Four Wheeling Near Pinedale, Wyoming
Page Summary: Hundreds of miles of back country roads & trails offer recreational opportunities for ATV's near Pinedale, Wyoming.
They're called 4-wheelers, ORVs (Off-Road Vehicles), and ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles). They have become increasingly popular with outdoor recreationists because they cover terrain quickly and allow young and old to enjoy the great outdoors without having to actually hike long distances. For people who are not physically able to engage in strenuous physical activity, ATVs are an attractive alternative to enjoy the outdoors. Even for those very able to hike and get around, ATVs have become a favorite way to explore the outdoors and way to have family fun. For others, ATVs have a bad reputation for being noisy, and operators have been accused of being disrespectful of other recreationists, harassing wildlife, and causing environmental damage through misuse. Somewhere in the middle is a place for ATVs to be used properly as another tool to enjoy the outdoors without ruining it for others.
There are hundreds of miles of back country roads and trails throughout the Bridger-Teton National Forest that offer tremendous recreation opportunities for ATV fun throughout the county. You can almost pick your direction and drainage and go. Remember that motorized vehicles are not allowed in designated wilderness areas of the Forest which means the Bridger Wilderness and Gros Ventre Wilderness. Pick up the current travel map from the local Forest Service or BLM office for the area where you plan to be to see open and closed areas.
In Wyoming, all ATVs and trail bikes, including those owned by non-residents, are required to display a Wyoming ORV permit while operating on designated roads, trails, areas on public lands and state trust lands. This $15 annual permit may be purchased from selling agents across the state or by calling (307)777-7477. When on roads, operators must have a valid driver's license.
ORVs are mostly restricted to travel upon only established roads or trails. They may be operated upon public lands only when on roads, trails or areas designated "open" for motorized travel by the appropriate local land manager: Forest Service, BLM, or State. Contact the local office for the areas you plan to recreate to see which locations are open and closed to ORV use. It is illegal to operate an ATV or trail bike off trail or on any trail area closed to that specific type of vehicle as designated by the land management agency or land owner. Maps showing open and closed areas for public lands are available from the managing entity.
When operating an ORV on roads that are designated as part of the ORV Program, operators must have a valid driver's license. The ORV must have brake lights, taillights and headlights if operated 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise. When operated roads NOT designated part of the state ORV Program, an ORV may be operated only if it is street legal and has motorcycle plates. The operator must have a motorcycle operator's license and carry proof of liability insurance. ATVS and trail bikes must be equipped with approved and operating spark arresting mufflers and comply with sound regulations.
Use of ATVs by hunters has increased dramatically in the past ten years because they provide access to backcountry areas and make big game retrieval easier for many hunters. However, Wyoming 23-3-306 states:
"No person shall harass, pursue, hunt, or kill any Wyoming wildlife except predatory animals with, from , or by use of any aircraft, automotive vehicle, trailer, motor-propelled wheeled vehicle, or vehicle designed for travel over snow."
Conflict has occasionally occurred when one hunter's ATV noise chases deer and elk away from other hunters. This creates hard feelings among hunters who used stealth and stalking skills to get into a prime spot only to have their efforts spoiled by an ATV. Some hunters also complain that hunters using ATVs rather than on foot raises concerns of "fair chase" and can reflect poorly on hunting and hunters. For these reasons, those using ATVs are encouraged to be aware of regulations and guidelines for safe and courteous ATV operation on public lands, have their vehicles in good operating condition, have proper noise control devices, and be courteous of other recreationists.
- Know the vehicle use regulations for the area you will be recreating and respect road and area closures.
- Stay on existing roads or trails. Don't contribute to resource damage and habitat destruction by creating new travel ways for others to follow. Stay out of riparian areas and steep slopes where ruts may inflict vegetation damage or cause soil erosion.
- Show respect for others. Slow down or stop your ATV when you approach others on the trail. Pass in a safe and courteous manner.
Visitors often ask if there is any place locally where they can rent ATVs during their stay, like they can with snowmobiles. The answer is no, and the reason is because there is too much liability and risk associated with ATVs. If you fall on a snowmobile, it's like landing on a 7-foot-thick soft pillow and the rider and machine often come out unscathed. Roll an ATV on bare ground, and you're likely to get hurt. No business wants to accept that kind of liability and potential injury with its rental equipment. So, for that reason, if you want to ride ATVs here, you'll need to bring your own.
Bridger-Teton National Forest
P.O. Box 1888
Jackson, WY 83001
Pinedale Ranger District
29 E Fremont Lake Road, P.O. Box 220, Pinedale, WY, 82941
Big Piney Ranger District
P.O. Box 218, Big Piney, WY, 83113
307-276-3375 or 276-5800/5200
Bureau of Land Management
Pinedale Field Office
1625 West Pine Street
PO Box 768
Pinedale, WY 82941
Hours: 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.