Frequently Asked Questions

Motor Vehicle Use Maps

I’ve heard a lot of talk about MVUM’s. What are they?

The Travel Management Rule for the U.S. Forest Service was implemented in 2005. It requires each National Forest and Grassland to identify, designate, and map those roads, trails, and areas that are open to motor vehicle use. The Motor Vehicle Use Maps, or MVUMs, are the legal record of what motorized opportunities are available on National Forest. 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.

Where can I find Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM’s)?

You can find links to current MVUMs on the Stay The Trail website. Printed MVUMs are also available for free at Forest Service Ranger District offices. A list of these offices is also available on this website.

What information is on an MVUM?

You will be able to find information about which Forest Service designated routes are open, and also what types of vehicles are allowed on each route. 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, or single-track trails for motorcycle use. The maps also may include information on roads managed by other agencies (state, county, city, etc.), as well as information on dispersed camping.

Where can I camp along these routes?

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 ranger 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 www.treadlightly.org.

Is parking along a designated route considered "off-trail"?

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 such as cryptobiotic soils and alpine tundra, 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 lands under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management.

Vehicle and OHV Registration / Permits

What types of vehicles have to purchase an OHV Registration/Permit?

Colorado OHV Registration requirements:
“All OHVs owned and operated in Colorado (including motor vehicles and motorcycles that are not licensed for public road access) must display current Colorado OHV registration stickers when in a person’s possession in an OHV staging area or operated on any designated OHV trails or routes in Colorado.

Colorado OHV Use Permit requirements:
“All OHVs and motor vehicles (including motorcycles) that display a valid Colorado or out-of -state license plate must also display a current Colorado OHV use permit sticker when operated on any designated OHV trails in Colorado.”
“All out of state OHVs (including OHVs that display an out of state OHV registration) must also display a current Colorado OHV use permit sticker when operated on any designated OHV trails or routes in Colorado.”

For more information, visit our OHV Registrations & Permits page!

I have my ATV / Side-by-Side licensed for street use in my home state. Can I ride it on public roads in Colorado?

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 highway use. However, there are a few cities and counties that allow OHV use on certain roads under their jurisdiction, and to connect trails to staging areas, gas stations, or other amenities. We recommend contacting the local Sheriff’s Departments for additional information. Contact information for each county can be found here http://www.csoc.org/counties.asp.

When is the OHV Registration/Permit period?

OHV Registrations and Use Permits are valid for one year, from April 1st of the year issued to March 31st of the following year.

I live in another State but will be visiting Colorado to ride. Is the OHV Registration from my home state valid in Colorado?

No. You will need to obtain a non-resident OHV Use Permit to ride your OHV in Colorado. Please click here for additional information. Colorado does NOT grant reciprocity for OHV/snowmobile registrations to other states OHV/snowmobile registration programs.

I live in Colorado but am going to ride in Utah, is my Colorado OHV registration valid there?

No. You will need to purchase a non-resident OHV Permit in Utah, and any additional States you visit to ride. However, the need for registration or permitting your OHV in other states has a positive benefit. The state OHV registration money in each state is generally awarded as grants for trail projects and educational programs, such as Stay The Trail in Colorado.

Where can I go?

What routes can I use my dirt bike on?

You can ride your dirt bike on just about any route designated for motorized, including single-track, 50″ wide trails, and 4×4 routes. Keep in mind that routes open only to highway legal vehicles, as well as most county and city roads, do not permit unlicensed dirt bikes to be ridden on them. Use your Travel Management Maps or follow the Trail Signs to determine where you are permitted to ride.

What routes can I use my ATV on?

You can ride your ATV on designated 50″ wide trails and 4×4 routes. ATVs that are over 50″ in width are allowed on most 4×4 routes and authorized OHV-open roads. Keep in mind that routes open only to highway legal vehicles, as well as most county and city roads, do not permit ATVs to be ridden on them. Use your Travel Management Maps or follow the Trail Signs to determine where you are permitted to ride.

What routes can I use my Side-by-Side (UTV) on?

You can use your Side-by-Side on 4×4 roads. Most Side-by-Sides are wider than 50″ and, therefore, are limited to primitive roads open to all vehicles, as well as some roads authorized for OHV use by some cities and counties. Routes open only to highway legal vehicles, as well as most county and city roads, do not permit Side-by-Sides to be ridden on them. Use your Travel Management Maps or follow the Trail Signs to determine where you are permitted to ride.

Sound Law

Where can I get tested?

