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Snowmobiling State Laws and Rules

A group of snowmobilers smiling All states have laws and rules regarding the operation of snowmobiles. The following is a state-by-state summary of these rules. For the latest information on local laws and rules, please contact or visit the state association's web sites.

Alaska

Trail Permits are not required for out of state snowmobilers. Snowmobiles do not require insurance. Helmets not mandatory. Limited roads open. You may not ride road shoulders and ditches. No specified speed limits. Point of Sale Registration Required - $10.00 for 2 years. Decals & Registration # Required. Alaska Department of Recreation website: http://dnr.alaska.gov

Arizona

There are 500 miles of groomed trails in Arizona. The Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is the issuing agency for the OHV decal, certificates of title, registrations, and license plates. Arizona Law requires all vehicles used off highway and meeting the criteria listed below to display an off-highway vehicle decal.
Criteria (All three requirements must be met.):
  • The vehicle is designed by the manufacturer primarily for travel over unimproved terrain.
  • The vehicle has an unladen weight of eighteen hundred pounds or less.
  • The vehicle has been issued an Arizona license plate. Arizona DOT website: http://servicearizona.com

California/Nevada

There are 1,800 miles of groomed trails in California and Nevada. Trail permits are not required for out of state snowmobilers. All roads are open for snowmobilers to use. Road shoulders & road ditches are not open for snowmobilers. Helmets are not required. There are no posted speed limits. 15 mph speed limit in congested areas around lodges. Snowmobiles must be licensed or purchase a non-resident permit if your state does not require licensing (i.e. Nevada). Registration Fee: $21 for two years.
https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/

Colorado

There are over 2,700 miles of trails in Colorado. Snowmobile registrations are required for residents, which is the same as non-residents at $30.25 per sled. Out-of-state residents who bring snowmobiles into Colorado must purchase a Colorado Non-Resident Snowmobile permit which is valid from the date of purchase through the following Sept. 30. These permits can be purchased via mail in request or ordered online. Since this is only a use permit, no renewal notice will be sent to non-resident permit holders; you must purchase a new permit each year you come to Colorado with your snowmobile. Colorado State Parks website:
http://cpw.state.co.us

Idaho

There are 7,200 miles of groomed trails in Idaho. Trail permits are required for out of state snowmobilers, which cost $22.50. For more information on trail permits, contact: Parks & Recreation, Attention Snowmobile Registration, P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0065. All roads are not open to snowmobilers. Snowmobilers are not allowed to ride the road shoulders and ditches, unless the county or city permits it. Registration Fee: $22.50 a year. Idaho Parks and Recreation website:
https://idpr.idaho.gov/Renewal/Default.aspx

Illinois

There are 2,500 miles of groomed trails in Illinois. Trail Permits are not required for out of state snowmobilers but registration from the state of residence is. All roads are not open for snowmobilers. Snowmobilers are allowed to ride within 10 feet of the paved roadway only when crossing a bridge or culvert or allowed by local ordinance. May legally ride in the road ditches of most roadways. Helmets are not required. No posted speed limits. Snowmobiles must have adequate mufflers and operating brake lights. DUI Law is the same as for automobiles; the blood alcohol content limit is .08. Registration Fee: $30 for three years.
https://www.dnr.illinois.gov

Indiana

Indiana snowmobile trails are provided through the cooperation of local snowmobile clubs, the Indiana Snowmobilers Association, and Indiana Snowmobilers Association the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

The snowmobile trails are open in December, January, February, and March when snow conditions are adequate and the trails are posted as "open." There are trailheads at each trail for parking vehicles and trailers. Only registered snowmobiles may be used on the trails. The Department of Natural Resources' Indiana Snowmobile Trails Program is completely funded by snowmobile registration fees; law enforcement activities, including the Snowmobile Safety Course, are also funded by the registration fees. The cost of registering a snowmobile in Indiana is $30.00 for 3 years.

Snowmobile Trail Regulations
Most trails have been leased from private landowners for public use. Continued use of the trail depends upon your cooperation in following these regulations:
  1. Snowmobile trails are open from December 1st to March 31st only when the trail is posted as "open."
  2. All snowmobiles must be registered.
  3. The use of trails by wheeled vehicles is strictly prohibited.
  4. Stay on the trail; leaving the marked trail is trespassing, and you can be prosecuted.
  5. All Indiana Snowmobile Laws (Indiana Code 14-16-1) must be obeyed.
Snowmobiling on county roads is allowed in some counties. The sheriff's office of each county can provide up-to-date information on its snowmobiling laws. Some trails may use county roads as part of the trail. All road laws, including holding a valid drives license, must be obeyed.

