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The United States Forest Service uses a system of “Designated Routes” to manage OHV use. These Motor Vehicle Use Maps (or MVUMs) are the official record of what routes are open on National Forests and Grasslands.
You can find current MVUMs available for free download here: http://staythetrail.org/mvum/index.php
Printed MVUMs are also available for free at Forest Service field offices. A list of these offices are available at http://staythetrail.org/wheretogo/nationalforests.php
You will be able to find information about what Forest Service routes are open, and also what type of vehicle they are open to. Each road and trail is identified by whether it is a road open to highway-legal vehicles, all vehicles, vehicles 50" or less in width, and singletrack for dirtbike use. The maps also may include information on roads managed by other agencies (county, city, etc) as well as information on dispersed camping.
On the MVUM, you will see information on designated campsites and dispersed camping. You will have to pay attention to what each individual MVUM says about camping, as they vary from one district to another. When dispersed camping, please use existing fire rings if you are going to have a fire and camp 200 feet from water bodies. More information on camping guidelines can be found at http://www.treadlightly.org
No. As a general rule, park as close to the route as you can without blocking the trail, if you cannot find a wide spot that is appropriate to stop at. Please don't park on fragile vegetation (cryptobiotic soils, alpine tundra, etc) and don't run over trees and shrubs to find a spot to park. Many ranger districts are directing enthusiasts to stay within one vehicle length of the route. The same standards should be followed when recreating on BLM lands.
All motor vehicles (licensed or not) operated on routes designated open to off-highway vehicles are required to obtain either an annual OHV Registration or Non-Resident Permit. Information on how to purchase and what the OHV Registration program funds is available at http://parks.state.co.us/OHVsandSnowmobiles/OHVProgram/
We do recommend the purchase of a "registration" versus permit so that yearly reminder renewal cards will be sent to your home address.
Yes. All motor vehicles used on routes designated open to OHVs, including those vehicles with valid out-of-state license plates must still purchase an annual OHV Registration or Non-Resident Permit through Colorado State Parks. The money collected helps to fund the stewardship that makes those riding opportunities available including trail maintenance, education, and other projects.
In general, no. There are a few local jurisdictions that allow OHV use on certain roads to connect trails to staging areas or gas stations, but this is not the norm. We recommend contacting the local Sherriff's Department for additional information. Contact information for each county can be found here: http://www.csoc.org/counties.asp
The short answer to this is no. Each state does have the authority to decide what types of vehicles to allow on public roads, and Colorado does not recognize ATVs and Side-by-Sides as vehicles appropriate for licensing and street use. There are a few local jurisdictions that allow OHV use on certain roads to connect trails to staging areas or gas stations, but this is not the norm. We recommend contacting the local Sheriff's Department for additional information. Contact information for each county can be found here http://www.csoc.org/counties.asp
The OHV Registration/Permit year lasts from April 1st to March 31st.
No. You will need to obtain an Out-of-State OHV Permit to ride your OHV in Colorado. Please visit http://parks.state.co.us/OHVsandSnowmobiles/OHVProgram/ for additional information.
No. You will need to purchase an Out-of-State OHV Permit in Utah, and any additional States you visit to ride. However, the need for registration or permitting your OHV in both states has a positive side. The state OHV money returns out to the trails, but only in THAT state. So, trail work that is being done through the OHV grants in Colorado are not being funded by Utah riders even though they may ride here... unless they purchase an Out-of-State OHV Permit in Colorado, and vice versa. That is why it is actually not a "bad" thing to have to register or permit your OHV in both places. We do realize that means that vacations can get expensive, and we unfortunately can't offer any advice for that.
