ATV rider looking at posted maps within an OHV park


Iowa All-Terrain Vehicle and Off-Highway Motorcycle Riding Areas

Many Iowans enjoy riding Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) for recreation. Iowa has several OHV riding parks, many of which are managed by associations or municipal/county governments. The DNR provides law enforcement assistance for these areas. Riders should familiarize themselves with the laws and follow safety guidelines for OHVs in Iowa to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.


Rules and Regulations

Designated On-road Routes
Designated on-road routes are authorized by the authority of a local county or city. These ordinances determine location, equipment specifications, and other requirements. Check with the local authorities for more information about a specific designated on-road route.

For more general information about county designated on-road routes, the Iowa State Association of Counties is an available resource. For more information, contact Lucas Beenken, Public Policy Specialist, 515-369-7016, lbeenken@iowacounties.org

Resident machines must display a valid, current Iowa DNR registration decal and the registration certificate must be on the operator or machine.

Nonresident machines must display a valid Iowa DNR nonresident user permit on the machine. If the home state requires registration, this must also be displayed on the machine.


Alerts and Closures
OHV parks are open year round. Alerts are only posted when limited use or closure is required.

Search for Park: Sort Reverse
Gypsum City OHV Park - Webster County
  • Park Status: PARK CLOSED
  • Reason:Wet trail conditions
  • Details:
  • Posted: 5/24/2022 9:48:59 PM
 
Nicholson-Ford OHV Park - Marshall County
  • Park Status: PARK CLOSED
  • Reason:Severe Storm Damage
  • Details: The Nicholson-Ford OHV Park is closed until further notice. Severe storm damage from the derecho toppled almost every tree. We are working to get a professional on-site to help us develop a plan for clean-up and reopening. Updates for the status of the park will be posted on this page. For your own safety, please do not attempt to ride in or access the park. It is signed closed and all attempts to access the area will be considered trespassing.
  • Posted: 5/1/2021 12:28:55 PM
 
River Valley OHV Park - Pottawattamie County
  • Park Status: PARK CLOSED
  • Reason:Trail Hazards
  • Details: River Valley will remain closed while the Iowa Department of Natural Resources conducts a thorough review of the area to determine safe recreational activities that best fit the landscape on the Missouri River floodplain, given the area’s history of flooding and tree damage. In recent years the public area has sustained continued and extensive damage to its trees, OHV trails and levy from flooding and fire. The DNR understands that River Valley’s location next to a large population center makes it a valuable outdoor resource for the area. With that said, public safety is the top priority, and the DNR will work with local partners to determine future recreational activities that can be conducted in a safe manner.
  • Posted: 3/23/2021 8:13:27 AM
 
Tama County OHV Park - Tama County
  • Park Status: PARK CLOSED
  • Reason:Severe Storm Damage
  • Details: The Tama OHV Park is closed until further notice. Severe storm damage from the derecho toppled almost every tree. We are working to get a professional on-site to help us develop a plan for clean-up and reopening. Updates for the status of the park will be posted on this page. For your own safety, please do not attempt to ride in or access the park. It is signed closed and all attempts to access the area will be considered trespassing.
  • Posted: 1/18/2022 8:08:13 AM
 
Online ATV Course

Iowa ATV Safety Course - Get Started Now


ATV riders in the state of Iowa (resident as well as nonresident) who are ages 12 through 17 are required to have taken, and passed, an ATV education course and have an education certificate in their possession when riding on public land, public ice, and designated ATV trails, if these areas are signed open to ATV use.





Registration is not required for the following machines:

Owned by the United States, this state, or another state, or by a governmental subdivision thereof, and used for enforcement, search and rescue, or official research and studies, but not for recreational or commercial purposes.

  • ATVs - The decal shall be affixed to the rear of the ATV so that the decal is clearly visible.
  • ORMs - The decal shall be affixed to the yoke of the steering column so that it is clearly visible without obstructing the vehicle identification number.
  • ORVs - The decal shall be affixed to the rear of the vehicle so that the decal is clearly visible.