Snowmobile Trail Conditions
Indiana Snowmobilers Association Hotline
574-679-4006
Available 24 hours a day, after the first good snowfall; updated as trail conditions change. DNR website:
http://www.in.gov/dnr

Iowa

There are 8,000 miles of groomed trails in Iowa. Registration Fee: $15 annually. Out-of-state trail passes required at $15 each. According the DNR, you will be able to purchase license, trail passes, and other states trail passes at electronic licensing agents in Iowa. i.e. Walmart, local hardware store and C-stores. DNR Website:
www.iowadnr.gov

Massachusetts

There are approximately 1,000 miles of groomed trails and another 1,000 miles of ungroomed trails in Massachusetts. A state registration decal is required to operate on all lands. Trail permits are required to ride trails on private lands - the operator may either obtain written landowner permission or join the State Association and a recognized club. Operators must wear a helmet. Roads are not open to snowmobiles but can be traveled adjacent to and parallel to for a reasonable distance to a connecting trail. There are no posted speed limits. All snowmobiles must be registered with the state - there is no reciprocity with other states. Operators must be over 16 years of age to operate, between the ages of 12 and 16 they can operate with adult supervision. Registration Fee: is $30 per season for non-residents, $40.00 for two seasons for residents. There are no safety course requirements for operating. For more information or to obtain a copy of the regulations contact Mass Environmental Police Central Headquarters, 617-727-3905. For club information contact the Snowmobile Association of Mass, 413-369-8092 or visit our website www.sledmass.com. Massachusetts Parks and Recreation website:
http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/recreational-activities/off-road-vehicles.html

Michigan

There are 6,500 miles of groomed trails in Michigan. Trail permits are required for all snowmobilers at $48 per season. For more information, please contact the Michigan Snowmobile Association at 1-616-361-2285. Helmets are required for everyone. The unplowed portion of all county roads is open to snowmobiling. In some northern and UP counties they allow you to ride the plowed shoulder. These counties have signs at all county lines informing you if they are open. State roads (denoted with an M) again have the unplowed portion open to riding but the plowed shoulder is always closed. You may drop onto the plowed shoulder only to go around an obstruction. Speed limits are (1) safe and reasonable, (2) posted on any road, (3) just fast enough to maintain forward motion when within 100 feet of any building or fisherman. Registration Fee: $30 for three years Michigan DNR website:
http://www.michigan.gov/dnr

Minnesota

There are 22,000 miles of groomed trails in Minnesota. Trail permits are required for all snowmobiles at $36. per season. Permits can be purchased at Electronic License System agents, by mail, online or by phone at 888-665-4236. For more information, go to the MN DNR Website at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/snowmobile/trailpermit.html.

Helmets must be worn by everyone under 18 years old. Roads and shoulders are not open for snowmobiles. Snowmobiles are allowed in road ditches but travel must be with the flow of traffic after dark unless on a two-way signed trail. The speed limit on the road sets the speed limit on the trail. The maximum speed limit for a snowmobile in Minnesota is 50 mph. No metal traction devices are allowed on blacktop trails unless trails are specifically signed to allow them.

Any Minnesota resident snowmobile rider born after 12/31/76 must possess a snowmobile safety certificate. For out-of-state riders, anyone 12 and 13 years old must have a safety certificate to ride but may NOT cross state or county roads; anyone 14 through 17 must have a snowmobile safety certificate to cross state and county roads; and anyone 18 years old and older does not need a snowmobile safety certificate. Nonresidents certified in snowmobile safety training in another state will be recognized in Minnesota.

Snowmobiles must be currently registered either in Minnesota or with another jurisdiction for nonresidents. MN Registration fee: $78.50 for three years. For more information, contact the Minnesota DNR at 1-888-MINNDNR. MN-DNR Website:
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us

Montana

There are approximately 4,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in Montana. Montana residents must permanently register each snowmobile and possess a $37.50 groomed Trail Pass valid for life. The state has designated groomed trails open to snowmobiling and riders are responsible to know what areas are closed to snowmobile use. There are a few Montana communities that allow snowmobiles to be driven in town. Those riders 16 years and older must have a valid driver’s license. Riders 15 years and under must have a current snowmobile educational certificate and be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older. Nonresidents must obtain a $25 temporary use permit if riding their personal snowmobile in Montana. Avalanche safety
If you are going to access the backcountry in any of the western states PLEASE take the time to learn about avalanche gear and safety. Snow conditions are constantly changing and riders must KNOW BEFORE THEY GO. The Montana State parks website:
http://stateparks.mt.gov/recreation/snowmobileProgram.html

