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Silver Lake State Park ORV Area

a truck riding the dunes

Silver Lake State Park ORV Area

Silver Lake ORV Area, located along the shores of Lake Michigan in Silver Lake State Park, offers 450 acres of dunes open to ORV riding adventures!

New general management plan for park

DNR staff is currently reviewing the input received from the online public survey and compiling a new general management plan for Silver Lake State Park. Additional public input opportunities will be announced.

Silver Lake ORV Area
Phone: 231-873-3083
Hours of Operation

Open April 1 - Oct. 31 each year:

  • April 1 - 30, 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • May 1 - Sept. 15, 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.
  • Sept. 16 - Oct. 31, 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Access to the ORV area and dunes is stopped ½ hour ahead of closing time each evening.

Rules and regulations

licenses and permits

Required permits

All motor vehicles, including motorcycles, ORVs, ATVs, UTVs, riding on the dunes must display:

All vehicles must be titled by the Secretary of State.

Towing your ORV into the park?

  • All motor vehicles and towing motor vehicles entering the ORV Area must display a Recreation Passport.
  • You will need a parking lot voucher (summer weekends and holidays only) displayed on the vehicle left in the parking lot.

Learn about parking lot vouchers »

 

Orange safety flag icon with graphic of rectangular flag on pole

Orange flags

An orange, rectangular safety flag (minimum 5" X 10" and made of a solid material - not mesh) that is 10-foot in height at standstill and 8-foot in motion must be securely bolted, welded or secured in the following location:

  • Vehicles requiring a seat belt: mount on front-most portion of the vehicle.
  • Vehicles not requiring a seat belt: mount on the rear of the vehicle.
ORV riding

Rental vehicles

Concession business partners are:

operator age restrictions

Age for operators

16 years or older

  • You must possess a valid and unrestricted driver's or chauffeur's license. An ORV safety certificate is recommended.

At least 12 years old

  • If you are at least 12 years old, have a valid ORV safety certificate and are under adult supervision (driving status cannot be revoked or suspended), you may operate a 4-wheel ATV or a 2-wheel bike. At this age, you can not operate a 3-wheel ATV.

You must be able to present your valid and unrestricted driver's or chauffeur's license or ORV safety certificate to law enforcement officers and/or state park personnel.

ORV riding

Equipment

  • Lights: Headlights, taillights and brake lights are required on vehicles half hour after sunset. Emergency strobe, flashing, rotating and/or blinking lights and sirens are prohibited
  • Eye protection is required for ORV use.
  • Helmets and protective gear: U.S. Department of Transportation-approved helmet (or equal) are required to operate ATVs and motorcycles in both the parking lot and dunes.
  • It's recommended that you inflate your tires between 12-15 PSI. The maximum is 15 PSI.
  • Make sure four-wheel drive is engaged. Turn off traction control (if equipped).
  • All vehicles with automotive type sit-in seating are required to have an individual seat belt and roll-over protection for all occupants.
  • Passengers cannot ride on dirt bikes or ATVs.
  • Sound emissions: Vehicles cannot exceed 94 dB as tested using the stationary sound test.
  • Vehicles must have a 180-degree reverse flow muffler and/or USFS-approved spark arrester.

Make sure your vehicle is dune ready »

safety

Other important rules

  • Alcohol: You may not possess or consume an alcoholic beverage at any time in the ORV Area, welcome center area or any area extending one-quarter of a mile from the boundary of the ORV area.
  • Remote controlled devices: You cannot operate remote-controlled devices within the ORV area. 
  • Flashing lights: You cannot utilize any color of flashing lights on or attached to a vehicle, except for manufactured installed hazard lights. 
  • Drag racing: Drag racing is now a legal activity on the dunes, however all other rules and laws apply.
  • Pets: Pets are allowed along the three miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and the park's inland lake. Pets are also allowed to ride with you in the ORV Area. Pets must always be on a 6-foot leash and under an owner’s immediate control. All pet waste must be properly disposed of in trash receptacles.
  • Boundaries: Vehicles must operate within dune areas marked with orange boundary markers. Follow the directional pattern established and signed within the ORV area. There is no north-bound traffic allowed in high dune areas.
  • Speed: Limit your speed on entrance ramp (no passing) and beach area. Be prepared to stop at any time. There may be a stalled or parked vehicle or natural hazards such as a tree or stump on the other side of the hill you are cresting. Drive defensively, be careful, stay alert and in control of your vehicle.
  • Car seats: The Michigan Child Passenger Safety Law is in effect in the ORV Area.
  • Title: All vehicles must be titled by the Secretary of State.
  • Report accidents, injuries and/or emergencies to park personnel or 911.
Frequently asked questions icon with a question mark