Visit our Recreational Dealer Registration page to learn more about becoming an OHV dealer and to find the appropriate application.

Economic Impact of OHV Recreation in Iowa

The Iowa Off-highway Vehicle Association (IOHVA) will be conducting an updated economic impact study of OHV recreation in Iowa. The last study was completed in 2007. 

A total of 1,500 surveys will be sent to registered owners of OHVs, with a breakdown of 500 for all-terrain vehicle owners, 500 for off-road motorcycle owners, and 500 for off-road utility vehicle (side-by-sides) owners.

This information will be valuable for showing where OHV money is invested in counties driving economic development, useful information for informed legislative decisions, and details needed when applying for grants for the OHV Program.

This survey is being completed by the IOHVA. For more information or if you have questions, please contact Justin Rath, President, at rath_justin@yahoo.com


Bluff Creek OHV Park

Bluff Creek OHV Park

Look for the Alerts and Closures section on this page for park status updates.


Eddyville, Iowa (SW of Oskaloosa)
Managed by Iowa Partners of NOHVCC
Dale Witzenberg, 641-670-0240
Open to ATV and Off-road Motorcycle Use

Located in Mahaska County southwest of Oskaloosa. This is a 350-acre park with most of the area accessible for riding. The area is an abandoned coal mine that has been developed into a riding area. There are approximately 20 miles of trails, steep hill climbs, deep pits, and four motorcross tracks. One track is dedicated to novice and beginning riders. One track is extremely challenging and is often called the "gravity cavity".

The park is open year round, but is closed when weather or trail conditions do not permit riding.

Thirteen primitive camping sites are available, with flush toilets, shower stalls, and water spigots.

A current registration is required for Iowa residents and a nonresident user permit is required for out-of-state riders. If registration is required in the nonresident home state, it must be displayed on the machine. The park is not currently signed open to ORV, or side-by-side, use.

Amenities Within park:
Camping - Nonelectric, Fishing, Parking, Picnic Shelter, Restrooms, Showers

River Valley OHV Park

Along the Missouri River in Council Bluffs
Managed by the DNR

THE PARK REMAINS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

The OHV park will remain closed until further notice. Fire and several flooding events have occurred which has delayed addressing hazards. Cleanup work can only take place between November and March due to the Indiana Bat being present in the area. This, coupled with the weather conditions, has created a challenge for the DNR to find a time for potential contractors to evaluate the area on-site in safe conditions and form a plan of removal of the debris. The park has signage posted and all use of the park is restricted. Any violators will be charged with trespassing.

Tama County OHV Park

Tama OHV Park

Look for the Alerts and Closures section on this page for park status updates.


Tama, Iowa
Managed by Club S.P.O.R.T.
http://www.clubsporttama.com/

This 300-acre park is located in Tama County which features tight, wooded trails with some hills, a 15-mile perimeter trail, a kids' track, and a motorcross track. Camping features 10 electric campsites and 13 primitive campsites. This park is open to off-road motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle, and off-road utility vehicle use.

Park is open year round, except when weather or trail conditions do not permit riding.

Residents must display a current registration decal on their machine. Out-of-state riders must display a nonresident user permit. If the nonresident lives in a state which requires vehicle registration, then this machine must also display a current registration decal from the home state.

Gypsum City OHV Park

Gypsum OHV Park

Look for the Alerts and Closures section on this page for park status updates.


Fort Dodge, Iowa (SE of Fort Dodge)
Managed by Webster County Conservation Board
515-576-4258
Open to ATV, ORM, and ORV Use

The Gypsum City OHV Park is located on the southeast corner of Fort Dodge. The park is approximately 800 acres in size and includes 60 miles of trails for use by ATVs, side-by-sides, and off-road motorcycles. The park also includes a 1.5 mile motocross track, a .4 mile kids' track, and a beginner circle track. Trails within the park range from open prairie for novice riders to heavily timbered areas for more advanced riders and include water crossings and mudding areas. Trail head signs within the park will indicate what machines are allowed on certain trails.

