ATV & Off-Roading | Black Hills & Badlands (2023)

The Black Hills National Forest boasts one of the largest motorized trail systems in a National Forest that is open to vehicles 62 inches or less in width. It currently consists of more than 3,600 miles of open roads — over 650 miles are designated trails for all types of Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) — and has 21 designated motorized trailheads.

The motorized trail system includes 90 miles of single-track trails for motorcycles, 347 miles of trails for vehicles 62 inches or less in width in South Dakota, and 72 miles of trails for vehicles 50 inches or less in width in Wyoming. There are also 148 miles of trails open to all. The system incorporates a large number of looped trails and has parking access from 20 trailheads.

View or download the Black Hills Off-Road Adventures Guide.

(Video) Black Hills South Dakota Day 1

OHV Permits

A Black Hills Motorized Trail Permit is required to access the SD portion of the motorized trail system and when riding an unlicensed OHV on a forest road designated “open to all vehicles.” Permits are available as a seven-day consecutive pass ($20) or an annual pass ($25). Prices are subject to change.

Permits may be purchased online at or any of the forest service offices.

They may also be purchased at the Black Hills Visitor Information Center, conveniently located off Interstate 90 at Exit 61 in Rapid City. The visitor center is open seven days a week, year-round, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and offers extended summer hours.

(Video) Black Hills ATV Trail: Deadwood, South Dakota

Please note that the State of Wyoming requires a separate permit when operating an OHV in Wyoming. There is no reciprocity for out-of-state registrations.

Rules & Regulations

In South Dakota, state motorcycle law governs ATVs and UTVs.

  • On-the-road drivers need a licensed OHV, must be 14 years of age or older and possess a valid driver’s license.
  • ATV/UTV use is strictly prohibited on the interstate highway system at all times.
  • Eye protection is required for ATV/UTV operators on all public roads unless a windshield is in place.
  • Helmets are advised for all ATV/UTV operators and riders on all roads. Helmets are required by law for anyone under 18.
  • Operators on roads must be able to provide registration and proof of insurance.

There is no minimum age or license requirement for off-road drivers on trails. However, please follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on age and size requirements.

(Video) Badlands Riding ATV/UTV,4x4 and dirt bikes

The forest is closed to cross-country travel except for the open roads and motorized trails, as shown on the free Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM).

ATVs/UTVs may be used on most roads and highways as long as they are registered and licensed. If you live in a state where ATVs/UTVs cannot be licensed for road use, you may not ride on roads in South Dakota unless you obtain a special road travel permit, available at any county courthouse in South Dakota.

Maps & GPS

Download and view the MVUM on your mobile device using GPS apps, such as Avenza Maps. Cellular service is not required for GPS navigation once you download the map. Visitors are responsible for using the information on these maps and knowing which roads and trails are open for various motorized use types.

(Video) Hill Climbs on my Raptor 700r at Badlands Offroad Park

Ride Responsibly

Motorized vehicle operators are responsible for knowing and abiding by OHV travel regulations. Minimize your impact on the environment when you ride by traveling responsibly, respecting others' rights, educating yourself, and avoiding sensitive areas.

For tips on riding ethically and responsibly, visit Tread Lightly!

(Video) SOUTH DAKOTA: Best Off-Road Trails - You HAVE to RIde!


Can you ride ATVs in the Badlands of South Dakota? ›

The forest is closed to cross-country travel except for the open roads and motorized trails, as shown on the free Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM). ATVs/UTVs may be used on most roads and highways as long as they are registered and licensed.

Can you ride ATVs in Badlands National Park? ›

The Badlands Off Road Park is 1400+ acres of multi-directional, diverse terrain. You'll find sand dunes, wooded trails, gravel, mud, and rocks - trails and terrain for all types and skill levels of riders. Bikes and ATVs can test their skills on our full-size MX Track.

Can you ride ATV in the Black Hills? ›

The Black Hills National Forest Motorized Trail System has more than 3,600 miles of roads and 600 miles of trails for ATV, UTV and other off-road riders. This includes 347 miles of trails for vehicles 62 inches and less in width. Spring and fall depend on the snow, so summer is the best time to ride.

Are ATVs allowed in Custer State Park? ›

Any other time, you will be required to pay an access fee for the ATV. This is a great ride for those who desire to view wildlife. Custer State Park is the home of a large Bison herd. Use caution and keep a distance – an ATV is no match for a male Bison.

Do you need a license for ATV South Dakota? ›

They must: have a South Dakota license, park entrance license, stay on designated roads, be operated by a person with a valid driver's license. When in the OHV areas, vehicles are not required to be licensed or to have a park entrance license. Off-road riding is allowed only on designated areas inside OHV areas.

