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Snowmobile FAQs

Please visit the Snowmobiling webpage for general snowmobile riding information including license and permit information, maps, safety certificate and more.

You can search the information on this page by typing keywords into the search box below.

  • In addition to registering your snowmobile with the Secretary of State, resident and nonresidents who operate snowmobiles on public land in Michigan are required to purchase a snowmobile trail permit. A snowmobile trail permit is $52 and valid for one year, which begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30 of the following year.

    Find options to purchase a snowmobile permit »

    Please note: State-designated trails are open Dec. 1-March 31 and grooming occurs when there is enough snow on the ground. In most cases, a Recreation Passport is required for vehicles entering trailheads and parking lots.

  • Ride Right confidence marker

    As you travel throughout Michigan's snowmobile trail system, please become familiar with trail confidence markers, which are important guides to keep trail riders and other trail users safe. Riders will encounter the following confidence markers:

    • Orange diamonds are used to reassure riders that they are on a designated snowmobile trail or a community snowmobile route.
    • Orange trail number markers (orange diamonds with black trail numbers) are used to specify the numbered trail.
    • Ride Right markers remind riders that there is two-way traffic, to watch for trail groomers and to "Ride Right" by keeping on the right side of the trail.
  • In Michigan, all snowmobile operators between ages 12 and 16 are required to obtain a Michigan-approved snowmobile safety certificate to operate without a legal guardian or to cross a highway or street; however, everyone is encouraged to take a course.

    View approved snowmobile education course options »

  • The snowmobiling rules and regulations page outlines need-to-know information, including operator-age restrictions, permit requirements, use of modified ORVs and snow bikes, accident reporting and more.

  • Yes, ORVs are permitted on designated as ORV trails and routes during the snowmobile season (Dec. 1-March 31). However, it's preferred that ORVs use designated ORV trails or roads NOT open to snowmobiles (ORV riders should look for ORV confidence markers). ORV riders are encouraged to ride slowly or choose another trail, so they don't undo the work of trail groomers or tear up the trail.

  • There are places throughout Michigan's snowmobile trail system that will not have cell phone service. Plan ahead so you know where you are at all times (in case of an emergency). Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. If you have no service, try texting 9-1-1 in case of an emergency.

  • You may operate a snowmobile on thousands of acres of state-managed public land available for off-trail, backcountry snowmobiling. If you are going to ride the backcountry, please avoid private property, active logging operations, forest plantations and marked or known sensitive plant and wildlife areas. Know where you're going before you get there.

    Online maps and the DNR's Mi-HUNT maps can help snowmobilers identify public lands managed by the DNR.

    To help prevent damage to groomed snowmobile trails and reduce loud noise, ride slowly with paddle tracks and replace loud cans or pipes with stock exhausts.

  • There are many Michigan businesses that rent snowmobiles to the public. In most cases, the snowmobile trail permit is provided.

  • To find maps of state-designated snowmobile trails, there is a GIS-based interactive snowmobile trail map and PDFs. Find these map types and an overview of where you can operate snowmobiles in Michigan.

  • Snowmobiles must follow the same speed limits as cars when operating on seasonal or maintained county roads. There are no speed limits when on trails and/or backcountry; however, you may not operate a snowmobile at a rate of speed greater than is reasonable and proper based on existing conditions.

    Additionally, snowmobiles may not be operated in a careless manner, in any attempt to kill any animal or bird, while transporting uncased bows or loaded firearms (with exceptions), while transporting open alcoholic beverages and other considerations.

  • During firearm deer hunting season (Nov 15-30) a person cannot operate a snowmobile or ORV in an area where public hunting is permitted from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Volunteer! If you're able to volunteer just one Saturday per year - YOU can make a difference! To find out how to help in the area where you ride, contact Jessica Holley-Roehrs, of the DNR's statewide motorized trails program, at