All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and Other Off-Road Vehicle Use in Connecticut
Connecticut offers some unique, but limited, opportunities for off-road vehicle use on State property.
Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown has over 22,000 acres of public land with many miles of roads and trails available for the shared enjoyment of hikers, snowmobilers, motorcyclists, and equestrians. The motorcycle trails encompass state and town roads, so vehicles must be registered and street legal, and drivers must be licensed.
Shenipsit State Forest in Stafford offers opportunities for dirt bike enthusiasts to participate in privately-organized enduro races once or twice a year. These competitive events are typically one day in duration and sponsored by a regional motorcycle club. Motorcycles must be registered and street legal, and drivers must be licensed.
Due to environmental impacts and trail maintenance issues, enduros and other organized activities must be approved by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) State Parks Division. Applications must be filed with the Park Supervisor for the DEEP facility 90 days prior to the event, or for a new or changed course, 120 days prior to the event. For more information, please contact the New England Trail Riders Association (NETRA).
There are 11 designated areas within Connecticut State Forests where the use of snowmobiles on established trails and forest roads is authorized. More Information
ATV use in Hunting
All un-gated roads in Connecticut State Forests and Wildlife Management Areas are accessible to paraplegics using all terrain vehicles with the proper DEEP permits. In order to qualify, applicants must provide documented proof of the disability with its physical limitations in a letter signed by a licensed physician. Applicants should call the Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011 for more information.
Other ATV Use
Effective January 1, 2006, except where specifically allowed, riding an ATV on state or municipal property may result in charges of criminal trespass. (Public Act 05-234)
At the current time, Connecticut does not have any public areas open to quads. Additionally, there are no State-managed areas open to dirt bikes, although the Army Corps of Engineers facility at Thomaston Dam is available for two-wheeled trail bike riding.
For information on how access issues are being addressed, please review the DEEP's policy for the development and use of ATVs on state land.
Individuals who operate off-road vehicles on private land other than their own property must carry written permission from the landowner and all such vehicles must be registered with the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Other Available Resources
- Connecticut DEEP ATV Policy
- Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) - ATV Registration Information
- Thomaston Dam - Facilities for two wheeled trail bikes
- Massachusetts ORV Program
- New Hampshire OHRV Program
- National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council - information on safety and trail building
- New England Trail Riders Association (NETRA) - Motorized clubs throughout New England
- Tread Lightly - Environmentally sensitive trail designs and etiquette for all users
If you have questions or need additional information on Connecticut State Parks and Forests, please contact the State Parks Division by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 860-424-3200.