Can I ride my ATV at Grand Canyon? ›

The only place to off-road at the Grand Canyon is the North Rim. You can also combine a Grand Canyon West Rim helicopter tour with an ATV adventure in Eldorado Canyon, or hop on a dedicated Eldorado Canyon ATV tour.

How long does it take to drive the loop in Badlands National Park? ›

One road, Badlands Loop Road (Highway 240), cuts through the heart of the park. This road is 30 miles long and it takes about an hour to drive the length of it, without stops.

Can you use ATV in Yellowstone National Park? ›

ATV riding is not allowed inside Yellowstone National Park.

Can you go off trail in the Badlands? ›

Badlands National Park has an Open Hike Policy, meaning that you are allowed to hike off-trail. As a visitor to the Badlands, you are free to explore social trails like Deer Haven, the Sage Creek Wilderness Area, or any other part of the park you can visit safely.

What is Deadwood SD known for? ›

Deadwood became known for its lawlessness; murders were common, and justice for murders not always fair and impartial. The town attained further notoriety when gunman Wild Bill Hickok was killed on August 2, 1876.

What is the width restriction on the Black Hills ATV trail? ›

Most trails on the South Dakota side of the Black Hills National Forest are designed for vehicles less than 62” in width. o Not all 62” and under trails have signs or measured gates indicating the width restriction. For width indication, follow the MVUM. In Wyoming, the width cannot exceed 50”.

Can you Boondock in Black Hills National Forest? ›

Setting up your own campsite away from developed fee sites, also known as dispersed camping, is allowed on most of the Forest for a maximum of 14 days in any 60-day period. However, around developed reservoirs and campgrounds, camping is allowed only in designated areas.

Can you ride ATV in George Washington National Forest? ›

The OHV's permitted on the designated OHV trails of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests include four-wheel drive vehicles, motorcycles, motorbikes, four-wheel all-terrain vehicles (ATV's), and mountain bicycles.

Can you ride ATV in Glacier National Park? ›

atv / utv rentals, 1, 2 & 4 seat rental machines. 4 & 8 hour rentals. You can ride in Glacier Park, around Hungry Horse Dam and other location areas.

Can you ride ATV in Mark Twain National Forest? ›

Nearly 80 miles of multi-use trails for ATV, UTV, motorcycle, and mountain bikes wind in and out of deep forested hollows and down long ridge tops. It's possible to plan a wide variety of full-loop riding without backtracking.

Do you need a pass to go to the Black Hills? ›

The Black Hills National Forest is open, free of charge, for your use and enjoyment. Fees may be charged and permits required for some activities and locations, including camping and parking fees.

Can you ride a UTV to Mount Rushmore? ›

You may ride on the highway throughout the area, including Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands if your ATV is licensed, however national parks are closed to off-road use.

Can a non resident register a vehicle in South Dakota? ›

South Dakota allows nonresidents to register vehicles in the state. You need your original out-of-state title, a copy of your driver's license, Social Security number and a registration application.

Can you go off roading in the Grand Canyon? ›

Most high clearance 4x4s can make the drive from the Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse to Whitmore Canyon Overlook deep in the Grand Canyon. Bedrock steps on the way to Whitmore Point make this road impassible to some stock pickups and SUVs. The road to Frog Springs is only for very high clearance vehicles.

What is not allowed at the Grand Canyon? ›

Feeding, touching, teasing, or intentionally disturbing wildlife is prohibited. Throwing or rolling rocks or other items down hillsides or mountainsides, into valleys or canyons, or inside caves is prohibited.

Can you drive along side of Grand Canyon? ›

There is only one scenic drive on the South Rim that is open to private vehicles all year. The 23 mile (37 km) long Desert View Drive features marvelous panoramic views of Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. There is parking at every viewpoint.

What is the most scenic drive through the Badlands? ›

Badlands Loop Road (SD 240) is a spectacular way to see the North Unit of Badlands National Park. This two-lane paved road is appropriate for all motor vehicles but does include several steep passes and sections with reduced speed limits. Drive carefully, as wildlife is common along the Loop Road.

Does it cost money to drive through the Badlands National Park? ›

Badlands National Park charges an entrance fee. You may purchase a 7-day pass valid at only Badlands National Park by selecting from the choices (Private Vehicle, Motorcycle, or Individual).

Can you drive through the Badlands without paying? ›

Because you'll be driving through Badlands National Park, you'll need to pay an entrance fee. Your pass is good for seven days, which means you can take this route and then return after you've explored other parts of South Dakota.

Can you sleep on the side of the road in Yellowstone? ›

Can I sleep in my car in Yellowstone? No, but paid campsites will allow you to sleep in your car if you insist. Yellowstone does not allow overnight parking in attraction parking lots, trailheads, or on the roadside. Only visitors who have reserved rooms one of the many lodging options can park their cars overnight.