An informational kiosk is located in the parking lot and at each phase entrance to help riders navigate the park. Some trails in the park have been closed and rerouted to improve riding experience.

Park amenities include an open shelter with picnic tables and grill, men's and women's restrooms, and fishing ponds.

Just in time for your summer planning, the campground at Gypsum City OHV Park is open for business. To reserve a camp site, go to www.mycountyparks.com. The campground offers both full-hook up and electric sites. Site amenities include water, electricity, sewer, picnic table, and grill. A men’s and women’s shower/restroom is also available. The campground will be open April 15 - October 15 annually.

A current registration is required for Iowa residents and a nonresident user permit is required for out-of-state riders. If registration is required in the nonresident home state, it must be displayed on the machine. The park's official sign plan has been implemented. These signs indicate trail numbering, difficulty ratings, and vehicle-use type. As always, we encourage rider responsibility and assessment of abilities when choosing trails to enjoy.

Tremendous effort has been invested in developing this riding area. Please stay on marked trails and follow all posted signs.

Gypsum City OHV Park is located 2 miles southeast of Fort Dodge. To get to the park from U.S. Highway 20, take exit 124 north (P59). Go west on Mill Road, the park will be on your left.

For campground reservations: www.mycountyparks.com

Amenities Within park:
Fishing, Parking, Picnic Shelter, Pit Toilets

Lakeview OHV Park

Lakeview OHV Park

Look for the Alerts and Closures section on this page for park status updates.


Solon, Iowa (North of Iowa City)
Managed by Lakeview Off-Road Riders
Marck Dudrey, 319-936-0045, info@lakeviewohv.com

The Lakeview OHV park has 160 acres of varying terrain. The park features an "A" level motorcross practice track, a "B" level motorcross practice track, an off-road utility vehicle practice track, a pit bike track, and two kiddie tracks. The tracks are designed to be used by both motorcycles and ATVs. There is also a very extensive trail network consisting of sand trails, mud trails, hard pack trails, some hill climbs, and single-track trails. There are restrooms on site. No camping is permitted. There are multiple state and federal campsites within a five mile radius of the park. The cities of Ely and Solon are each within five miles of the park and both communities offer places for food, fuel, and dining. Cedar Raids and Iowa City offer overnight accommodations. Park closes at dusk. Helmets are mandatory.

The park is open year round, with the exception of when weather and trail conditions do not permit riding.

Residents are required to display a current registration decal. Out-of-state riders are required to display a nonresident user permit. If the nonresident is from a state which requires vehicle registrations, then a current registration decal from the home state must also be displayed.

The Lakeview OHV park offers something for everyone. From the beginning rider to the advanced rider, there is enough variety to keep things interesting for all skill levels. The park is maintained throughout the year to keep the riding area as safe as possible.

Amenities Within park:
Parking, Pit Toilets

Riverview OHV Park

River View OHV Park

Look for the Alerts and Closures section on this page for park status updates.


Waterloo, Iowa
Managed by Trailblazers Off-road Club
http://www.trailblazersoffroadclub.com/

This is a 180-acre park located in Black Hawk County along the Cedar River, which allows for scenic riverside trails. The park has two motorcross tracks, a four-mile perimeter track, and a pee wee track. ATVs, ORMs, and side-by-sides no wider than 65" are allowed to operate at the park.

Park is open year round, except when weather or trail conditions do not permit riding.

Resident operators must have a current registration decal displayed properly on the machine. Out-of-state riders must have a nonresident user permit affixed to their machine. If a nonresident lives in a state which requires registration, then their machine must also have a current registration decal from their home state affixed to the machine.

Amenities Within park:
Parking, Picnic Shelter, Pit Toilets

Rathbun OHV Park

Rathbun OHV Park

Look for the Alerts and Closures section on this page for park status updates.


