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Snowmobiling in Iowa

Renewal Period for Registrations [Sept 1 - Dec 31]

The renewal period for snowmobile registrations without penalty is September 1st through December 31st, annually.

Be sure to register your snowmobile, annually.
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:

Snowmobiles which have been entered into RVVRS may be renewed either 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.

Ready to hit the trail?
Both resident and nonresident user permits are available at County Recorder’s Office and any license agent that sells hunting and fishing licenses. For those listed within the RVVRS system you may also purchase Iowa Resident User Permits via our the Iowa DNR Online License and Registration site.

Additional Snowmobile Information

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
Operator Incident Report Form: 542-8093



The Iowa DNR is authorized to approve a club or individual to hold an organized special event (an organized race, exhibition, or demonstration of limited duration which is conducted according to a prearranged schedule and in which general public interest is manifested) within the state if the event is scheduled to be held on public land or public ice under the jurisdiction of the Natural Resource Commission. The DNR shall designate the equipment and facilities necessary for the safe operation of vehicles and for the safety of operators, participants, and observers.

Residents participating in a special event must display a current registration and user permit decal on their vehicles  Nonresidents must display a valid, Iowa nonresident user permit on their vehicles. If permitted by the DNR, registration requirements can be waived for participants if they are operating within the boundaries of the event and register with the sponsor. 

For clarification on when a Special Event Permit is needed and how vehicle registration requirements are applicable, applicants are encouraged to speak with their local Conservation Officer prior to submitting their application. 

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

For more information, contact DNR Customer Service: 515-725-8200 or

The State of Iowa offers financial assistance through the Iowa Snowmobile Program for the development and maintenance of snowmobile trails. This program is funded from snowmobile registration fees and use permits. Incorporated private organizations, cities, and counties are eligible to apply for these grants.

Effective September 5, 2017, administration of this grant program has been assigned to the Iowa State Snowmobile Association. Seventy percent of the revenue deposited into the snowmobile fund by the state treasury will be used by the association for the purposes of providing access to trails and the purchase and upkeep of the grooming fleet.

The Iowa State Snowmobile Association is required to develop forms, rules, scoring criteria, and the timeframes for the grant program. A cooperative contract between the DNR and ISSA is in place to provide oversight of the use of state money by ISSA.

For more information about changes to the program, please go to

Rules and Regulations

Snowmobile Education

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

This regulation applies to both resident and nonresident riders.

Snowmobile Safety