18 Best South Dakota ATV Trails 2022

South Dakota ATV Trails: South Dakota is one of the states that are the least populated in America and this means huge spaces of wilderness are available accessible for you to ride off-road.

If you’re looking for more closely managed trails that are in parks owned by private parties, or you’re looking to have some great outdoor recreation on public terrain, there are numerous riding options to pick from. 

South Dakota ATV Trails

South Dakota ATV trails are popular for their Black Hills region, with rough riding, fun activities, and facilities.

What is the most popular ATV trail that is available in South Dakota for all levels and types of interests? Here are a few of our top picks for your next adventure:

  1. Antelope Springs Trailhead
  2. Bluebird Trailhead
  3. South Boxelder Trailhead
  4. Dalton Lake
  5. Black Hills National Forest
  6. Oahe Downstream OHV Area
  7. Railroad Buttes
  8. Red Lake
  9. Shanks Quarry
  10. South Shore OHV Area
  11. Talsma’s Trail Park
  12. Spearfish Quarry
  13. Trailside Park Resort
  14. Revheim Bay OHV Area
  15. Victoria Trail System
  16. Shanks & Schroeder Trails
  17. Merritt System
  18. Piedmont Trailhead

Check out the following article for all the vital details about each ATV rider’s advice and rentals for ATVs within Black Hills, SD, and beyond.

18 Best South Dakota ATV Trails

18 Best South Dakota ATV Trails

1. Antelope Springs Trailhead

Within the Black Hills National Forest, there are many trails suitable for off-roading. 

There’s the Antelope Springs Trailhead is located close to the Redbank Campground and offers shared access to OHVs and ATVs and bikers and hikers. Here’s a Map that will help find the trail’s starting point.

The majority part of it is level which makes it a good starting point for anyone who is a novice to ATV riding.

It can take you to plenty of beautiful spots, including deep lakes, and trees with diverse foliage, as well as some amazing wildlife. Beaver Creek Campground is accessible on the trail if you’re planning to stay overnight or for a night.

2. Bluebird Trailhead

It is still in The Black Hills, one of the most popular South Dakota off-road trails is the Bluebird. It runs through a distinctive limestone canyon, which surrounds the cities of Custer, Senator, and Pringle.

 As you approach the final point of the trail, the locals suggest heading towards the east or south to get the most spectacular views, whether Ward Reservoir, McClure Dam or any other location.

The Bluebird trail takes you through the eerie ghost town, including the 12-mile Stagecoach Ranch as well as a lot of dams and reservoirs that aid in understanding the past of South Dakota a bit more.

3. South Boxelder Trailhead

Visit Nemo, SD, for the trail that ATV experts believe is one of the top trails of the Black Hills region. 

The Boxelder Trail is steep with a lot of curves and extremely steep slopes, which makes it quite an adrenaline-pumping experience. 

The most intense riding can be found on Trail 8089, which runs between intersections 8252 and8251. See the Map available here.

Along the trails, you will find more riding areas for families along with caves and creeks, camping areas, and picnic spots to relax in.

4. Dalton Lake

Visitors and residents from outside the state are awestruck by Dalton Lake equally. 

Dalton Lake is a great place to go for hiking, camping, breathtaking views, picnics, and of course ATV riding. Dalton Lake has ATV tracks throughout Dalton Lake. 

It is possible to share these trails with other OHV users however the scenery and views aren’t to be missed.

5. the Black Hills National Forest

Overall, overall, the Black Hills National Forest is worthy of its own place among the best ATV trail within South Dakota. 

You can choose one of the above trails within the forest, or choose one of the other motorized trails you have at your available. 

Take a longer excursion of it by staying at one of the numerous picturesque campgrounds that are located on-site. 

The trails on-site offer the best of both forested landscapes, meadows that are open hills, and flat sections. 

When you stay for several days, you’ll be able to experience the other side of your base camp and take advantage of the ATV trails and the activities outdoors that are close to the camping areas.

6. Oahe Downstream OHV Area

The recreation area located at Oahe Downstream is a great location to take ATVs on a ride throughout South Dakota. 

It is an official state park that has three campgrounds to spend the night, allowing you the time to explore 400 acres of grassland that is hilly. There aren’t any marked trails, only markers that mark the property’s boundaries.

If you plan to stay for several days, remember that overnight parking isn’t permitted, however, you’ll be able to park in the campgrounds and return to the trailheads on the next day. The best part is that there’s no permit required for riding here!

7. Railroad Buttes

There are Railroad Buttes near Farmingdale, SD. It is also part of the public land, there are miles of trails to explore along with an area for play with mountain climbs as well as a motocross track as well as some amazing views.