Yes. We have free downloadable maps at http://staythetrail.org/maps/index.php
Check the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) for Forest Service routes, and official BLM travel management maps. The MVUM's can change yearly, so stay tuned to our MVUM page for updates: http://www.staythetrail.org/mvum
Information on Seasonal Closures can be found here: http://staythetrail.org/wheretogo/closureinfo.php
If you are still not sure, contact the Agency(s) responsible for that route. Field office listings can be found here:
USDA Forest Service - http://staythetrail.org/wheretogo/nationalforests.php
Bureau of Land Management - http://staythetrail.org/wheretogo/blmoffices.php
Any route designated for motorized use that is single-track or wider, such as ATV/50" and 4x4 routes. Keep in mind that most 4x4 routes do not permit unlicensed dirtbikes to be ridden on them. Use your Travel Management Maps http://staythetrail.org/wheretogo/index.php or follow the signs http://staythetrail.org/etiquette/signs.php to determine where you are permitted to ride.
You can ride your ATV on designated 50" and 4x4 routes. ATVs that are over 50" in width are allowed on most 4x4 routes and authorized OHV-open roads. Keep in mind that most 4x4 routes do not permit ATVs to be ridden on them. Use your Travel Management Maps http://staythetrail.org/wheretogo/index.php or follow the signs http://staythetrail.org/etiquette/signs.php to determine where you are permitted to ride.
You can use your Side-by-Side on 4x4 roads. The vast majority of Side-by-Sides are wider than the 50" rule, and therefore, are limited to 4x4 routes and authorized OHV-open roads. Use your Travel Management Maps http://staythetrail.org/wheretogo/index.php or follow the signs http://staythetrail.org/etiquette/signs.php to determine where you are permitted to ride.
Passed in 2008, and going into enforcement on July 1, 2010 the new Sound Law sets new noise standards for OHV exhaust emissions. Up until July 1, 2010 Stay The Trail and various land management agencies will be providing free sound testing at appropriate locations. This new law is the result of a cooperative effort aimed at ensuring continued access for OHVs on our public lands.
The new law establishes limits at:
96dB(a) if manufactured after January 1, 1998
99dB(a) if manufactured before January 1, 1998
OHVs will be tested using the SAE J 1287 stationary 20" pipe test.
Check the Stay The Trail calendar for trailer locations. At trailhead events and other appropriate areas, we can offer free sound testing. Land management agencies will also have staff out providing testing at certain locations up until the law goes into effect.
The responsibility for making sure that an OHV is within the limits established by this law will rest on the purchaser. That means that you can still buy a used OHV that doesn't meet the standards, but before use on public lands, the OHV will have to be modified appropriately.
The new law prohibits the sale of new OHVs over the 96dB(a) limit, unless that machine is designed for, and used in a closed-course competition facility.
No. Any OHV that is intended for use in closed-course competition facilities, but is used on public lands, may require modifications for sound and spark arrestor standards when used outside of a closed-course facility.
Yes. Colorado Law requires the use of a spark arrester on OHVs on public land.
From the Colorado State Parks OHV Program website: http://parks.state.co.us/OHVsandSnowmobiles/OHVProgram/
Except as provided in section 33-14.5-109 C.R.S., no person shall operate an off-highway vehicle upon public land in this state unless the off-highway vehicle is equipped with a spark arrester in good working order which has been approved by the U.S. Forest Service. A spark arrester is a device which traps or pulverizes exhaust particles as they are expelled from an internal combustion engine exhaust system and is effective in reducing exhaust sparks and protecting against exhaust spark fires. Spark arresters will trap or pulverize exhaust carbon particles to a size below 0.023 inch in diameter, as they are expelled from an exhaust system. Most spark arresters generally perform in the high 90% spark arresting effectiveness range.
Yes. If you removed the exhaust system from the original vehicle, you also removed the spark-arresting abilities for that engine. You will need to have a FS-approved arrester on there.
The USDA Forest Service has a testing center that certifies spark arresters that are available. The list of certified spark arresters can be found at http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/prev_ed/spark/sag-index.html
Similar to the sound regulations, spark arresters are only required on public lands. However, it is recommended to use an approved spark arrester wherever you ride.
