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Q & A

  • The state-designated ORV trail system includes three designated trail types, including motorcycle-only (maintained at a 24-inch width), trails maintained at a 50-inch width and ORV routes maintained at a minimum of 72 inches in width. A number of state forest roads are open to ORV riding based on Public Act 288.

    • An interactive ORV route and trail map (GIS).
    • Maps in list format (printable PDF or GPX).
    • Maps of state forest roads open to ORVs.
    • Scramble areas.

    Where to ride

  • There are many Michigan businesses that rent ORVs to the public. In most cases, the ORV license and trail permit is already provided.

  • Yes, you can ride your ORV during the winter and during snowmobile season (Dec. 1-March 31); however, it's preferred that ORV riders use designated ORV trails or open roads NOT open to snowmobiles (look for ORV confidence markers). Snowmobile trail groomers lay smooth paths for snowmobiles. If you encounter a groomed snowmobile trail, please ride slowly or choose another trail, so you don't undo the work of trail groomers or tear up the trail.

    Please note: If a motorized vehicle is originally manufactured as an ORV, it's considered an ORV (despite any modifications, including tracks and skis) and it is prohibited from riding designated snowmobile trails.

    Read more about the Use of Modified ORVs (snow bikes)

  • There are areas throughout Michigan's ORV trail system that may not have cell phone service. Plan ahead so that 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 emergency .

  • Restrictions and obligations that fall upon the parents or legal guardians of ORV riders under the age of 16 include:

    • No one under the age of 16 may operate 3-wheeled ATVs.
    • No one under the age of 10 may operate 4-wheeled ATVs, except on private land while performing farm-related work operations. Children 10 to 15 years can ride when the operator is under the direct visual supervision of an adult and the operator possesses a valid ORV safety certificate.
    • Children under 16 years may operate other ORVs (ie. trail bikes) only when the operator is under the direct visual supervision of an adult and the operator possesses a valid ORV safety certificate.

    View all ORV-operator-age restrictions

  • As you travel throughout Michigan's ORV trail system, please  become familiar with trail markers, which are important guides  to keep trail riders and other trail users safe.

    Please be mindful of the "No ORV" markers. These areas are typically located near rivers and lakes to minimize erosion and protect natural areas and wildlife habitats. These areas are often policed and rules are enforced.

    Be aware of two-way traffic, trail groomers and "Ride Right" by keeping on the right side of the trail.

  • Operators under age 16 riding on public or private land in Michigan must 1) take an approved ORV education course, 2) carry an ORV safety certificate, and 3) always have direct visual supervision by an adult.

    The ORV safety certificate is proof that the individual has successfully completed the course. All other license and permits are required as well.

    View approved ORV education course options

  • Speed limits are not posted on state-designated ORV trails, but you may not operate an ORV at a rate of speed greater than is reasonable and proper based on existing conditions. 

    Additionally, ORVs 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.

    For more information refer to the Handbook of Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Laws that outlines laws governing off-roading and safe ORV operation. 

  • You'll need an ORV license to ride the frozen surface of public waters and state forest, county and national forest roads open to ORV use. ;A license is not required to operate on private lands. The license cost is $26.25.

    You'll need an ORV trail permit when operating on designated ORV trails or routes and special ORV-use areas. A trail permit is not required to operate on private lands. The trail permit cost is $10 (plus $26.25 for the ORV license) for a total of $36.25.

    The ORV license and trail permit are valid for one year, which begins April 1 and ends March 31 of the following year. ORV trail permits are not valid as a stand-alone license; an ORV license must also be purchased

    Find options to purchase an ORV license and permit

    Please note: In most cases, a Recreation Passport is required for vehicles entering trailheads and parking lots.

  • The Handbook of Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Laws outlines laws governing off-roading and safe ORV operations, including information on licensing and titling, required equipment, young ORV operators and pertinent land use orders.

  • There are several scramble areas in Michigan, including Silver Lake State Park ORV scramble area and Holly Oaks ORV Park. Please note that there are special rules and entrance procedures for the scramble areas.

  • There are three designated types of trails, including motorcycle-only (maintained at a 24" width), trails maintained at a 50" width and ORV routes maintained at a of minimum 72" width, and some forest roads open to ORV riding.

    Additionally, each county has local ordinances that may allow ORV operation on select roadways. Before you ride on a roadway, check with the local sheriff's office or a county office to verify roads open to ORV use. 

    Nowhere in Michigan can you ride on designated "M" or "US" highways (unless it's a designated connector route).

    Where to Ride

  • 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, statewide motorized trails program, at HolleyJ1@Michigan.gov.