ATV Riding

As one may expect, as the snow begins to  melt away, ATV riders move onto the trails.

Beyond the wet muddy springs are warm, breezy summers, and crisp, fresh autumns – making Lewis County a great place to ride! Hundreds of miles of trails  and off-season roads offer a different terrain for every preference. Many businesses located along the trails cater to the ATV enthusiast. You can take short afternoon rides or, better yet, plan a weekend. One of our local guides can help you plan the perfect trip.

Although Lewis County contains a high percentage of state public land (about 175,000 acres), ATV’s are not allowed access on any of the Department of Environmental Conservation state land. This hurdle has not stopped Lewis County and its residents from putting together spectacular ATV riding areas and an extensive county-wide ATV trail system.

As you can imagine,  private landowners play an instrumental role in the development of the trail system. Public lands in the ATV trail system are the Lewis County reforestation lands.  The System is still mostly made  up of open roads.  As ATV enthusiasts, it is very important that we respect the lands, laws, wildlife and nature as we enjoy the trails and scenery.

The ATV trails in the system are categorized into three types. Town and county roads provide easy access to the off-road trails. The off-road trails, consisting of county reforestation areas and private landowners’ trails, offer ATVers a sense of adventure as they explore the many miles of wilderness.

In order to participate in the extensive ATV Trail System, you are required to purchase a year permit or a 3 day pass. For more information or to purchase your permit call the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce at  315-376-2213.

Why do I have to purchase a permit to ride my ATV on the County’s Trail System? The County implemented the permit system as a means of paying for the cost of establishing and maintaining the ATV Trail System, which included County reforestation lands, and private land-owner trails.

Permit money is also used for expansion of the ATV Trail System. The Lewis County ATV Trail system is the first of its kind in New York State and we believe will provide ATV enthusiasts with a riding experience that is second to none. The development and maintenance of this system, however, is not without cost. A permit system is the most appropriate mechanism to ensure that those who benefit the most from the Trail System pay for the cost to operate it.

How much does a permit cost? The Family Plan discount remains in effect and available to anyone purchasing or renewing multiple ATV permits for their household for the ATV riding season. Proof of Registration is also required.

$65.00 for the first ATV, $20.00 for each additional ATV.  The county is offering a three day pass. Any three consecutive days – $20 per permit, per machine. There is a $20 Season Permit Discount if you are a member of an ATV Club with an active Lewis County Trail Agreement.

Am I buying a permit for myself or for my ATV? Permits for the Lewis County ATV  trail system will be issued per machine, not per person. Each permit will include a decal that must be attached in a visible location on the front left side of the permitted ATV.

Is there a map of the Trail System? Yes, maps are available and updated every year with changes which depict all of the ATV riding available within the Lewis County ATV Trail System. All trails are on our new Free mobile app. (For more details, contact the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce at 315-376-2213 or toll free at
800-724-0242. Remember, the system is ever changing and expanding. Be sure to follow trail signs and stay on designated trails.

Where does my permit application money go? All permit fees will be placed in a dedicated recreational trails fund and used exclusively for the establishment, enforcement, maintenance, and operation of the Trail System. This money will not go into the general fund and will only be spent on recreational trails in the County.

When does the ATV system open? The trail system is scheduled to open May 1st and closes the Tuesday after Columbus Day in October, but can change due to weather and trail conditions.

Who May Operate an ATV? How old do I have to be to operate an ATV on the Trail System? Children ages 10-15 must be accompanied by an adult 18 or older OR must have successfully completed an ATV safety course and carry the course completion certificate when operating any ATV. Riders under 10, may operate an ATV but must be accompanied by an adult 18 and older.

What’s the speed limit on the ATV trail system? The speed limit for ATV’s on the Trail System is 25 mph, unless otherwise posted.

Where will the permit requirement be enforced? The entire Lewis County ATV Trail System. ATV patrols will ride through the entire system to enforce all rules and regulations. Not all roads on the system needs a permit, but all off road atv trails do need a permit.

What are the fines for violating rules and regulations for the trail system? For riding without a permit, fines are $100 for the first offense and $200 and a one-year permit revocation for the second offense. Other fines are for riding on land outside trails

$250 for the first offense, machine compounded thereafter; altering trails to created hazards $250 first offense, $500 thereafter, and violating traffic rules $100 for first offense, $200 thereafter.

I am new to ATVing, are there any safety courses available? Yes, the Tug Hill ATV Association and some area ATV clubs offer safety courses. Call the ATV Clubs for more information.

There are many ATV events during the summer; poker runs, ATV Expo, and family rides.  Check the chamber’s calendar of events for more details.

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