Riding the Pembina trail

Find ATV and Off-Road Adventures in North Dakota

Ride North Dakota's river bottoms, grasslands and Badlands for high-adrenaline fun.

If you crave the adventure of riding off-road, take the road less traveled in North Dakota. Here you can find an abundance of riding areas in river bottoms, grasslands and the Badlands. Check with North Dakota Parks and Recreation for riding rules and opportunities.

Registered OHVs literally have thousands of miles of riding opportunity in North Dakota. In general, OHV's may ride on:

  • A paved county or township roadway designated and posted with a speed limit not exceeding 45 miles per hour.
  • The highway right of way, bottom of the ditch or along the outslope. It is illegal to operate on the shoulder or inside slope.
  • A gravel, dirt, or loose surface roadway.
  • Frozen waters where you have legal access. Be careful of open water and thin ice.

Most of the area around Medora is within Little Missouri National Grasslands. All motorized recreation can be enjoyed on established roads and trails. Note that cross-country motorized and off-trail motorized vehicle use is prohibited on the Dakota Prairie Grasslands. There are no trails in the national park that allow motorized or mechanized vehicles.


The Dakota Prairie Grasslands have shared this information for people wanting to use OHV’s in the Grasslands.

North Dakota Parks and Recreation and the U.S. Forest Service have partnered to produce a map that illustrates the miles of roads and trails open to scenic touring and motorized recreation in the Little Missouri National Grassland. The maps identify scenic trails that range from gravel roads to no maintenance trails that have scenic or recreational value. The Little Missouri National Grasslands OHV South Unit scenic map and North Unit scenic map are available for mobile viewing for free through the Avenza App

Riders should check with local law enforcement to verify riding regulations as cities and counties can pass more restrictive ordinances relating to where off-highway vehicles may be operated. Additionally, some public lands are open to OHV riding. They include: 

  • Sheyenne National Grasslands and Little Missouri National Grasslands – Here riders find several hundred miles of riding opportunities. OHVs must stay on established road and trails.
  • Roughrider National Recreational Trail – 16-mile trail managed by the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department, located 30 miles south of Mandan on Highway 1806 and begins at the Fort Rice Campground then travels north on a old railroad bed, ending at Little Heart Bottoms.
  • Kimble Bottoms Recreation Area (The Desert) – 100-acre play area managed by the Army Corps of Engineers www.ndtourism.com/bismarck/campgrounds-rv-parks/kimball-bottoms-recreation-area and located 8 miles south of Bismarck.
  • Airbourne Alley in Pembina has motocross and ATV tracks. The Pembina Gorge has a vast collection of off-roading trails.
  • The North Dakota Forest Service permits limited riding in some state forests.

While many riding opportunities exist, some restrictions areas must be noted: 

  • On controlled access highways (interstates)
  • On posted or restricted public or private property and property that is regulated by local ordinances.
  • In any state park, state recreation area, historic site or wildlife protection and management area. In any tree nursery or planting area.
  • On any frozen water in a restricted area or where there is no legal access.
  • On any railroad right of way.
  • On motorized trails designed and leased for snowmobiles.