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Campfire Collective Aug 9th, 2018

Off-roading in North Dakota

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Registered OHVs have literally thousands of miles of trails to explore in North Dakota. In general, OHV’s may ride on:

  • A paved county or township roadway designated and posted with a speed limit not exceeding 45 miles per hour
  • The highway right of way, bottom of the ditch or along the outslope (it is illegal to operate on the shoulder or inside slope)
  • A gravel, dirt, or loose surface roadway
  • Frozen waters where you have legal access
  • Riders should check with local law enforcement to verify riding regulations as cities and counties can pass more restrictive ordinances relating to where off-highway vehicles may be operated


Some public lands are open to OHV riding:


The Pembina Gorge State Recreation Area has become a top destination for adventure seekers throughout North Dakota and the surrounding states. Visitors can go horseback riding, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking or ride OHV’s at the Gorge. The trailhead is located 1 mile north, 1 mile west, and ¼ mile north of the beautiful Walhalla Country Club.

There is no fee to use the new multi-use trail that is designed to accommodate non-motorized and motorized traffic. This includes the three classes of OHVs – dirt bikes, four wheelers and side-by-sides – which are 60 inches wide or less. Please review the following information:

• Current Registration and Liability Insurance is required
• Open to registered Class 1, 2, 3 OHVs (Max 60” Width)
• Motorized Vehicles must be insured
• Riders and Passengers under 18 must wear a DOT approved helmet
• Ages 11 and younger cannot operate OHVs
• Ages 12-15 must have an OHV safety certificate
• Those aged 16+ must have a valid Driver’s License
• Follow trail signage
• Respect private lands adjacent to the trail
• Wear proper riding gear


Welcome to the Dakota Prairie Grasslands, where pristine vistas inspire the imagination. It’s where the rugged unspoiled beauty of the land invites exploration; and where the sights and sounds of the wide, rolling prairie stimulate the senses.

Stretching over 1,259,000 acres, the Dakota Prairie Grasslands offer visitors the opportunity to view wildlife. Elk, antelope, whitetail and mule deer, bighorn sheep , coyote, sharptail grouse, greater prairie chicken, pheasant, wild turkey, eagles, falcons, and the busy prairie dog. Some recreational opportunities available are hiking, camping, horseback riding, photography, canoeing, fishing, hunting, and backpacking.

Here riders find several hundred miles of riding opportunities. OHVs must stay on established road and trails.

Roughrider OHV Trail

The Roughrider OHV Trail is a railroad bed converted into a trail for off-highway vehicle (OHV) use all year long. It is a 16.5 mile trail which winds along the scenic Missouri River. The trail is managed by the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department, located 30 miles south of Mandan on Highway 1806. It begins at the Fort Rice Campground then travels north on an old railroad bed, ending at Little Heart Bottoms. 

It offers moderate slopes on culvert crossings and is largely made up of surface dirt, gravel, some water crossings, and has an average width of 50-55 inches.  There are many areas to pull off and rest and/or take in the views. The campground includes a picnic area, water, parking, RV hookups, telephones and restrooms. 


This 100-acre play area is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers and located 8 miles south of Bismarck.

State Forests

The North Dakota Forest Service permits limited riding in some State Forests.

While many riding opportunities exist, some restrictions areas must be noted:


  • On controlled access highways (interstates)
  • On posted or restricted public or private property and property that is regulated by local ordinances
  • In any State Park, State Recreation Area, Historic Site or Wildlife Protection and Management area
  • In any tree nursery or planting area
  • On any frozen water in a restricted area or where there is no legal access
  • Railroad right of ways
  • On motorized trails designed and leased for snowmobiles

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