More information on the USDA Forest Service Spark Arrester regulations can be found here: http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/recreation/ohv/sparkarrester.shtml
On Forest Service or BLM OHV trails - There is no age restriction other than the recommendation of the manufacturer. It is EXTREMELY important that the operator can reach all the controls for the machine while seated comfortably on the machine.
On Forest Service, BLM, county, or city roads that are open to OHV use - No operators under the age of ten. Operators over the age of ten must have a) a valid drivers license, or b) be under the direct supervision (at minimum visual) of a licensed adult. Some counties may have other restrictions (See the Alpine Loop questions below).
Currently, there are no requirements for the use of helmets with off-highway vehicles (OHV's) when operated on routes designated for motorized use on public lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management. However, we highly encourage and support the use of full-face helmets by all riders and passengers using OHVs. They save lives! Helmets should be DOT approved as they are designed to withstand impacts at higher speeds. Helmets are required for persons under eighteen years of age when riding as passengers on licensed motorcycles on public streets, roads and highways in Colorado.
On Forest Service or BLM designated motor vehicle routes that are not public streets, roads or highways, there is no age restriction for operating an OHV other than the recommendation of the manufacturer. It is EXTREMELY important that the operator can reach all the controls for the machine while seated comfortably on the machine. Be aware, however, that where the State, the United States, or any agency thereof, has designated any public street, road, or highway of this state open to off-highway vehicles or where local political subdivisions have authorized by ordinance or resolution the establishment of off-highway vehicle routes to permit the operation of off-highway vehicles on city streets or county roads pursuant to the authority granted in C.R.S. 33-14.5-108(1), no person under the age of ten years may operate an off-highway vehicle on such public street, road, or highway of this state or on such city street or county road. No person ten years of age or older may operate an off-highway vehicle on such public street, road, or highway of this state or on such city street or county road unless:
1. The person has in his possession a valid driver’s license issued by the State of Colorado or another state; or
2. The person is accompanied by and under the immediate supervision of a person who has in his possession a valid driver’s license issued by the State of Colorado or another state. The phrase “under immediate supervision” shall mean that, at a minimum, the unlicensed operator is within direct visual contact of the licensed supervisor.
While there is no law prohibiting children (or adults) from riding as passengers on an ATV, we highly discourage having passengers of any age on machines that were not specifically designed for such use.
Please send an email, with your full name and address, to firstname.lastname@example.org and he'll send you some as quickly as possible.
Currently, we do not operate on a membership base. If you are interested in volunteering at an event, or distributing materials within your club or shop, please contact Sam at email@example.com
Donations to the Stay The Trail program are handled through the parent organization, the Responsible Recreation Foundation. Due to the Foundation's 501(c)(3) status, all donations are tax-deductible.
If you are interested in donating, please send a check to:
Responsible Recreation Foundation
PO Box 915
Wheat Ridge, CO 80034-0915
Please note "Stay The Trail" in the memo line.
The trailer schedule is posted on the calendar at http://www.staythetrail.org/calendar
The Stay The Trail program, and the trailer, are a tool intended to promote the Responsible Recreation ethic. Therefore, any agency representative, club, school, or business may request the trailer. Also, anyone can request materials for club events, etc. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please have a look at this page: http://staythetrail.org/ontheground/index.php
After you've decided which type of presence fits your event best, please fill out the correct form, and we'll be in touch.
Thank you for the support. Currently, we are in the process of drawing up licensing and use terms for the graphics and program materials. Please send an email to email@example.com if you are interested in more information.
Federal and state laws differentiate between "mechanized" and "motorized" vehicles and equipment. For example, both types of uses are banned from wilderness areas. The term "Off-Highway Vehicles" (OHVs) is used to describe vehicles propelled by motors as opposed to mechanized equipment, such as bicycles and game retrieval carts, that are propelled by human power with the aid of gears, wheels, pulleys, and such, but not motors. Outdoor recreation enthusiasts may enjoy one or both of these activities. There are both similarities and differences in the experiences and impacts associated with motorized and mechanized recreation. Some of these differences can be significant. One example is the issue of the noise attributed to motorized recreation. As with all forms of recreation on our public lands, there is often tension and even conflict between different user groups.
