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Campfire Collective Dec 20th, 2018

Off-Roading in Idaho

off-roading atv trail through trees woods forest

IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF PARKS & RECREATION MOTORIZED TRAILS PROGRAM

The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) began the Motorized Trails Program in 1970. It’s aim was to provide quality off-roading for motorized recreation enthusiasts. The IDPR provides maintenance, education, and enforcement of rules to ensure safety to those who use the trails. The Motorized Trails Program provides leadership statewide in the area of OHV recreation.

The Program works with land managers to provide maintenance on designated trails, develop new opportunities, provide safety and education classes. Keeping trails accessible to users is the number one priority of the Trail Ranger program. Their goal is to open the most miles of trail in a season while at the same time improving the trail system so all users can enjoy Idaho’s trails.  These trails are serviced by the Trail Ranger program. Idaho has one of the largest trail systems in the United States. The Motorized Trails program works with land managers annually to obtain a list of trails that are in need of light maintenance. 

Thanks to OHV certificate of number fees, an online trail mapping program allows you to browse the entire state of Idaho for motorbike, ATV, UTV and jeep trails. You can calculate distances, download and print maps or export your trail map to Google Earth or GPS.

IDPR Motorized Trails Program

The Online Trail Mapping Program provides the public access to all trails available in Idaho so they can better plan their OHV excursions.

Notable off-road parks in Idaho

ELK CITY HISTORIC WAGON ROAD


Elk City Historic Wagon Road is located between Harpster and Elk City. Vehicles allowed on the road include street-legal ATVs, motorbikes, UTVs, and fill-size vehicles. Hours of operation run from late June through to September with snow at higher elevations by the autumn. There is no charge for admission.

Along the Wagon Road you’ll see 29 historic points of interest pertaining to early Idaho’s mining pioneers.

There are no official campgrounds along the route. However camping is allowed if you wish to pitch a tent along the road during your journey.

It’s a good idea to pack plenty of food, water, bug spray, a map, and enough gas to complete the journey.

ST. ANTHONY SAND DUNES


St. Anthony Sand Dunes rise up to 400 feet above the valley floor in St. Anthony, 50 miles northwest of Idaho Falls. The dunes are extremely popular with off-roading enthusiasts. There are plenty of camping and lodging facilities in the area. There are plenty of places to find food and drink. Leave glass containers at home, as they are not allowed on the dunes. Make sure you stick to marked roads and trails.

St. Anthony Sand Dunes are located in St. Anthony.  Allowed vehicles include ATVs, dune buggies, and motorcycles. Cost of admission is free however you require a safety flag and an Idaho OHV sticker.

MACKAY’S MINE HILL TOUR


Idaho was a great mining state back in the day. This off-road trail helps you discover the rich history of the Gem State’s mining industry.  Located in Mackay, Mackay’s Mine Hill Tour combines history with off-road fun in a forested environment. This self-guided tour travels by historically productive gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc mines. It has three loops totaling approximately 30 miles. There are no services, so make sure you pack everything you will need before you head out.

Cost of adminission is free and allowed vehicles include ATV’s and motorcycles.

BIG SOUTHERN BUTTE


The Craters of the Moon National Monument offers some of the most breathtaking landscapes in all of Idaho. Located in Arco, Big Southern Butte is a mountain slap bang in the middle of the desert. It features one of the largest volcanic domes in the world. Naturally, it’s the ideal place for an off-road park. It comprises 68 miles through terrain owned by the Bureau of Land Management and adjacent to Craters of the Moon. This long route might require you to refuel along the way. Make sure you take spare gas to avoid getting stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Cost of admission is free and allowed vehicles include ATVs.

Trail Ranger Program

The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) Trail Ranger Program is funded by Idaho OHV certification fees. It aims to increase, maintain, and improving the seemingly endless Iadho trail system.

Trail Rangers ensure that downfall is removed from existing trails, water is turned out, and other debris is removed. By making these trails accessible and available to trail users, the Program ensures that environmental impacts are minimized. It also ensures that users have space to enjoy the trails without overcrowding. The Program allows trails to be open year-round for the enjoyment of outdoor enthusiasts.

The IDPR provides basic shelter to Trail Rangers. This includes includes a sheltered sleeping area, cooking facilities, a clean drinkable source of water, showers, and refrigeration for food. 

Want to be a Trail Ranger in Idaho?

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