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[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”] [et_pb_row admin_label=”row”] [et_pb_column type=”4_4″] [et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”] In Arizona, is it legal to ride on a dirt road with OHV plates?


Arizona has six (6) different National Forest areas that range from the high pine trees to the scenic desert regions.  These National Forests have hundreds of miles of dirt roads for recreational enjoyment.   One of the fastest ways to turn a fun weekend into a nightmare is to be ticketed or arrested for misusing that land.

You have just purchased a new UTV, registered it with an OHV tag, and are ready to go out for a rip.   You load up and head out to the mountains or desert with a large group of friends.  As you unload near a National Forest dirt road and look at all of the registrations, you realize that some of the vehicles have an OHV tag, some have an MC tag and others are not registered at all.  Some have lights, others don’t.  You start to wonder if everyone in your party is legal to ride on the National Forest roads.

Required Equipment

In Arizona there are several items that are required regardless of where you ride.

  • Spark Arrestor
  • Muffler
  • US DOT approved helmet for anyone under 18 years of age
  • Eye protection
  • Brakes
  • Lighted headlights and taillights for ½ hour after sunset and ½ hour before sunrise

Most sand dune areas require a safety flag and must be at least eight (8) feet above the ground.

Vertical Forest Service Roads

If you are riding on a National Forest road that has a vertical numbered route marker, then you are legal to ride with an RV plate and Decal or MC plate and an OHV Decal.

Horizontal Forest Service Roads

If you are riding on a National Forest road that has a horizontal numbered route marker, then you are required to be street legal with an MC plate and OHV decal.

Who has to be licensed?

The following rules about who has to be licensed are taken directly from

“The policy for driving motorized vehicles in a National Forest is tied to the State of Arizona’s motor vehicle policy.  On all state, county, and those forest roads marked by a horizontally-numbered route marker (i.e. 249), the motorized vehicle and its driver must be “street legal” and licensed.  On unmarked forest roads or forest roads which are marked by a vertical route number, the driver does not need to be licensed.”

The Simple Rule of Thumb

Vertical Sign:  Must have proper equipment required on all vehicles; must have an OHV tag; and do not need to be a licensed driver.

Horizontal Sign: Must have proper equipment required on all vehicles; must have proper equipment to make the vehicle street legal; must be licensed; and the driver must be licensed.


Make sure you are legal when enjoying the great State of Arizona!


We are experienced and knowledge attorneys regarding UTVs and ROVs.  If you or someone you know has been injured, call us at 833-4UTVLAW or visit



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