To say all users of public lands trail systems should pay their fair share for planning, construction, and maintenance of those trails is a reasonable statement. However, getting to a completely fair system continues to be elusive. Even among OHV enthusiasts, there is on-going debate about the fairness of state OHV registration programs that exempt licensed, "street legal" 4x4 vehicles and motorcycles that do not contribute directly to the programs. The land managing agencies are generally directed to utilize the concept of multiple use on public lands not otherwise set aside for specific purposes. They too have a difficult job of accommodating different, sometimes competing, uses. All users of our public lands have a responsibility to keep themselves aware of the ongoing resource management planning and implementation processes and to participate and provide input, either individually or through advocacy groups. This includes how taxes, registration fees, and other user fees are charged and applied.
Stay The Trail's main goal is to provide educational tools and resources for teaching and encouraging responsible use of sustainable trail systems on our public lands, particularly those that accommodate motorized recreation.
Unfortunately, there is no quick, easy, way to get this information. To start, visit the Colorado Division of Wildlife's Game Management Unit Mapping Page at http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/GMUnitMaps.htm
Once you have located your Game Management Unit, you can use the information provided on the Stay The Trail website.
For Motor Vehicle Use Maps on National Forests and Grasslands in Colorado go to http://www.staythetrail.org/mvum
For other specific questions pertaining to travel management in your Game Management Unit:
USFS Contacts, by forest -
BLM Contacts, by field office -
No. There are a few companies that make extended lines for winches or other retrieval methods, but leaving the designated route to retrieve game is not permitted on public lands.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife, through accomodation permits, disability licenses and disability accomodating facilities has made the outdoors more accessible and more enjoyable for individuals with disabilities.
Mobility impaired persons can apply to the DOW for mobility-impaired big game licenses or wildlife recreation accommodation permits. Visit their website http://wildlife.state.co.us/hunting/disabledaccessibility for more information.
Restrictions on game retrieval are still done through the travel management planning process by the federal agencies. We highly recommend contacting those offices directly to check on current game retrieval regulations, although as a general rule, cross-country travel for the purposes of game retrieval is not permitted.
Contact information for those agencies can be found here: http://www.staythetrail.org/wheretogo
The Bureau of Land Management also has a list of outfitter services that may be able to cater towards disabled outdoor enthusiasts through guiding and game retrieval services. http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/BLM_Programs/recreation/Special_Recreation_Permits.html
Here are the regulations that you will need to be aware of when travelling the Alpine Loop:
1. You MUST have a State of Colorado OHV Permit (or registration) on your ATV to ride on any public lands in Colorado. This applies to OHV's that have a license plate from other states as well.
2. The State of Colorado does not allow ATV's for use on state highways (ie-CO149 through Lake City), regardless of licensing in other states. This has been confirmed this with the Colorado State Patrol.
3. If you ride an unlicensed (by Colorado Law) vehicle on a State Highway, you will get, at minimum, a hefty ticket.
4. Some counties do allow for limited ATV travel on SPECIFIC, DESIGNATED portions of road... check with the local sheriffs. That said, a county cannot overrule State Law on state highways (ie- the highway you'd have to ride to complete the loop)
5. Liability insurance is required
6. On the Alpine Loop, a drivers license is required for the operator (any state, as long as its valid)
7. There is a shuttle service that will pick you and your machine up, run you through Lake City, and drop you off.
8. Black Bear Pass is not advisable on an unlicensed (by Colorado Law) OHV, as it is one-way after the summit and you cannot ride through Telluride to get to Imogene Pass. Imogene Pass is open to unlicensed OHV's from both directions, but again, you cannot ride into the towns of Telluride or Ouray.
We are constantly updating the FAQ to include additional topics. If your question is not covered, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Please be aware that your question may be used in future FAQ updates.