Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) riding in the Lake Tahoe Basin

Lake Tahoe Basin Off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation is a popular activity for locals and visitors in the Lake Tahoe Basin. It is a sport that includes 4-wheel drive vehicles, motorcycles, and all terrain vehicles (ATVs).

The following information contains descriptions and maps of the legal routes of travel. OHV use at Lake Tahoe is an activity that the Forest Service manages to ensure conflicts are minimized and that sensitive soils and other resources are protected.

Help us keep your public lands open, please ride responsibly by respecting gates and posted closures, avoiding wildlife, being courteous to other users and staying on designated routes.


2014 Off-Highway Vehicle Grant


The USDA Forest Service-Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit is submitting an application to the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVR) of the California State Parks for grants to provide financial assistance to the Forest Service for Ground Operations Management and Maintenance and for support of its OHV and Over-Snow-Vehicle (OSV) law enforcement patrol and OHV education.

A preliminary application will be submitted on March 3, 2014. The final filing date for this grant will be on May 5, 2014. Organizations or individuals with comments regarding the grant request are asked to review these applications and send your comments to the OHMVR Division via webmail:

Forest Service contact:

Don Lane
USDA Forest Service
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
35 College Drive
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150



Motor Vehicle Route Designation

The Forest Service wants to improve its management by balancing the public's enjoyment of using OHVs with ensuring the best possible care of the land. At the national level, the Forest Service has revised its policy governing the use of wheeled motor vehicles to develop a system of roads, trails and areas designated for motor vehicle use.


Sand Pit OHV Area

Follow the link listed below to read the rules and regulations for the Sand Pit OHV Area located on the south Shore of Lake Tahoe.


Safety First

You are encouraged to take the following equipment every time you use your OHV: seat belts, roll bar, nylon tow strap, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, flash light, CB radio with channel 19, maps, jackets, and PLENTY of water and snacks to last you for a good day's hike in case of a vehicle breakdown.  Be sure you have enough fuel for the entire day. Remember, you can ride an OHV farther in one hour than you can walk in a day.

National Forests belong to a variety of users. Trails are shared by hikers, horses and mountain bikes. Please use caution and courtesy when encountering another user. Enjoy your ride!


Tools of the Trade

Even if you're only planning on a short ride, bring along some tools such as: screwdrivers, hammer, small tire pump, patch kit, specialty wrenches, pliers, tow strap, extra U-bolts for the axles, etc. A simple tool may be all you need to keep you riding instead of walking.


Questions? Contact the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit at (530) 543-2694 or email