I am heading out to the Black Hills in mid June fora week ofriding with some friends. I found a little info:
More than 90 percent of the Black Hills National Forest is open to some form of ATV and Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) travel. ATVs are also welcome in South Dakota state parks and, if registered and licensed, it is legal to ride ATVs on most South Dakota Roads. In short, the Black Hills is a very friendly place for ATV riders.
Moreover, the Black Hills has something for virtually every type of ATV user. Some trails have even been groomed with bumps, whoops and hills for the extreme recreational riders. In addition most US Forest Service roads are open to ATV travel and a significant portion of the hills is open for off-road use. So if your thing is climbing boulders and trees off in some remote location, you'll find that too.
There are some caveats, however:
The good news is that even with these restrictions, there's about a million acres where you can ride. Here's the rest of the good news:
- Not all of the Black Hills is open to wheeled and/or motorized travel. The large Black Elk Wilderness area is closed to all but hikers -- not even a baby stroller is permitted. Other areas are closed to motorized travel.
- Most hiking and bridal trails are closed to motorized traffic, although they may be open to cyclists.
- Some wildlife or other forest management areas may be closed seasonally. A few are closed all year. In some areas ATV travel is restricted to marked roads only.
- National parks are closed to off-road ATV use: You may, however, ride on the highway through Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands if your ATV is licensed.
- As with all public lands, motorized vehicles must be equipped with spark arrestors.
- Finally there is a great deal of private land interspersed throughout the Black Hills National Forest. Private land is often posted with "NO TRESPASSING" signs. Private land owners generally guard their rights jealously.
For additional information you may contact the following:
Information about most of the Black Hills Forest:
- ATV's may be used on most roads and highways as long as the ATV is registered and licensed. This mostly applies to South Dakota residents. If you live in a state where ATV's cannot be licensed for road use, your ATV may not be used on roads in South Dakota. (ATV's may not be used on Interstate Highways or other marked high-speed roadways.) Certain optional equipment and a minimum size of 200cc is required for ATV licensed in South Dakota.
- A driver's license is not required to operate an ATV unless the ATV is operated on a public roadway, then a standard driver's license is required. The rider need not have a motorcycle endorsement to ride four-wheeled ATVs.
- Visitors at most South Dakota State Parks must have licenses on both South Dakota and out-of-state vehicles. A valid park entrance license is also required. If an ATV is not licensed and/or does not have a valid park entrance license, then the vehicle must remain in the truck or on the trailer.
- ATVs operated in state parks must be equipped with a horn, mirror, headlight, brake light, brakes and a license plate.
- All operators must be 14 years of age or older and possess a valid driver's license.
- Park visitors can only operate vehicles on designated park roads in South Dakota state parks and recreation areas or in the state ORV area.
- Park visitors are not allowed to operate vehicles on paved or unpaved trails or on shorelines or beaches.
- Drivers must obey all traffic regulations.
- Eye protection is required of all users on public/park roads unless a windshield is in place.
- Helmets are required of all users under 18 years of age on public/park roads.
Black Hills National Forest Service Office
25041 N. Highway 16, Custer, SD 57730
Phone: (605) 673-9200
The Forest Service publishes an excellent map of the entire Black Hills with various roads and restricted areas clearly marked. The map is free and available at most ATV dealers in the area. Copies are also available at Forest Service offices and at the address above.
Information about South Dakota state lands:
South Dakota Game Fish and Parks
523 East Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501
Parks and Recreation information 605) 773-3391
Wildlife Division -- Wildinfo@state.sd.us
Parks and Recreation -- ParkInfo@state.sd.us
Custer State Park-- CusterStatePark@state.sd.us
Buffalo Gap National Grassland
Phone: (605) 745-4107
Custer National Forest
Phone: (605) 797-4432