E-bike use on National Forest Lands

A lady on an ebike in the forest


Electric bicycles (e-bikes) and electric mountain bikes (eMTB) have grown in popularity and offer increased potential for quality recreation experiences, where determined appropriate, that connect people with enjoyment of their public lands. This emerging technology has created questions on how the US Forest Service manages e-bikes. Per the US Forest Service Travel Management Rule, the Forest Service currently manages electric bicycles (e-bikes) and electric mountain bikes (eMTB) as motorized vehicles, which are defined as any vehicle that is self-propelled, with the exception of a vehicle that travels on rails or fits the vehicle criteria for “mobility use” for mobility impaired individuals. Technologies that merge bicycles and motors (gas, batteries or electric powered) are therefore considered motor vehicles and can be used on National Forest System lands where motor vehicles are allowed.
*see Motor Vehicle Use Maps for road designations
The Umatilla National Forests offer over 2,090 miles of roads and over 256 miles of trails open to motorized recreation. 
Here are a few guidelines for riding e-bikes on the Forest:
  • E-bikes are prohibited on non-motorized trails, including trails open to bicycles. 
  • Vehicles, including e-bikes, are not allowed to travel beyond gates or barriers.
  • E-bike travel in designated Wilderness, Recommended Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas is not allowed.
  • Temporary and emergency closure orders may be implemented when road and trail conditions are considered unsafe (e.g., soft wet roads, washouts, fire).
For more information, contact your local district office. 
Visitors are encouraged to ensure they carry or download maps of the Umatilla National Forest to refer to while they are traveling in locations where they may be unsure if their vehicle or e-bike is allowed. Maps may be purchased for $14 each from Forest Service offices.  Maps can also be downloaded for GPS enabled smartphones or tablets from the “Avenza” map app for $4.99 each.