ATVs and Off Road Vehicles

man on atv riding on dirt road
ATV operating legally on a dirt road. Note safety triangle, bicycle flag, and helmet (required for riders under 18.)

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ATVs, also known as Four Wheelers and UTVs, can be a lot of fun. They can also be dangerous and damage the environment when not used responsibly.

ATV/UTV Regulations:

The Ozark National Scenic Riverways enforces all state and federal laws regarding the use of ATVs and Utility Vehicles in the park. These rules are for the protection of the fragile natural resources the park was established to protect. ATVs and UTVs are prohibited in most of the park except on county roads.

  • ATVs and UTVs may only be operated by licensed drivers.
  • May only operate on county-owned roads with a valid permit.
  • ATVs and UTVs are not permitted on any closed road, service road, power line right-of-way, off established county roads, on state highways, on any park-owned roads, or on any campground road.
  • ATVs and UTVs are not allowed on any gravel bar, beach or in the river unless at an approved river crossing and then only to cross and continue on.
  • No ATV operator is allowed to carry passengers unless the machine has been specifically designed by the manufacterer to carry more than one occupant.
  • Every ATV must be equipped with an adequate muffler and an approved spark arrestor, good operating brake system, a slow moving vehicle emblem a safety flag attached to the rear of the vehicle and a lighted headlamp and tail lamp. (note UTVs do not requre the safety flag or triangle.).
  • Open container and DWI/DUI enforced.
The locations of all legal roads and trails within the park boundary were established by the 1991 Road and Trails Plan. Note you can only ride on County Roads, not park owned roads. Please study the maps in the appendix to this document to see specifically where you can and cannot ride. A good rule of thumb: if you cannot drive a two wheel drive pick-up truck on a road, it is probably NOT a legal county owned road and you shouldn't ride on it. For maps from the 1991 plan (This is a large file! Maps are in the Appendix.)

ATV/UTV Etiquette:

  • ATVs/UTVs can cause erosion, encourage the spread of invasive species and degrade water quality in the rivers
  • Travel only where motorized vehicles are permitted
  • Respect the rights of hikers, floaters, campers and others to enjoy their activities undisturbed.
  • Educate yourself by obtaining travel maps and regulations from public agenices, complying with signs and barriers, and asking owner's permission to cross private property.
  • To reduce pollution and erosion, do not travel in streams, meadows, or on muddy roads and trails.
  • Avoid wildlife and livestock
  • Drive responsibly to protect the environment and preserve opportunities for future users.
The following Federal (36 CRF) and Missouri State regulations apply within the boundaries of Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The Current and Jacks Fork rivers are National Park Service areas. It is out duty to protect our park visitors and the valuable park resources.

Please note the following ATV and UTV regulations, references and assessed fines.
Regulations Reference Number Fine (w/ CVB fee)
Travel is restricted to established roadways desined for vehicular traffic. 36 CFR 4.10 (a) $230.00
Destruction of Natural Resources 36 CFR 2.1 (a) (1) $130.00
ATV & UTVs are prohibited from Highways of the State RSMO 304.013=ATV
RSMO 304.032=UTV
No ATV or UTV operation within ANY stream or river RSMO 304.013=ATV
RSMO 304.032=UTV
36 CFR 4.10 (a)
ATV's shall be registered with the State and the registration sticker shall be attached to the right front fork of frame RSMO 301.707 $100.00
ATV & UTV's must have a permit from county to operate on county roads RSMO 304.013=ATV
RSMO 304.032=UTV
All ATV's must be equpped with an equilateral triangle emblem mounted on the rear of the vehicle. The emblem shall be constructed of substantial material with fluorescent yellow-orange finish and reflective, red border at least one inch in width. Each side of the emblem shall measure at least ten inches. RSMO 307.198 (2) $80.00
All ATV's must display a bicycle safety flag, which extends at least seven feet above ground. The flag shall be triangular in shape with an area not less than thirty inches and shall be a day glow orange in color. RSMO 304.013 $80.00
No person shall operate an ATV or UTV:
Regulation Reference Number Fine
In a manner, that causes unreasonable damage to the surface of a park. 36CFR 4.10 (c) (2) $130.00
Operating without a valid license. RSMO 304.013=ATV
RSMO 304.032=UTV
In a careless manner so as to endanger the person or property of another. 36CFR 4.22 (b) (1) & RSMO 304.013 $230.00
With an open container of alcohol 36CFR 4.14 $130.00
While under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance 36CFR 4.23 (a) (1) $530.00
While a passenger on board (ATV only) RSMO 304.013 $80.00
At an unreasonable speed 36CFR 4.22 (b) (1) $230.00
Excessive acceleration or braking 36CFR 4.22 (b) (2) $130.00
Without a securely fastened helmet on the head of an individual who operates an ATV unless the individual is at least 18 years of age. RSMO 304.013 $80.00

CFR= Code of Federal Regulations RSMO=Revised Statues State of Missouri
  • Utility vehicles are allowed in accordance with MO State Statue 304.032. Operators must have a valid driver's license and a county permit sticker to operate on county roads within park boundary. Safety flags and triangles are not required.

Last updated: November 26, 2021

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 490
Van Buren, MO 63965


(573) 323-4236
Call (573) 323-4236 for Big Spring Entrance Station, located south of Van Buren, MO. Call (573) 226-3945 for the Alley Spring General Store, located west of Eminence, MO. Call (573) 858-3297 for Round Spring Ranger Station, located north of Eminence, MO.

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