There are 1.2 million beautiful acres of the Black Hills National Forest in western South Dakota. And off-road enthusiasts can access and enjoy many thousands of those acres by using the Black Hills National Forest Motorized Trail System – consisting of 3,157 miles of roads and 707 miles of trails for ATV, UTV and other off-road riders. Included are 90 miles of single-track trails for motorcycles, 347 miles of trails for vehicles 62 inches and less in width in South Dakota and 72 miles of trails for vehicles 50 inches and less in width in Wyoming. There is also 148 miles of trails open to all. The system incorporates a large number of looped trails and includes parking access from 20 trailheads.
It is important to obtain the most current Black Hills Forest Service map when you come to the Black Hills to ride. The map is updated annually to correct mapping errors, add newly constructed motorized trails or remove motorized trails that are in timber sale areas. Routes are not always signed on the ground, but will be identified on the map. It is your responsibility to stay on the designated trails.
With the Motorized Trail System, the Black Hills National Forest is closed to cross-country travel unless designated open, meaning it is illegal for most users to travel off the designated trails.
The Black Hills National Forest encourages all motorized users to follow the Tread Lightly!
Pledge: Travel and recreate with minimum impact. Respect the environment and the rights of others; Educate yourself – plan and prepare before you go. Allow for future use of the outdoors – leave it better than you found it. Discover the rewards of responsible recreation.
ATVs in South Dakota are governed by state motorcycle law. There is no minimum age or license for off-road drivers; however, manufacturer’s operator guidelines should be followed. On-the-road drivers need a valid drivers license and a licensed ATV. ATV use is prohibited on the interstate highway system.
The downloadable 2012 Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) and related documents and files, including a question and answer sheet, searchable legend and map text, and other user aids or by visiting on the motor vehicle use map (MVUM) section on the Black Hills National Forest website.
Trail system fees are $20 a week per vehicle or $25 for an annual pass. Motorized trail permits to use the system in 2012 are available at Forest Service offices, outlets and online.
Forest Service offices are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. For folks arriving during the weekend, permits are available at Black Hills Visitor Information Center, located at I-90, Exit 61. Hours at the visitor center are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily year-round. During the summer season, hours are from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Hill City Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center on Hwy. 16 also has permits available.
A permit is required on each vehicle on the trail system, and all motorized trail permits are non-refundable and non-transferable. A free map is provided with each permit purchased.
Users should check with their local Forest Service office if they have further questions about the map and/or permits.
Another popular riding area for dirt biking and ATV riding is located on the north edge of the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, south of Farmingdale. The dirt bluffs and grassy knobs at the Railroad Buttes ORV Area are filled with challenging trails and jumps. Go only when it's dry; in wet weather this area is a quagmire of slippery, super-sticky clay that locals call "gumbo."
For further information please examine the rules for off-highway vehicles in South Dakota state parks.
For OTV riding in Buffalo Gap National Grasslands & other area National Grasslands.
You can also check out information posted by the local off-road organization.