Can you ride ATVs in Grand Teton National Park? ›

Summer riding will involve passing through fields of wildflowers and cascading waterfalls. As wildlife becomes more active during the fall, ATV riding is popular for hunters and wildlife enthusiasts. No experience is necessary, as training is provided with rentals, but a valid driver's license is required.

Can you ride ATVs in Wyoming? ›

On ROADS, all ATVs, MPV ( Multi Purpose Vehicles ) and motorcycles; including those owned by nonresidents, are required to either be street legal and display a MPV license plate or, if the roadway has been identified as part of the Wyoming ORV( Off Road Recreational Vehicle) Program, they may be operated upon the ...

How long does it take to drive through Badlands Stopping St Mt Rushmore? ›

Please note the trip to the badlands if you stop at the visitor center for the movie and take the scenic route and stop along the way can take you at least 2-3 hours. There is nothing to eat around there so I suggest eating before OR making sure you have snacks to hold you over. You can then head over to Rushmore.

How many days do you need for Badlands? ›

1. Start to Finish: Park rangers suggest spending two full days to truly experience the park, but you can certainly visit in less time. If you have one full day to spend, plan on being at the park for both sunrise and sunset - the light cast over the Badlands is incredible.

What do I need to know before going to the Badlands? ›

It's best to park in an overlook, and be sure that you don't block the road. Pack in all your water; if you find water, it's not drinkable, even when filtered. Pack out all trash. Other camping options outside the park include Badlands/White River KOA, Badlands Interior Campground, and Minuteman RV Park and Lodging.

How many days do you need in Deadwood SD? ›

It all depends on your interests. A few hours, or half a day, is enough to explore the main attractions of Deadwood and see its historic architecture. But it is worth staying here for at least one night to feel the atmosphere of the Gold Rush city in the evening or to take advantage of the local attractions.

What is the best time of year to visit Deadwood South Dakota? ›

The best time to visit Deadwood is September-October

Deadwood can be visited year-round, but based on the ideal climate conditions, cost of travel, and avoiding peak holiday periods, September-October is the best time to go. During the warmer months, temperatures in Deadwood can rise to a maximum of 26℃ (78℉).

How do I spend a day in Deadwood SD? ›

Historic Deadwood Itinerary – Day 1 (Approximately 9 hours)
  1. Step into history and dig into the past as you enter a real Black Hills underground mine, Broken Boot Gold Mine. ...
  2. Board one of the historic tour buses lead by a Wild West tour guide. ...
  3. Experience the oldest museum in the Black Hills – the Historic Adams Museum.

What is the hardest OHV trail in the US? ›

Lake Como Trail

The first mile and a half of dirt road can be driven by any vehicle that has low clearance. Keep in mind, this is Rocky Mountain territory so elevation will climb and FAST. At about 9,000 feet above sea level, even the average four-wheel drive vehicle will have difficulty and most likely call it quits.

What is the longest offroad trail in the US? ›

The TransAmerica Trail or TAT is a 4,253-mile (6,845 km) transcontinental vehicular route, intended as a recreational pathway across the United States using a minimum of paved roads, traveled by dual-sport motorcycles, off-road vehicle, or touring bicycle.

What does BLM mean for Boondocking? ›

Inexpensive and remote camping opportunities are found here: Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In comparison with national conservation areas and developed campgrounds, BLMs are undeveloped public lands that offer disperse camping options for those seeking solitude.

Is there any BLM land in South Dakota? ›

Butte County in western South Dakota has the majority of the surface acres with around 145,000 acres. A majority of the vegetation on BLM-administered lands is prairie grassland or juniper woodlands. The Fort Meade Recreation Area and areas around Lead and Deadwood have Ponderosa pine and Burr oak.

How much does it cost to camp at Black Hills National Forest? ›

Black Hills camping at Horsethief Lake Campground will cost you $26 per night, plus $2 per night for an extra vehicle. The campground has 36 sites in total that can be reserved online or via phone. On-site potable water is available during the peak season only.

Can you ride ATV in Badlands National park? ›

The Badlands Off Road Park is 1400+ acres of multi-directional, diverse terrain. You'll find sand dunes, wooded trails, gravel, mud, and rocks - trails and terrain for all types and skill levels of riders. Bikes and ATVs can test their skills on our full-size MX Track.

Do you need a license to drive an ATV in Washington state? ›

Off-road and on-road WATV licenses are required per RCW 46.09, and can be obtained through the Washington State Department of Licensing.

