Motor Vehicle Use Maps

Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) display National Forest System (NFS) roads and trails and designates areas open to motorized travel. The MVUMs also display:

  • allowed uses by vehicle class, such as highway-legal vehicles, vehicles up to 50 inches in width, and motorcycles;
  • seasonal allowances;
  • distance allowances; and 
  • information on other travel rules and regulations.

MVUMs are black and white maps with no topographic features. They are intended to provide legal designations for where visitors can travel with various motorized vehicles. For additional reference, use the MVUMs in conjunction with a Forest Visitor Map or other detailed map.

Hard copy MVUMs are free to the public at each district or area office and at the Supervisor’s Office. The maps are also available for free through the Avenza app and can be downloaded directly into the app from this Forest overview map with QR Codes.

Sawtooth NF Motor Vehicle Use Maps

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get a MVUM?
Maps will be posted on this website and paper copies of these maps will be available free of charge at each of the Sawtooth National Forest offices.

How many MVUM's are there for the Sawtooth National Forest?
There are two maps for the Minidoka Ranger District, East and West, and one map each for the Fairfield and Ketchum Ranger Districts, as well as the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.  Currently all of the maps are available at Sawtooth NF Offices, and posted to the website.

How do I print the MVUM?
A full-size version of the MVUM is 36” x 44” and cannot be printed on conventional home printers. A full-size version can only be printed from a large plotter. Many local copy shops, engineering and survey businesses can print the map.
To be readable, only a portion of the MVUM can be printed on 8 ½” x 11” paper using home printers. With Adobe Acrobat®, use the “Print Current View” function to print the view on your screen. It is recommended that the legend box be printed to aid in interpretation of the MVUM.

What does a MVUM show me?

  • The map displays all National Forest System roads, trails and designated areas allowing public motor vehicle use. This is commonly referred to as designation. It also states that driving off designated roads and trails is prohibited (36 CFR 261.13).
  • Motorized use includes but is not limited to Motorcycles, ATV’s, and 4-wheel drive vehicles.
  • Designation details include vehicle class, time of year, and motorized access for the purpose of dispersed camping (camping in established locations other than campgrounds).
  • The MVUM also shows roads where only highway-legal vehicles are allowed because of user safety considerations.

Limited motor vehicle access may occur on routes not shown on the MVUM for the purpose of administrative access by Forest Service personnel; for fire and law enforcement; for emergency purposes; and by persons authorized by a written special use permit or contract from the Forest Service.

Does the MVUM also show mechanized and non-motorized trails and over-snow vehicle uses?
No, a visitor map or recreation opportunity map will provide information on over-snow and non-motorized routes, including mechanized trails, hiking, and horse trails. Over-snow vehicle use is exempted from designations on the MVUM. Regardless of what other maps (including the Forest Visitor Map) may show as motorized routes, only those routes identified on the MVUM are designated as open to public motorized use and legal for public motorized travel.

What do you mean by vehicle class?
By vehicle class we are referring to size or type of motorized vehicles. The following are typical MVUM vehicle class and route designations:

  • Roads open to all vehicles (licensed and unlicensed)
  • Roads open to highway legal vehicles only
  • Trails open to all (full size) vehicles (trails may be rugged and narrow- intended for 4x4s)
  • Trails open to vehicles 50 inches in width or less (ATV, motorcycle, etc.)
  • Trails open to motorcycles only (single track)

It’s important to understand that routes and areas shown open to certain vehicle classes does not mean they are maintained for or suitable for travel using those vehicles. It simply means it is legal to use them. For example, many low standard roads may be open to all motor vehicles. This designation includes passenger cars, although it may not be prudent to drive this type of vehicle on the route due to the condition of the surface or during inclement weather.

What do you mean by a season allowance?
Some routes or areas may be open only during certain times of the year for various reasons such as to reduce wildlife disturbance, protect users from unsafe or impassable conditions and to reduce impacts to other resource values, like soil, water, and vegetation.

Are there road and trail route marker signs on the ground?
On the Sawtooth NF our goal is to have most, if not all, of our motorized travel routes signed at primary junctions, at any given time. In some cases, a route marker may exist at the entrance of the road/trail with symbols indicating which classes of vehicles are allowed. Routes designated for motorized uses will be identified on the MVUM. The MVUM is an enforcement tool to ensure individuals are on the correct route.

It is the responsibility of the user to determine if they are on a route designated for the motor vehicle being used. MVUM's will be developed for each forest nationwide. It is not only a tool for motorized users, but also a consistent and standardized law enforcement tool.

When will the MVUM become enforceable?
The MVUM becomes enforceable when the map has been posted to the web and is available to the public in a hard copy format. Typically, the maps will be posted on the web first. Hard copy maps will be available 30 to 60 days after the web posting.

After MVUMs are available to the public in map form and on the web, what will be the USFS enforcement strategy?
When new regulations are posted, the Forest Service provides some time to educate the public about the specifics of the regulation. A law enforcement officer contact with the public is a great opportunity to provide information education and create awareness about MVUMs. However, law enforcement officers can issue a notice of violation anytime after the MVUM is publically available. Users should be aware that these maps have been available for a couple of years.