It’s relatively smooth due to the hardpacked terrain So you can expect dust even in dry weather.

8. Red Lake

There are over 20 miles of ATV trails within Red Lake, where access is free to the public from May 15 and the 15th of December each year. 

Red Lake Trailhead is part of the Black Hills National Forest system An entire area is a great place for families, making it the perfect place to have more relaxing trails.

9. Shanks Quarry

The area is located close to Rapid City, SD, the area provides 15 miles of well-maintained trails that have double tracks making it accessible and enjoyable riding. 

The area has two distinct areas for staging within the trail system which is part of the Black Hills National Forest.

10. South Shore OHV Area

South Shore is an offroad park close to South Shore, SD, close to an unfinished gravel pit. It is a wooded trail with some climbs and even a track for motocross. You can expect gravel and rocky terrain.

The park is completely accessible for free and is not more than being a private ATV park. 

The Glacial Lakes Motor Club manages the park and keeps the park open all day. They organize an annual poker race to raise funds for the maintenance of the park.

11. Talsma’s Trail Park

Go to this private park located at Trails Head Ranch to ride the best ATV routes that run along the Missouri River. 

Talsma’s Trail Park is a family-owned and operated business for three generations. It also includes an animal farm that is fully operating in the present. It’s been operating since 2005, providing many acres of marked trails for riders. 

There are steep climbs of various levels of difficulty as well as a variety of play areas for practicing skills.

It’s only $30 to use an ATV in the park. In addition, there are plenty of activities available all through all the time, therefore be sure you check them out also.

12. Spearfish Quarry

There are many miles of forest service roads that you can enjoy within Spearfish Quarry, as well as five acres of the gravel pit. This is also located in the Black Hills National Forest and closest to Spearfish, SD.

13. Trailside Park Resort

We’re adding this to provide you with another base in the Black Hills National Forest because you’ll be able to explore new trails at Trailside Park Resort.

Trailside Park Resort. It has around 35 RV campsites including primitive ones, as well as holiday cabins for rent.

 The sites are near restaurants and shopping areas and not too away distance from Mount Rushmore and the trails.

The benefit of Trailside is that they are connected directly to ATV tracks and this means that there is no need to travel to other trailheads in order to unload your ATV prior to going out on the trails. 

They also offer ATV rentals in case you require additional bikes or vehicles in case you’re looking to do something completely different.

14. Revheim Bay OHV Area

The offroad park situated in Mobridge, SD, opened in 2007. It’s part of the Revheim Bay Recreation Area that includes picnic shelters, playgrounds with two horseshoe pits, as well as various other sports. 

It is possible to ride your ATV along the marked trail, and afterward engage in other sports available, too.

15. Victoria Trail System

To the southwest to the southwest of Rapid City, you can take a ride on the Victoria Trail System – the fastest way to get on ATV tracks within South Dakota from the city. 

There are around 28 miles of trails, and you’ll see the distinctive Sandstone Ridge. 

Continue to the Pactola Reservoir, which is located on the site of the former town of Pactola. The stunning scenery and the history of the area make to make a wonderful trail.

16. Shanks & Schroeder Trails

In addition to the ride at Shanks Quarry, you can combine the Shanks Trailhead with the Schroeder Trailhead for a mixture of trail types, and longer days out. 

There is a lot to discover at Cross River and traverse numerous roads, from wide trails with two tracks to windy and narrow sections that will challenge your abilities to the limit. There’s exposed limestone everywhere which increases the difficulty of this hike.

17. Merritt System

This is among the most challenging trail within South Dakota, spread across 41 miles, connecting with the Northern Hills to the Central Hills.

Merritt System was once the beginning of the Gold Rush, therefore there’s a lot of history on the trail.

The Central Hills is where the best riding areas of Black Hills will welcome you with Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial.

18. Piedmont Trailhead

The final suggestion among South Dakota ATV trails in the Piedmont Trailhead, again back in the Black Hills National Forest. 

Just off I-90, there are some steep climbs, but you’ll also get stunning views that will be worth the effort.

Conclusion – Premier ATV Riding in South Dakota

 Premier ATV Riding in South Dakota

Here are our top 18 South Dakota ATV trails:

  1. Antelope Springs Trailhead
  2. Bluebird Trailhead
  3. South Boxelder Trailhead
  4. Dalton Lake
  5. Black Hills National Forest
  6. Oahe Downstream OHV Area
  7. Railroad Buttes
  8. Red Lake
  9. Shanks Quarry
  10. South Shore OHV Area
  11. Talsma’s Trail Park
  12. Spearfish Quarry
  13. Trailside Park Resort
  14. Revheim Bay OHV Area
  15. Victoria Trail System
  16. Shanks & Schroeder Trails
  17. Merritt System
  18. Piedmont Trailhead

If you have your own ATV or require assistance to find ATV rentals within the Black Hills, South Dakota is designed specifically for offroaders. 

