South Dakota's Black Hills offer a vast area in which to enjoy off-road adventures. Nearly all of the 1.25 million acres of public land located in the Black Hills is open to off-roading of all types, including in the Black Hills National Forest.
- Explore one million acres of spectacular Black Hills’ terrain on a licensed ATV or off-road vehicle.
- Black Hills National Forest provides users over 5,000 miles of trails.
- Black Hills ATV rental companies are located in Custer, Rapid City, and Deadwood.
ATV and off-road enthusiasts can enjoy over 5,000 miles of Black Hills trails, ranging from gentle dirt roads to “rock crawling” adventures over rugged terrain. A popular activity from spring through autumn, users must operate only licensed machines and adhere to road and safety rules.
Head to Black Hills National Forest
ATV and ORV users have over one million acres of Black Hills National Forest trails to explore, including forest service roads, logging roads, and old mining roads. Users will find such aptly named trails as Calamity, Lost Soldier Canyon, Twister, and Badlands Boogie 4WD, in reference to landscape and difficulty. Off-road events are also featured in the area, including the Black Hills Jeep Jamboree. Download some of their Trail Maps before you go.
Rules and Regulations
Black Hills ATV users must abide the following laws, including:
- Operating a licensed and registered vehicle. If you come from a state that does not require ATV licensing, you may not utilize that machine in South Dakota.
- Purchase a 7-Day Trail Use Pass
- Possessing a current driver’s license.
- Having functional safety gear on your ATV including spark arrestors, mirrors, brake lights, etc.
- Wearing eye protection unless your ATV has a windshield.
ATV users MAY NOT:
- Ride cross-country. Failure to do so causes severe negative environmental impacts.
- Travel in Wilderness or Non-Motorized Areas.
- Cross onto private lands. (Most roads will be gated or will feature “No Trespassing” signs. For peace of mind, pick up forest service maps and carry them on your person.)
- Travel inside National Parks. (Exceptions: Highways through Mt. Rushmore and Badlands.)
- Ride in these strictly off-limits areas: Black Elk Wilderness, Victoria Lake, Spearfish Canyon, Bear Mountain, Polo Peak, Jasper and Elk Mountain fire areas, Hiking trails
Off-Road Riders Association
The Black Hills Off-Road Riders Association works hard to maintain a huge network of trails on public lands. They are a great resource for maps and information. Visit their website.