Nebraska

Nebraska has 100 miles of groomed trails. Trail permits are not required. Snowmobiles do not need to be insured. Helmets are mandatory for everyone. County Roads only are open to ride. Same applies for road shoulders and ditches. No specified speed limit. Registration Fee: $16. for 1 year. Nebraska DNR website:
http://dnr.nebraska.gov

New Hampshire

There are 7,000 miles of groomed trails in New Hampshire. Trails permits are not required but registration is. Registration is available through the Department of Fish and Game at 603-271-3129. Helmets are required for operators and passengers 17 years old and younger. Only certain roads and/or portions are open when applied for by local club or the Bureau of Trails. When they are open, they are posted. Otherwise all public ways are closed. Same rule applies for open road shoulders and ditches, still within the right-of-way.

There is a 10 MPH speed limit at trail junctions, parking lots or when passing trail grooming equipment. Speed limit is 45 mph unless otherwise posted. 10 mph when within 150 feet of any fisherman, their shanty or fishing hole. Also, speed that is reasonable and prudent for conditions then existing. Black Lake in Pittsburg has a 35 mph night time speed limit.

Registration Fees:
  • Resident Club Member $66.00
  • Resident Non Club Member $96.00
  • Non Resident Club Member $86.00
  • Non Resident Non Club Member $116.00
http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us

New York

There are over 10,500 miles of funded/groomed trails in New York. Snowmobiles must be insured. Helmets required for everyone. Some roads and road shoulders are open to snowmobiles. All snowmobiles must be registered in New York. Registration Fee: $45 Resident - $45 Non-resident New York Parks and Recreation website:
http://www.parks.ny.gov/recreation/snowmobiles

North Dakota

There are 2,800 miles of groomed trails in North Dakota. Snowmobiles must be insured with minimum liability on any state trail. Helmets are required for anyone under the age of 18 years. Roads and road shoulders are not open to snowmobiles, however road ditches are. Speed limits are the same as posted for that road if you are in a ditch. Trail speed limits are safe and prudent. Registration Fee: $50 for 2 years. Trail permits are required for non-residents at a rate of $25.00/permit. North Dakota Parks and Recreation website:
http://www.parkrec.nd.gov

Ohio

There are 100 miles of groomed trails in Ohio. Trail permits are not required for out of state snowmobilers. Helmets are required for everyone. Roads are open to snowmobiles if decided by local authorities only. Same rule applies for riding road shoulders. Road ditches are not open. There is no posted speed limit. Registration Fee: $34.50 for three years. Ohio Department of Natural Resources website:
http://parks.ohiodnr.gov

Oregon

There are 6,400 miles of groomed trails in Oregon. Registration Fee: $10 for two years. Speed limit as posted. No helmets required. Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles website:
https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/pages/vehicle/trippermit.aspx#snowmobile

Pennsylvania

There are over 6,000 miles of groomed trails in Pennsylvania. Trail permits are not required for out of state snowmobilers except on a few private trail systems. Any state that honors PA registration in their state will have its registration honored in PA. Liability insurance is mandatory for all snowmobiles. Helmets must be worn by everyone. Roads in the state are not open unless indicated they are joint use. They are mainly township roads in sparsely populated areas. Same rule applies to road shoulders. You may legally ride in ditches. Speed limits are what are posted for that road if it is a joint use road. Youths between the ages of 10 and 15 must have a safety course and must carry the completion certificate with them at all times. Registration Fee: $20 for two years. Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources website:
http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us

South Dakota

There are 1,585 miles of groomed trails in South Dakota. Trail permits are not required. Liability Insurance is mandatory for all snowmobiles. Helmets are not required. Roads that open are only roads that have not been plowed. Can legally ride in ditches and shoulders, only if there are no ditches. Speed limits are the same as the posted road limit - outside of road rows, no speed limit. Registration Fee: $10 for 1 year. South Dakota Snowmobile registration and licensing website:
https://gfp.sd.gov/to-do/snowmobile/license.aspx

