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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.

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. 

ATV Education Courses

Iowa's OHV Parks
ATV and Off-road Motorcycle Use:

Bluff Creek OHV Park, Mahaska Co, SW of Oskaloosa 

ATV, ORM and ORV Use:

Gypsum City OHV Park, Webster Co., SE of Fort Dodge

Lakeview OHV Park, Johnson Co., N of Iowa City

Rathbun OHV Park, Appanoose County, SW arm of Lake Rathbun, IA

River Valley OHV Park, Pottawattamie Co, Along MO River, Council Bluffs 

Riverview OHV Park, Black Hawk Co., Waterloo, IA

Tama County OHV Park, Tama Co., S of Tama, Hwy 63

Additional OHV Information

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.

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  


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

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

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


What is this Program?  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 in both a Word and a PDF format (see links below). Mail to: OHV Program Iowa Department of Natural Resources 502 E. 9th Street Des Moines, IA  50319 All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Grant Application All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Grant Application (requires Adobe Acrobat Pro X)

Example ATV Park Development Plan Example ATV Park Development Plan

ATV Grant Rules

Annual Report

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

Rules and Regulations

OHV Reference Guide
OHV Park Rules

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,


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

Search for Park: Sort Reverse
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