Guide to ATV and UTV Laws in Idaho

guide to atv and utv laws in idaho

How does Idaho define ATV?

Idaho defines ATV as a recreational vehicle with 3 or more tires that weighs under 900 pounds, is 50 inches wide or less, has a wheelbase of 61 inches or less, has handlebar steering and has a seat designed to be straddled by the operator.  We have great resources if you are curious about ATV weights or sizes to see what will qualify under Idaho’s definition.

Idaho defines UTV as a recreational motor vehicle, other than an ATV, motorbike or snowmobile,  that is designed for and capable of travel over unpaved roads, that has four or more tires, that has a maximum width less than 74 inches, that has a maximum weight less than 2,000 pounds, and that has a wheelbase of 94 inches or less.

Are you Required to Register your ATV or UTV in Idaho?

To operate an ATV or UTV on Idaho public lands, you must display a valid IDPR (Parks and Recreation) registration sticker.

Regardless of when you register your ATV or UTV in Idaho, the registration will expire on December 31 of the year in which it is issued.

The registration sticker must be placed on your ATV or UTV where it is visible and legible at all times.  The specific location for placement is on the rear fender of the ATV or UTV.

The only exemptions to the registration requirements in Idaho are for those ATVs and UTVs used exclusively on farms or ranches, or for other agricultural or snowplowing purposes.

Additionally, you should be aware, if you plan to operate your ATV on a groomed snowmobile trail in Idaho, you may be required to purchase and display a snowmobile registration sticker.  You should check with the local county sheriff or land manager for details.

Are you Required to Title your ATV or UTV in Idaho?

If you acquired your ATV after 1991, you are required to title it in your name.  If you acquired your UTV after July 1, 2006, you are required to title it in your name.    You will not be able to register your ATV or UTV until after you have completed the titling process.

What are the Registration Requirements for Non-Resident ATVs and UTVs in Idaho?

Non-residents who wish to operate an ATV or UTV in Idaho are not required to register in Idaho if they possess a valid OHV registration from their home state of residence.

If you do not have a valid OHV registration from your home state, you must obtain a valid IDPR OHV registration sticker before operating you ATV or UTV on public lands in Idaho.

guide to atv and utv laws in idaho

Does Idaho get Reciprocity with other States?

There are a number of neighboring states that grant reciprocity with Idaho when you register your ATV or UTV in Idaho.  A breakdown of each neighboring state is below.

  • Washington: Washington honors your Idaho registration, but requires you to purchase a State Discovery Pass for $35 for an annual pass or $11.50 for a day pass.  You can purchase the pass here.
  • Oregon: Oregon offers full reciprocity with Idaho.  The only difference is that all Oregon riders must have an OHV Education Certificate.  If you obtained a certificate in Idaho, Oregon will honor that certificate.
  • Nevada: Nevada offers conditional reciprocity with Idaho.  You are permitted to ride up to 15 days in Nevada with an Idaho-registered ATV or UTV.  If you plan to ride longer than 15 days, you will need to pay a $21 registration fee and $2 vendor fee.
  • Utah: Utah offers full reciprocity with Idaho.
  • Wyoming:  Wyoming does not offer any reciprocity with Idaho.  You will have to purchase an annual OHV registration, but that is only $15 in Wyoming.
  • Montana: Montana offers full reciprocity with Idaho.

What Equipment is Required for an ATV or UTV in Idaho?

Like most states, Idaho requires your ATV/UTV to be equipped with a muffler and a Forest Service approved spark arrestor.  The muffler must be quieter than 96 decibels at the half-meter sound test.

If you are operating an ATV or UTV on the road in Idaho, it is required that you have a working brake light, headlight and taillight if dark or poor visibility, a horn audible from 200 feet, and a mirror showing at least 200 feet behind the ATV or UTV.

Are you Required to Wear a Helmet while Operating an ATV or UTV in Idaho?

Adult ATV/UTV riders are not required by law to wear a helmet.  Of course, it is always smart to wear a helmet regardless of the law.  We have a great helmet we recommend that won’t set you back too much.  See it in our Recommended Gear.

In Idaho, you must wear a helmet if you are under 18 and riding on an ATV or UTV.

Are there Age Restrictions for ATV or UTV Operation in Idaho?

While there are not technically age restrictions for operating an ATV or UTV in Idaho, any rider under 16 years old, without a driver’s license, who will be riding on U.S. Forest Service Roads in Idaho.  The online training is not offered to any person under 6 years of age.  By default then, you must be 6 years old to operate an ATV or UTV on Forest Service roads in Idaho.

In addition, any person under the age of 18 must be supervised by a licensed adult operator over 18 when operating an ATV or UTV on any state, federal or Forest Service roads in Idaho.

Where are you Permitted to Ride an ATV or UTV in Idaho?

In Idaho, you are permitted to operate on ATV or UTV on designated trails, guide to atv and utv laws in idahoopen riding areas, motocross tracks, designated State and Federal roads, and city and county roads that have not been closed by to OHV use by the local jurisdiction.  For example, all roads in Boise are closed to OHV use except for snow removal and agricultural use.

When riding on state, federal, city or county roads, you must possess a valid restricted license plate, a valid IDPR OHV registration, a valid driver’s license, and liability insurance.  While you can operate generally on any roads, if you have the restricted license plate, that have not been closed to OHV use, you may not operate an ATV or UTV on any state or federal highways.

Additionally, you should be aware that some roads are closed to OHV use seasonally.  Because of this, you should consult the land managers travel map where you intend to ride.  Most often, the seasonal closures relate to animals’ wintering seasons where the animals would be vulnerable to hunting.  There are also closures to protect trails during wet seasons.

Who to Contact with More Questions?

If you have any additional questions about ATV laws in Idaho, you should contact the local Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation Motorized Trails Office.  There are three offices in Idaho.

For Southern Idaho, contact the Boise office at 208-334-4199.

For Eastern Idaho, contact the Idaho Falls office at 208-525-7121.

For Northern Idaho, contact the Coeur d’Alene office at 208-769-1511.

Brent Huntley

Brent Huntley is the owner of ATV Man and is responsible for almost all the material on the website. He also runs and loves to travel and ride ATVs with his family. When he isn't playing, his day job consists of owning Huntley Law.

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