Utah

There are over 1,200 miles of groomed and signed trails in Utah. The Utah OHV laws exist to promote safety and protection for persons, property, and the environment involved with their use. The following is a summary of some of those laws and some other basic information. For a complete list of Utah OHV laws, contact Utah State Parks.
  • No person may operate or transport and no owner may give permission to operate or transport any OHV on public land unless the OHV has current registration.
  • Registration stickers with base decals must be displayed on both sides of the snowmobile hood or pan. Registration papers must be carried on the sled. NOTE: Your annual $23.00 Registration Fee is spent as follows: $2.00 to the OHV Education Program, $2.00 to the Department of Motor Vehicles, $.50 to Search and Rescue, $1.50 to SITLA fund and $17.00 to Utah State Parks for all programs including grooming operations and enforcement.
  • A person under the age of 18 years must wear a properly fitted, safety-rated helmet whenever operating or a passenger on a snowmobile or OHV.
  • Operators 8 to 15 years of age must complete the Utah State Parks off Highway Safety Education Course before operating a snowmobile. Call 801-538-7433 to sign up.
  • OHVs may not be operated on any street or highway not designated as open.
  • Dealer registrations are valid only when demonstrating on OHV to a prospective purchaser and shall not be permanently attached to the vehicle.
  • Nonresidents who wish to snowmobile in Utah must buy a $30.00 per snowmobile user pass. This user fee does not apply to nonresidents that have their snowmobile registered in their home state and that state does not charge Utah residents a nonresident license or pass fee (also known as a reciprocity agreement). Utah State Parks and Rec website http://www.dmv.utah.gov/vehicles/snowmobiles

Vermont

There are 4,750 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in Vermont. Snowmobiles must be registered in any state or province and must display a valid VT Trail Permit, referred to as a Trail Maintenance Assessment or TMA . A TMA is required and can be purchased from local Vermont Association of Snow Traveler's (VAST) clubs. The VAST cost for a TMA is $130 for non-residents and $100 for residents. To buy a TMA you must belong to a local club which costs an additional $10-$20 and there may also be a County charge as well. TMAs include VAST, County and Local Club Membership and it is your permission to operate on private land.

If a snowmobile has an aftermarket exhaust, that exhaust must meet the same requirements that the original manufacturers exhaust met and written certification of that must be carried in the snowmobile at all times. Riders must also have proof of liability insurance in the amount of $25,000/$50,000/$10,000 to operate on the Vermont Trail System. Proper head and face protection is required. Roads are open to snowmobiles only when marked and signed as a designated trail. Speed must be within a reasonable and prudent manner with the exception of state lands where speed limits are posted at 35 MPH. Further information is available on the VAST website (www.vtvast.org) or by calling the VAST office at 1-800-734-8278.
http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com

Washington

There are over 3,500 miles of groomed trails in Washington. Trail permits are not required for out of state snowmobilers, however, a Sno-Park Permit may be needed to park in specific locations. Sno-Park permits may be obtained by calling 360-902-8552. Helmets are not required. Roads, road shoulders and ditches are not open to snowmobiles. No person under age 12 shall operate a snowmobile. Persons between 12-16 must pass Snowmobile Safety Course to operate on any public road or highway. Registration Fee: $50 a year. Washington State Parks and Recreation website:
http://www.parks.wa.gov

Wisconsin

There are over 25,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in Wisconsin. Trail permits range from $10 to $30 annually. Non-resident snowmobile trail pass are $50 and is valid from July 1st through June 30th.

A snowmobile trail pass is required to operate a snowmobile not currently registered in Wisconsin on a snowmobile trail. The snowmobile must be currently registered with another jurisdiction. Snowmobile Registration fee is $30 for 3 years.

No person under the age of 12 years may operate a snowmobile unless the person is accompanied on the same snowmobile, either by a parent or guardian or by a person over 18 years of age. Any person who has reached the age of 12 must have completed and received a snowmobile safety certificate in order to operate a snowmobile in Wisconsin. The certificate must be carried while operating the snowmobile. Other states and provinces that issue a snowmobile safety certificate to snowmobilers will be honored in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website:
http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/snowmobile

Wyoming

There are 1,875 miles of groomed trails in Wyoming. Trail permits are required for out of state snowmobilers cost $35 and can be obtained by calling 877-996-7275. Major credit cards accepted. Helmets are not required. Roads are open to snowmobiles unless closed because of snow depth. Can legally ride road shoulders and ditches. No speed limits. Registration Fee: $35 a year. Wyoming Parks and Recreation website:
http://wyoparks.state.wy.us

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