Plano, Iowa
(SW arm of Lake Rathbun off of Highway 142)
Managed by South Central Dirt Riders
scdrrohva@gmail.com

The 125-acre Rathbun Off-Highway Vehicle Area (ROHVA) is located at 14230 Highway S70 in the northwest corner of Appanoose County. Established in an abandoned rock quarry in 1993, the park provides riders of registered ATVs, UTVs, and dirt bikes an impeccable riding experience for novice and seasoned riders alike. Trails, consisting of dirt and rock, follow the lay of the land meandering around trees, rocks, hills, and along the lakeshore. Most are wide enough to accommodate off-road utility vehicles. Trails for leisurely cruising or testing the skills of advanced riders await visitors to the park. ROHVA also features a practice track and a tot lot, which is fenced as a separate area for safety and can be monitored by parents.

Helmets and current registrations are required to ride at the park. Decals must be affixed to the vehicle and registrations must be on the operator or the machine. Nonresidents can use the park with display of a current nonresident user permit.Passengers are only allowed on vehciles designed by the manufacturer to carry passengers, and vehicles cannot have more passengers than safety restraints, which are also required. Passengers in an ORV must be at least 10 years of age.

The park is open year-round except for closure due to weather or trail conditions that do not permit riding, particularly during wet periods and whent the frost is coming out of the trails.

Amenities Within park:
Two shelters with picnic tables, two water hydrants, vault toilet, unloading/loading ramp, parking

Amenities close to park:
Lodging (Honey Creek Resort, cabins, hotels), camping, gas/fuel, food, restaurants

Nicholson-Ford OHV Park

Look for the Alerts and Closures section on this page for park status updates.

Marshalltown, Iowa
Managed by Iowa River OHV Club

Nicholson-Ford ia a 120-acre off-highway vehicle park open to off-road motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and off-road utility vehicles. There are approximately 20 miles of tight, river-bottom, wooded trails for your enjoyment.

A current registration is required for Iowa residents and a nonresident user permit is required for out-of-state riders. If registration is required in the nonresident home state, it must be displayed on the machine.

Purchase from a Dealer:
Dealers are required to collect the registration and title fees for a machine that is required to be registered. The dealer will issue to the purchaser a placard bearing the words "registration applied for" and space for the purchase date. The placard entitles the purchaser to operate the machine for 45 days immediately following the purchase while the registration is being processed.

Purchase by private sale:
The purchaser of a machine with a valid registration may operate it for 30 days immediately following the purchase without having completed a transfer of registration. If the registration is expired, the machine must be registered prior to operating the machine in areas where a registration is required.

ALL MACHINES THAT ARE REGISTERED ARE REQUIRED TO BE TITLED. IF A LIEN IS PLACED ON A MACHINE, THAT MACHINE MUST BE TITLED. ONCE A MACHINE IS TITLED, IT IS ALWAYS TITLED.

  • All new registrations - $17.75
  • Renewals - $17.75
  • Iowa DNR Nonresident User Permits - $17.75
  • Duplicate registrations - $7.75
  • Titles - $11.50
  • Liens - $ 11.50

The ANNUAL renewal period for registrations without penalty is September 1st through December 31st.

Be sure to register your OHV. All newly owned machines, or machines not yet entered into the recreational vehicle and vessel registration system (RVVRS), must be registered through the County Recorder’s Office in the owner’s county of residence.

To register you will need:

Off-Highway Vehicles which have been entered into RVVRS may be renewed through a County Recorder's Office or the Iowa DNR Online License and Registration site. You will need to provide your DNR customer number, which is printed on your vehicle registration.

Iowa DNR Nonresident User permits can be purchased through the Iowa DNR Online License System. Permits purchased online will be delivered via USPS mail in 5 - 10 business days.


DNR Online License and Registration Sales:

  • Registration renewals for ATVs, ORVs, and ORMs may be renewed through the Iowa DNR Online License System.
  • Registration and decal will be delivered via USPS mail delivery in 5 - 10 business days.

The State of Iowa administers a grant program for the acquisition and development of all-terrain vehicles (ATV), off-road motorcycles (ORM), and off-road utility vehicles (ORV) trails and the upkeep and maintenance of designated OHV parks in the state. This program is funded from vehicle registration fees. Fees are placed into an account and can be used for the development of riding areas, trail maintenance, equipment purchases, operation and maintenance of sites and equipment, insurance, and land acquisition.

