be at least 71/2 inches wide and 4 inches high; it must be white and display the four numbers and two-letter registration ID in black characters.
  • Non-residents of Wisconsin are expected to have a valid public use registration for their ATV or a non-resident trail pass.
  • Children above age 11 must have a valid safety certificate issued by a province or state before operating an ATV.
  • Recreational Off-highway Vehicle Association certificate and ATV Safety Institute certificate are not valid in Wisconsin; the only valid certificate is obtained after completing an online or classroom course.
  • ATV riders between the ages of 12 and 15 require adult supervision throughout their ATV operations.
  • ATV operators below the age of 18 must always put on a DOT ATV or motorcycle helmet while operating an ATV.
  • ATVs can be operated on roadways only when transporting farm equipment, implements, supplies, or products.
  • It is illegal to operate an ATV on public roads and highways that are not designated as routes in Wisconsin.
  • ATVs should not be operated in the dark without lighted headlights and tail lamps.

Where Can You Ride An ATV In Wisconsin?

Most ATV trails in Wisconsin are located on county-owned lands, while some are on state and federal lands. There are different ATV trails and routes scattered all across Wisconsin. These trails are identified by small brown signs and orange blazer signs. You can decide to go ATV riding in any of these places.

Georgetown Trail

Georgetown Trail, also known as Old Mill Creek, is a part of the Price County Forest. It has about 16 miles of ATV trails which have two separate staging areas. The terrain is mostly hard packed; however, it also consists of loose dirt, shades, and trees. There are a few challenging sections on the trails.

It is open from May to March 14; riding an ATV at this trail requires a WI ATV permit, and your ATV must not exceed 65 inches in width. All vehicles in this area are expected to have either an end cap or a spark arrestor exhaust silencer. The vehicles allowed at Georgetown Trail are SXSs, ATVs, Dirt bikes, UTVs, and Motorcycles.

Riverview ATV Park

Riverview ATV Park is 287 acres of land that offers 20 miles of trails; it is open from May till mid-November. The trails are smooth and twisty and consist of hill climbs, a mixed hardwood forest, grassy meadows, water crossing, hardpack, berms, trees, rocks, dust, mud, sand, and loose dirt.

The basic amenities at this ATV park are a parking area, trash cans, picnic tables, and restrooms. This park is open from 8 am till dusk every day; overnight parking is not allowed. Riding an ATV at this park costs $5 per vehicle. Not all off-road vehicles are allowed at this park; the only ones allowed are ATVs, Dirt bikes, SXSs, Motorcycles, and UTVs.

All ATVs operating in this park are expected to display a valid Wisconsin DNR registration sticker; non-residents are expected to use a non-resident trail pass. Vehicles with a width greater than 65 inches are not allowed at this park.

Tigerton OHV Park

Tigerton OHV Park was formerly known as Embarrass River ATV Park. It is an off-road park that offers 30 miles of ATV trails and a motocross track; it also has a campground. The campground offers potable water, shower facilities, electric hookups, a laundromat, and restrooms.

The ATV trails at this park are marked and mostly consist of loose dirt, hardpack, berms, mud, small jumps, rocks, large jumps, dust, trees, water crossings, and steep hills. However, some areas are rugged and have deep ponds and mud pits. Tigerton OHV Park is open every day from 8 am till dusk.

The motocross track is available for practice from 10 am to 5 pm. To ride an ATV at this park, you are expected to have a WI ATV permit and pay a fee of $10 per vehicle. All vehicles at this park are expected to have a spark arrestor exhaust silencer.

Where Can’t You Ride An ATV In Wisconsin?

Riding an ATV on public roadways and highways is prohibited by the law. It is also illegal to operate an ATV on private property without permission. Cedar Lake Arena and Pine Ridge Raceway are two trail areas where ATVs are not allowed. It is also illegal to ride an ATV on public streets.

atv route sign

Can You Ride An ATV On The Street In Wisconsin?

ATV riding and operation are not allowed on the streets in Wisconsin except under some special circumstances. These circumstances are:

  • If the ATV will be used for agricultural purposes.
  • When crossing a bridge, railroad, roadway, or culvert, as long as the location is safe and the ATV comes to a complete stop before crossing.
  • Riding on a road that is not maintained for roadway use and has not been closed to ATV use.
  • Riding on the roadway or shoulder of a highway to cross a bridge that is 1000 feet in length.

It would be best if you did not ride an ATV only at the extreme right side of the roadway surface. Children between age 12 and 15 should always have an adult accompanying them when operating an ATV on the streets in Wisconsin. ATVs operating on the streets in Wisconsin should always ride in a single file and not side by side.

Final Thoughts

Riding an ATV should be very exciting and fun if you are riding in the right place. If you are located in Wisconsin, this article has provided all the information you need concerning ATV operation in this state.

Make sure the next time you take your ATV out for a ride in Wisconsin, you are obeying all the ATV laws and riding in the right place. This way, you can stay out of trouble and enjoy your ATV ride.

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.