Can you drive an ATV on the road in Washington state? ›

(b)(i) A person operating a wheeled all-terrain vehicle may not cross a public roadway, not including nonhighway roads and trails, with a speed limit in excess of thirty-five miles per hour, except as follows: A person operating a wheeled all-terrain vehicle may cross a public roadway with a speed limit of sixty miles ...

Can you ride ATV on BLM land in Montana? ›

BLM does not allow off-trail OHV use, even for big game retrieval. Always check with the appropriate BLM field office for specific regulations and maps. USDA FOREST SERVICE, REGION 1 There are eight national forests in Montana and OHV rules vary from forest to forest.

Can you ride ATV on state land in Montana? ›

If you wish to ride your OHV on public land or trails (off-highway), it must be registered. You will be issued a decal for off-road use that must be displayed in a conspicuous location on your OHV. If you wish to ride your OHV on paved highways, it must be street legal and have a license plate.

Can I Boondock in Glacier National Park? ›

The prime areas for boondocking in Glacier Country are its four national forests (Lolo, Kootenai, Flathead and Bitterroot) and the countless Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas scattered about the mountains, forests and glacier-carved terrain.

Can you ride ATV in Big Cypress? ›

It's a 3-step process to obtain an off-road vehicle permit for use of an ATV, UTV, airboat, swamp buggy or street-legal 4x4 along designated ORV trails in Big Cypress National Preserve: 1) an operator permit (free), 2) an inspection sticker (free), and 3) an annual vehicle permit (fees apply) are required.

Can you ride ATV in Canyonlands? ›

Much of the public land surrounding the national parks is open to ATV and UTV travel on designated routes. However, it's important to note that riding these vehicles is not allowed within either Arches or Canyonlands National Parks.

What are the rules of Badlands? ›

NO ALCOHOL, illegal drugs, firearms, or weapons are allowed on Badlands property. No person may be under the influence of alcohol or any substances. Vehicles and coolers will be checked prior to entering the park. Violators will have items confiscated and may be subject to expulsion.

Can you go off-trail in the Badlands? ›

Badlands National Park has an Open Hike Policy, meaning that you are allowed to hike off-trail. As a visitor to the Badlands, you are free to explore social trails like Deer Haven, the Sage Creek Wilderness Area, or any other part of the park you can visit safely.

What are the rules for Badlands National Park? ›

  • Leave fossils, flowers, rocks, and animals where you find them.
  • Do not enter, alter, or deface archeological sites.
  • Do not collect artifacts.
  • All vehicles and bicycles must travel on designated roads.
  • It is recommended that you stay on designated trails in high use areas such as Fossil Exhibit and Cliff Shelf.

Can you ride ATV in Yellowstone National Park? ›

ATV riding is not allowed inside Yellowstone National Park. Minimum age to rent is 25. We require all drivers to have a valid drivers license and be at least 21 years of age.

Are ATVs allowed in Arches National Park? ›

The use of off-highway vehicles (ATVs, OHV, UTVs, etc.) is not allowed in Arches National Park.

Can you ride 4 wheelers in Moab? ›

ATVs and UTVs are allowed to be operated on paved roads, streets, and highways in the Moab area when the vehicles are: Properly registered as street-legal. Properly insured for highway use. Comply with all of the Utah street-legal equipment requirements shown above.

Can I carry a gun in the Badlands? ›

As of February 22, 2010, a new federal law allows people who can legally possess firearms under applicable federal, state, and local laws, to legally possess firearms in this park.

Why are there no guns in Into the Badlands? ›

We wanted it to be American and we didn't want to set it in a contemporary world where there would be guns. Because guns always make the martial arts feel redundant, and you don't start a fight sequence by taking a gun out of someone's hands.

Do you have to wear a helmet at the Badlands? ›

Helmets are required for all drivers and riders of ATVs and Bikes. Helmets are also required for Minors (under the age of 18) driving or riding in a Side x Side (this is State law).

Can you take rocks from the Badlands? ›

Q: Can I collect things in Badlands National Park? A: All collecting of rocks, minerals, plants, fossils or cultural objects (i.e. arrowheads) is illegal and punishable by a fine.

Do I need hiking shoes for Badlands? ›

Bring the Right Gear

While open-toed footwear is comfortable, closed-toed shoes or boots are essential for hiking and exploring the badlands environment.

Can you just drive through the Badlands? ›

The Badlands Loop Road is open to drive 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Can you drink alcohol in Badlands? ›

The area known as the South Unit of Badlands National Park, which is located within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, is closed to the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages. Tribal law closes the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to alcohol use and possession.

Is there a fee for the Badlands? ›

Badlands National Park charges an entrance fee. You may purchase a 7-day pass valid at only Badlands National Park by selecting from the choices (Private Vehicle, Motorcycle, or Individual).


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