Who May Apply?

  • Political subdivisions
  • Incorporated private organizations

When to Apply
ATV applications (1 original, 5 copies if submitting paper copies and one original if submitting electronic copies) must be received in the DNR offices on or before the close of business (4:30 pm) on February 1st annually.

How to Apply 
Applications are provided below.
Mail to:
OHV Program
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
502 E. 9th Street
Des Moines, IA  50319

Whenever an ATV, ORM, or ORV is involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to any person or property damage amounting to $1,500 or more, the operator of the vehicle or a person acting for the operator shall immediately notify the county sheriff or another law enforcement agency in the state.

If the accident occurred on public land, a designated riding area, a designated riding trail, or ice under the jurisdiction of the Natural Resource Commission, the operator shall file a report of the accident with the Department of Natural Resources within 72 hours. The report shall be on DNR Form 542-8093.

All reports shall be submitted to the Iowa DNR State Parks Bureau, 502 E 9th Street, Des Moines, Iowa, 50319-0034, and shall include a full description of the collision, occurrence, or other casualty. If you have any questions, please call the DNR Des Moines Office at 515-725-8200.

Operator Incident Report Form: 542-8093

ATV riders in the state of Iowa who are ages 12 through 17 are required to have taken and passed an ATV education course and have an education certificate in their possession when riding on public land, public ice, and designated riding areas and trails, if these areas are signed open to ATV use. This also applies to nonresident riders. The focus of the DNR ATV Education Program is to provide an education course that reduces the rate of accidents, injuries, property damage, and fatalities, while at the same time promoting the development of environmental stewards by educating our students about environmental concerns, energy conservation and proper maintenance of ATVs, and promoting the practice of only riding in legal areas and with landowner permission. ATVCourse.com The DNR has collaborated with Fresh Air Educators to make an online certification offering available for the ATV Education Program. The curriculum underwent a thorough review with industry leaders as well as representatives from numerous state agencies responsible for ATV safety education. State-specific information regarding riding opportunities, laws, and regulations is a component of the course.

This is a managed course which features interactive exercises for students as well as narrated content to assist with different learning styles. The study guide is free to all users, as well as Chapter 1 of the course. In order to progress past Chapter 1, students will be required to register for the course. The course fee is $34.95, which includes the $5 DNR fee for the education certificate. Students must pass a chapter quiz in order to progress to the next chapter and must pass a final exam with 80% accuracy to earn their certificate. There is no riding component for this course.

Topics covered by the course include, but are not limited to, parts of the machine and how they work, riding positions and when to use them, safety gear, personal responsibility, and conservation principles.

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to download their ATV Education Certificate and be ready to hit the trails. Students must be 12 or older to earn their ATV education certificate through ATVCourse.com.


When individuals and groups want to use public land and water for events, they must apply for use of that resource through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. These events are compiled by the Special Events System and are displayed on a calendar of events and can be searched by type, location, and date.

To find events which may be of interest to you, please go to https://programs.iowadnr.gov/specialevents/.

The Department may authorize the holding of organized special events at the designated OHV parks as defined in Iowa Code Chapter 321I. The Department shall issue permits which address the conduct of special events and shall designate the equipment and facilities necessary for the safe operation of OHVs and for the safety of operators, participants, and observers in the special events. Endurance races, head-to-head competition, and nonmotorized events will not be permitted. A special event shall not be conducted without written authorization of the Department.

Residents participating in a special event must display a current registration on their vehicles. Nonresidents must display a valid, Iowa nonresident user permit on their vehicles.

At least 30 days before the scheduled date of a special event, an application must be filed with the DNR using the Special Events web-based application found at https://programs.iowadnr.gov/specialevents/.

For more information, contact DNR Customer Service: 515-725-8200 or webmaster@dnr.iowa.gov.

Iowa DNR Nonresident User Permits - $17.50