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ATV Recreation

Black River State Forest

Black River State Forest has 34 miles of ATV trails that link with Jackson and Clark County trails. All ATVs riders on the state forest ATV trails must follow state registration and trail pass rules.

More about ATV/UTV riding in Wisconsin.

Registration and trail passes



Motorcycles must be dual-sport (street legal), and registered with the DNR as an off-highway motorcycle (OHM). More information about OHM registration is available at our OHM program page.

Because motorized trails on the forest link directly with the Jackson County trail system and the property boundaries are not marked, riders must also have a Jackson County motorcycle sticker attached to their cycle when traveling on county trails. For more information, please visit Jackson County [Exit DNR].

Trail emergency numbering system

Jackson County has installed special signage at half-mile intervals on public ATV/motorcycle trails to assist you with emergency situations. These sign posts are also located on Black River State Forest ATV and motorcycle trails.

What to look for

The signs are blue posts, each with two red numbers. The top number identifies the specific segment of the trail system, while the bottom number represents the mileage marker for that trail. When calling in an emergency, you should read the numbers to the dispatcher from top to bottom. For example, "Trail 94, mile 1.5." This will help EMS and law enforcement personnel to pinpoint your position and speed the arrival of emergency services.

Trail rules

Because maintaining a safe trail system is paramount to managing the Black River State Forest, we ask that you observe the following rules when using forest ATV and motorcycle trails.

  • Only dual-sport motorcycles are allowed on the ATV trails. Off-road motorcycles are restricted to the Jackson County single-track trails located in Crawford Hills. For more information, please visit Jackson County [exit DNR].
  • Vehicles that cannot be legally registered as ATVs are not allowed on the Black River State Forest ATV trail system.
  • All ATVs and motorcycles are required to have a functioning Forest Service-approved spark arrestor. Poorly maintained spark arrestors emit carbon that could start a fire.
  • All ATVs and motorcycles are required to meet a 96-decibel sound limit subject to an approved SAE sound test.
  • Stay on designated trails at all times. Riding off designated trails is illegal and subject to a citation.
  • Whether an operator or rider, anyone younger than 18 years must wear a helmet.
  • ATV trails on the state forest are "two-way" trails. Keep to the right and avoid taking inside corners.
  • Operate vehicles at a reasonable speed.

For a complete list of regulations, view the ATV regulations page.

Safety Tips

  • Always wear protective clothing (long pants, shirt and boots), goggles and a full helmet.
  • Always use the buddy system when riding on trails.
  • Do not damage vegetation or natural features on the trail or anywhere else within the state forest.
  • Don't litter.
  • Stay out of wet areas, ditches, lowlands and other sensitive areas.
  • If you witness unsafe practices on the trail, get the best description possible of the offender and report the incident to a DNR law enforcement ranger or warden.
  • More safety tips