There are plenty of facilities and rental shops and you can use your ATV virtually everywhere. 

It is recommended that the Black Hills National Forest should be your first stop because it provides endless riding opportunities with an array of trails that are suitable for all kinds of ages and types of interests. 

Explore the thrilling twists and turns of trails before exploring the past that range from Mount Rushmore to ghost towns that date back to the gold rush.

What state sells the most ATVs?

For ATVs, we can see that the highest selling price average was observed within Alaska in Alaska, where ATVs are sold at $7,496. This is in contrast to South Carolina, where units were sold for more than $2,000 less at $5,260. Alaska, Montana, Vermont, South Dakota and New Mexico are all within the top tier.

Are South Dakota ATV trails open?

The trails are accessible between May 15 and December 15. It is located in the Northern Hills Ranger District and covers the northern part of the Black Hills on the South Dakota side.

Are ATVs allowed in Custer State Park?

Custer State Park is the home to a large Bison herd. Be careful and keep at a safe distance from the Bison herd – An ATV isn’t suitable for female Bison. After entering the park, you’ll be on a few highways, but mostly gravel roads.

Are UTVs street legal in South Dakota?

Are ATVs or UTVs allowed to be used on South Dakota streets? ATVs and UTVs usage is usually restricted in the interstate highway system throughout South Dakota. ATV and UTV usage is also generally forbidden on every other public avenue that runs through South Dakota unless you are simply crossing between two sides of the highway.

What do I need to ride my UTV in South Dakota?

They must possess the South Dakota license, park entrance license, be on roads that are designated, and be driven by someone who has a valid driver’s license. In OHV zones, there is no requirement for vehicles to be licensed or possess a park entrance permit. Off-road riding is only permitted in designated areas within the OHV zones.

How much does it cost to license an ATV in South Dakota?

Permits can be used for a duration not shorter than five days or more than 15 days. They are available at every South Dakota county courthouse. The proof of title (a document of purchase or title) along with an amount equal to $1 for each day is required to get the permit.

How do you get a title for an ATV in South Dakota?

An application for Motor Vehicle Title & Registration must be completed by either the document owner(s) or an authorized agent of the owner of the record (s). An official Power of Attorney document must be included to confirm that the appointment is executed with the authority of an agent.

How old do you have to be to ride a dirt bike in South Dakota?

To obtain a South Dakota motorcycle license, you must be 16 years old and successfully pass the knowledge, vision and test for a motorcycle. Minors who are 16 but not yet 18 years old must also meet the requirements for an Instruction Permit.

Are side by sides street legal in North Dakota?

In North Dakota, UTVs registered by the State as Off-Highway vehicles may be driven on speed limits of 55 MPH and more minor, including any gravel, dirt and loose surface roads and sections of routes that are official Off-Highway Vehicle trails.

How do I register an out of state vehicle in South Dakota?

You’ll need the original titles from out of state and the state driver’s license, a social security number and a Motor Vehicle and Boat Title & Registration Application. Bring this form to the local treasurer’s office for registration.

South Dakota ATV Trails FAQ

1. Are there ATV trails in South Dakota?

It has over 3,600 miles of unpaved roads. More than 700 miles of which have been designated as trails suitable for all kinds of Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) -with 21 designated trailheads for motorized vehicles.  There are more than 148 miles of trail available to everyone.

2. Are South Dakota ATV trails open?

The trails are accessible between May 15 and December 15. Northern Hills Ranger District Northern Hills Ranger District covers the northern part of the Black Hills on the South Dakota side.

3. Can you ride ATVs at Custer State Park?

Needles Highway Custer State Park Black Hills National Forest South Dakota. When you are riding trails within the Black Hills National Forest, roads and highways are a part of the experience. licensed vehicles can travel from highway to trail and then back towards the path. There is no ATV. UTV Destination has more to provide.

4. What do I need to ride my UTV in South Dakota?

They must be registered with the South Dakota license, park entrance permit, remain on roads that are designated, and be driven by a driver who has a valid driver’s license. In OHV zones there is no requirement for vehicles to be licensed or be licensed as park entrances. Off-road riding is only permitted in designated areas within areas designated as OHV.

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