Methow Valley Ranger District Travel Plan Maps

These are the current OHV and Motorcycle guidelines for the Methow Valley Ranger District from the 2005 Travel Plan

Street Legal Motorcycles

Only street legal motorcycles allowed on Forest roads. Required to be street legal:

  • Working headlight, tail lights and brake lights
  • Horn
  • Two mirrors
  • Spark arrester, USDA Forest Service approved
  • Department of Transportation approved tires
  • Valid State license plate
  • Valid State Motorcycle endorsement
  • Department of Transportation approved helmet
There are some roads in Okanogan County on NF land where non street legal vehicles are currently allowed to operate with street legal vehicles. See Travel Plan Maps.
Trail Legal Motorcycles

Motorcycles are allowed on designated Forest trails that are open to motorized use. Required to be trail legal:

  • Working headlights, tail lights - at night and during poor visibility
  • Spark arrester, USDA Forest Service approved
  • Muffler that limits exhaust noise to 105 decibels
  • Current ORV permit tabs, permits good for one year.
  • If your Off Highway Vehicle is licensed under state law for general operation on all public roads within the state, then it can operate on National Forests system roads open to highway vehicles. [Forest Service Manual 7710: Travel Planning] Note: This statement has been updated (August 2, 2013) to clarify motor vehicle use on Forest Service roads in light of the recent passage of Washington State House Bill 1632. More clarification HERE

  • If your OHV is not licensed, it may be used ONLY on roads that are blocked with rocks, trees or earthen barriers and not open for passenger cars or trucks. Be sure that the blocked road is not shown on the Okanogan National Forest Travel Plan Map as closed to all motorized vehicle use or closed on the ground with a written order.

  • OHV rules are different on State and Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife lands. Please check with the appropriate agency for information about OHV use.

  • If you have an OHV in a campground, please push or haul it to the blocked roads or areas where you can use it.

  • Blasting through streams stirs up the sediment in the stream bottom and can be damaging to fish and their ability to survive. Cross only at established fording points, an check water depth carefully.

  • When traveling through areas with switchbacks avoid cutting the corners when climbing and/or traveling down hill. Practicing these tread lightly rules will prevent erosion and resource damage and keep maintenance cost down.

  • Meadows, marshy areas and wetlands deserve special protection. Do not go through them at all. Look for trails around the edges where the soil is more firm and dry. Ruts made in meadows leave terrible impressions on the landscape and on everyone who sees them.

  • Remember areas signed as Wilderness are closed to all motorized or mechanized vehicles.

  • Try to stay in the middle of the trail to avoid widening it.

  • Even a quiet bike can sound noisy to other trail users - it depends on how it is ridden. Keep your speed and engine rpm low and steady in campgrounds, or anytime you are around non-riders.

  • When you meet horses or pack animals look and listen for any special instructions from the handler. Not all horses and pack animals react the same way around strangers, so slow down and stop on the outside edge of the trail with your engine off or get off of your bike. Never stop in a position which puts you above a horse or pack animal; it can make them feel vulnerable.

  • Always yield to and be courteous to hikers.

Tread Lightly
  • Travel only where motorized vehicles are permitted.

  • Respect the rights of hikers, horseback riders, skiers, campers and others so they can enjoy their activities undisturbed.

  • Educate yourself. Obtain Visitor Maps and regulations from public agencies, comply with signs and barriers, and ask owners' permission to cross private property.

  • Avoid streams, lakeshores, meadows, muddy roads and trails, steep hillsides, wildlife and livestock.

  • Drive responsibly to protect the environment and preserve opportunities to enjoy your vehicle on wildlands.

Safe Driving Tips
  • Drive at a reasonable speed. Most forest roads are not designed for high speeds. Your line of sight is often obstructed by trees, brush, hills, or sharp curves, and your vehicle cannot stop as quickly on gravel or dirt surfaces as on paved streets. Wildlife are frequently encountered on Forest roads.

  • Many Forest roads are one-lane wide. On curves, keep to the right and use turnouts to allow oncoming vehicles to pass. Please do not block turnouts or use them for an "extended" stop.

  • Use a vehicle that is suitable for rough travel and carry extra supplies. Food, gas, and lodging are seldom available along National Forest roads. Take adequate clothing along with you, and let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.

  • Forest roads are not maintained for winter travel; be aware that ice and snow can cause problems even on paved roads.

  • Log trucks and logging activities may be encountered at any time, even on weekends. Be alert!

  • State traffic regulations apply when traveling on Forest roads. If an injury accident occurs in the Forest, call 911.

Why is this Road Closed?

There are a number of reasons some modes of travel are restricted within National Forests. These are not always well understood, particularly if encountered unexpectedly. Here are some reasons for them ...

  • Wildlife Habitat Protection -- Many closures are put into effect to protect critical areas where big-game animals live. These areas are sensitive and often include winter ranges, calving grounds, or security areas. These same areas are often open to vehicle use during other times of the year when big game are less likely to be disturbed.

  • Water Quality and Erosion Control -- Some roads and trails are closed during wet weather to prevent rutting and other roadbed damage. This reduces erosion and the amount of sediment that can be transported to streams. Sediment is a serious threat to spawning and rearing grounds for steelhead, salmon, and other fish.

  • Public Safety -- In some specific instances, certain types of travel are prohibited to ensure user safety. Even so, caution should be used on every Forest route.

  • Recreation -- One goal on the Okanogan National Forest is to provide a broad range of recreation settings and opportunities. Some areas of the Forest are designated for non motorized recreation to achieve a balance with motorized recreation opportunities.