More information

Check out our frequently asked questions.

View all rules and regulations in the Land Use Order of the Director.

If you still have questions, please contact the Silver Lake State Park office at 231-873-3083.

Requirements by vehicle type

Side-by-side vehicles / UTV

  • Mount orange safety flag on front-most portion of the vehicle.
  • Seat belt for each occupant.
  • Eye protection and/or windshield.
  • 94 dB sound level or less.
  • USFS-approved spark arrester exhaust system.
  • No operators under 16 years old. Must have a valid and unrestricted driver's or chauffeur's license.

ATV / 4-wheeler / quad / motorcycle

  • Mount orange safety flag on rear of the vehicle.
  • No passengers (this includes two-up style ATVs).
  • Eye protection.
  • U.S. Department of Transportation-approved helmet (or equal).
  • 94 dB sound level or less.
  • USFS-approved spark arrester exhaust system.
  • A person who is at least 12 years old may operate a 4-wheel ATV or a 2-wheel bike with a valid ORV safety certificate issued by this state or another state and with adult supervision (as long as their driving status is not revoked or suspended).
  • 16 years and older - must have a valid and unrestricted driver's or chauffeur's license.

ATC / 3-wheeler / trike

  • Mount orange safety flag on rear of the vehicle.
  • No passengers.
  • Eye protection.
  • U.S. Department of Transportation-approved helmet (or equal).
  • 94 dB sound level or less.
  • USFS-approved spark arrester exhaust system.
  • 16 years and older - must have a valid and unrestricted driver's or chauffeur's license.

Truck / Jeep / dune buggy

  • Mount orange safety flag on front-most portion of the vehicle.
  • Seat belt for each occupant.
  • Eye protection and/or windshield.
  • 94 dB sound level or less.
  • USFS-approved spark arrester exhaust system / reverse flow exhaust.
  • Driver must be protected by metal roof and/or roll bar above and behind head.
  • Passengers not protected by metal roof/roll bar above and behind head must wear U.S. Department of Transportation-approved helmet (or equal).
  • 16 years and older - must have a valid and unrestricted driver's or chauffeur's license.

Youth side-by-side vehicles (SXS) and two-up ATVs

SXS/UTV vehicles do not fit the legal definition of an ATV. They are classified as an ORV and cannot be operated at Silver Lake State Park by anyone under 16 years old. This includes the Polaris ACE single occupant ORV and other youth marketed SXS vehicles.

Other vehicles (snowmobile / Argo / golf cart / etc.)

Contact Silver Lake State park office for specific requirements at 231-873-3083.

Other opportunities to enjoy the dunes

  • Mac Wood's Dune Rides operates a 40-minute dune tour in a dedicated area of the park (mid-May through October). Reservations are recommended.
  • A fat-tire biking season takes place Dec. 15-March 15 and a shoreline horseback riding season takes place Nov. 1-30 annually.
  • You can park in the ORV Area and walk to the water. You may also walk through the pedestrian area of the dunes to access the water. Be sure to venture to the Little Sable Lighthouse. Vehicles are not permitted on the water's edge.
  • Visit the Silver Lake State Park webpage for more information about the park and its campgrounds, trails and more.
Frequently asked questions icon with a question mark
Thanks to Silver Lake Recreation Association for supporting the Silver Lake ORV scramble area.