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. Some motorsports dealers have sound testing equipment.

How does this affect used machines being sold at dealerships or through private parties?

The responsibility for making sure that an OHV is within the limits established by this law will rest on the purchaser/owner. 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.

How does this affect new machines being sold at dealerships?

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.

Does this mean that I don't have to worry about sound limits when riding my motocross bike on public lands?

No. Any OHV that is intended for use in closed-course competition facilities, but is used on public lands, will have to meet the sound limit when used outside of a closed-course facility on public lands.

Spark Arresters

Who decides if an exhaust has a Forest Service approved spark arrester?

The USDA Forest Service has a testing center that certifies spark arresters that are available. The list of certified spark arresters can be found here. Law enforcement officers can also check your machine.

Do I have to have a spark arrester on private land?

Similar to the sound regulations, spark arresters are only required on public lands in the state. However, it is recommended to use an approved spark arrester wherever you ride to help prevent fires and avoid liability. There may be local sound regulations, so check with the jurisdiction or Sherriff’s department.

Where can I get more information?

More information can be found in the USDA Forest Service Spark Arrester regulations.

Kids and OHVs

Can I carry my children on my ATV?

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 carrying passengers.
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), or upon public land in this state, no person shall operate an off-highway vehicle while carrying any person or riding in any position that will interfere with the operation or control of an off-highway vehicle or the view of the operator.

Where can I get OHV training for my children and/or myself?

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation and Specialty Vehicle Institute of America have established schools to train riders of all ages:
DirtBike School 2 Jenner, Suite 150 Irvine, CA 92618 
ATV Safety Institute 2 Jenner, Suite 150 Irvine, CA 92618 

Stay the Trail Program

How can I donate to Stay The Trail?

Donations to the Stay The Trail program can be made by visiting the Donations page. All donations are tax-deductible.
You can also send a check to:
Responsible Recreation Foundation, PO Box 915 Wheat Ridge, CO 80034-0915
Please note “Stay The Trail” in the memo line.

Where can I see the Stay The Trail education trailer?

The event schedule is posted on the Calendar on the website.

Who can request the trailer?

The Stay The Trail program and the education trailers are tools intended to promote the Responsible Recreation ethic. Therefore, any agency representative, club, school, or business may request the trailer for an event. Also, anyone can request materials for club events, etc. For more information, please email questions@staythetrail.org or go to the Stay The Trail Trailer page on the Stay The Trail website and fill out the Trailer Request Form.

How do I request the trailer at my event?

Please go to the Stay The Trail Trailer page on the Stay The Trail website and fill out the Trailer Request Form.

I really like the graphics you have in your brochures. Can I use them in my book, presentation, etc?

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 sam@staythetrail.org if you are interested in more information.

Hunting and Other Questions

Can I use my OHV to retrieve game during hunting season?

No. There are a few companies that make extended lines for winches or other retrieval methods, but leaving the designated motorized routes to retrieve game is not permitted on public lands.

As a disabled hunting enthusiast, are there any different rules that I need to know of concerning hunting and off-highway vehicles?

The Colorado Division of Wildlife, through accommodation permits, disability licenses and disability accommodating 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 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.
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.

We want to go ride on the Alpine Loop in Southern Colorado, but we've heard some confusing rules... What do we need to know?

Here are the regulations that you will need to be aware of when traveling the Alpine Loop:

  • You MUST have a State of Colorado OHV registration (or non-resident use permit) on your ATV to ride on public lands in Colorado. This applies to OHV’s that have a license plate from other states as well.
  • 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.
  • If you ride an unlicensed (by Colorado Law) vehicle on a State Highway, you will get, at minimum, a hefty ticket.
  • Some counties do allow for limited ATV travel on SPECIFIC, DESIGNATED portions of road… check with the local Sheriff’s department. That said, a county cannot overrule State Law on state highways (i.e. – the highway you’d have to ride to complete the loop).
  • Liability insurance is required for your OHV.
  • On the Alpine Loop, a driver’s license is required for the operator (any state, as long as its valid).
  • There is a shuttle service that will pick you and your machine up, run you through Lake City, and drop you off.
  • Black Bear Pass is not advisable on an unlicensed OHV (by Colorado Law), 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. The towns of Telluride or Ouray have begun allowing limited use of some streets for unlicensed OHVs.

Still have Questions?

I still have other questions, who can I contact?

We are constantly updating the FAQ to include additional topics. If your question is not covered, please send an email to questions@staythetrail.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.

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