Blue ATV on edge of cliff looking out

The Best ATV Trails in Wisconsin: A Guide for Adventure Seekers

The best ATV trails in Wisconsin are perfect for every rider, regardless of skill level. With more than a dozen routes, ATV riding in Wisconsin is enjoyable and pleasurable for all enthusiasts.

The diverse landscapes ensure that outdoor activities in Wisconsin are sights and experiences that you just can’t miss. Paired with this ATV trails guide, your Wisconsin off-road adventures are guaranteed to thrill.


Get ready for a one-of-a-kind riding experience! To get ready, let's look at some ATV trail reviews and learn about the best ones in the state.


Discovering the Best ATV Trails in Wisconsin


Wisconsin boasts a collection of top-tier ATV trails that cater to a range of riding preferences and skill levels. These trails are situated amidst the state's breathtaking landscapes, offering thrilling experiences for ATV enthusiasts.


Dead Horse Run ATV Trail


The Dead Horse Run ATV Trail offers an unforgettable adventure for thrill-seekers. The trail is nestled in the heart of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest; it's not for the faint of heart!


It challenges riders with rugged terrain spanning approximately 35 miles, weaving through dense forests, crossing rivers, and tackling rocky paths.


As one of the most exhilarating Wisconsin ATV trails, it has an adventurous river crossing. You'll get to test your ATV-handling maneuvers through the waters.


  • Trail highlights: The national forest's gorgeous vista adds depth to your off-road adventures. You get the opportunity to take in wildlife sightings and nature photography.


  • Recommended riding level: Intermediate to advanced — This challenging terrain demands high skill and plenty of experience. Due to the difficulty level, wear proper safety gear.


Black River State Forest


ATV enthusiasts seeking a variety of trails can go to the Black River State Forest trail. The forest's Wisconsin ATV trail map gives you an arena of varying degrees of expertise. The novice-friendly paths are relatively straightforward, while the more difficult ones will entertain advanced riders.


Located in western Wisconsin, the two-way trails in this expansive forest are 98 miles long. The forest has an extensive trail network within lush greenery and meandering streams. Check out the local wildlife as you complete the routes.


  • Trail highlights: Its connection to Jackson County Forest and Clark County ATV Trail gives you a wider area to explore. Camping facilities are also available for an extensive outdoor experience.


  • Recommended riding level: All levels — Riders of all skill levels can go through easy to moderate trails for a pressure-free ride.


Cheese Country ATV Trail


Wondering about the name of this trail? Cheese Country ATV Trail comes from the "cheesiest" city in the United States: Monroe.


The trail starts at Monroe and stretches to Mineral Point, an artisan community in Wisconsin.


This trail takes you through the charming countryside, connecting historic mining sites and quaint small towns. You'll encounter a variety of terrain, from rolling hills to flat stretches, ensuring an engaging and diverse riding experience.


  • Trail highlights: The plethora of attractions along the trail is exciting from restaurants to shopping to accommodations. While you’re there, make sure to go on a culinary adventure to taste Wisconsin's famous cheese.


  • Recommended riding level: Beginner to Intermediate — The trail may be too mild for thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies. But if you're looking for a relaxing ATV-riding holiday, this is the place for you.


Dusty Trails


Like its name, Dusty Trails is all about dust. The trail is covered in sandy dirt covering the land area. Because ATVs usually kick up dust in the area, it earns this moniker.


If you're searching for an unconventional adventure, the 110-mile-long Dusty Trails promises a unique experience. This trail takes you through a captivating landscape of dunes, wooded tracks, and open fields, offering a true escape into nature.


  • Trail highlights: The dunes make for a terrific challenge. It's an ideal destination for families and large groups.


  • Recommended riding level: All levels — The trail has various terrains (dusty, muddy, and grassy surfaces); you can even ride on wooden bridges. Unsurprisingly, this Oconto County trail puts a high emphasis on preserving the natural environment.


Richard Bong State Recreation Area


For a diverse ATV experience encompassing woodland trails, wetland crossings, and more, the Bong State Recreation Area has you covered. Located near Kenosha, this area has a series of courses (all one-way) spanning seven miles on 4,500 acres of land.


The trails cater to different ranges of skill levels. So explore the beauty of the woodlands, traverse wetland areas, and enjoy the serenity of the natural surroundings. The Bong State Recreation Area also offers plenty of amusements for outdoor activities in Wisconsin.


  • Trail highlights: The scenic trail can be enjoyed for various activities. You can fish, swim, or camp here.


  • Recommended riding level: Beginner to intermediate — While the course seems easy, beware of deep holes and sharp turns.


Flambeau River Trail


Prepare for a captivating ATV expedition along the Flambeau River Trail. The multi-use trail is one of Wisconsin's natural prides, located in the Medford-Park Falls Ranger District in the beautiful Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.


As you ride alongside the river, you'll get the chance to discover miles of trail, remote areas that may not be available otherwise. Different vegetations in the forest area serve as a green corridor for your adventure, from pine to hardwoods and aspen.


  • Trail highlights: The siren call to explore remote and less-traveled areas should keep your interest alive. The rolling terrain includes bogs, lakes, and wooden bridges. Plus, there are campgrounds near the trail for you to take the whole family to.


  • Recommended riding level: Intermediate — The 70-mile trail is no problem for experienced riders. In the winter, it opens for snowmobile use.


Tri-County Recreation Corridor


For the ultimate multi-day ATV adventure, the Tri-County Recreation Corridor spans three counties — Ashland, Bayfield, and Douglas Counties— offering a diverse range of trail surfaces and environments.


Crushed limestone makes most of the trail, but a small three-mile asphalt trail at Ashland's Central Railyard Park is also available.


ATV traffic is usually busy, particularly during weekends so some sections will have loose gravel. Nonetheless, the trail has ample opportunities for exploration, with different attractions like old railroads and bridges along the way.


  • Trail highlights: The area is ideal for extended multi-day adventures, comprising a 62-mile-long corridor with diverse trails. From gravel to forested areas, the trail surfaces are enhanced by panoramic views.


  • Recommended riding level: All levels — The trail is easy enough, but amenities are rare. Pack your snacks and beverages.


ATVs exploring rough terrain


ATV Regulations in Wisconsin


The state of Wisconsin has established a comprehensive set of regulations and guidelines for ATV riding. Read up on it on Wisconsin's ATV regulations page.


Starting with the definition of the vehicles, Wisconsin has specific rules about what constitutes the standard weight and dimensions of ATVs. ATVs not fitting the state-defined size can be registered as UTVs. There is also a list of vehicles that cannot be registered as ATVs.


ATVs must also be titled with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Registration is mandatory for all ATVs and UTVs, especially in public areas.


ATV owners must register their vehicles within ten days of completing the purchase. When purchasing from a dealer, the deadline is five days to submit the registration.


After registering the vehicle, you must attach a license plate. But this plate will cost extra as it doesn't come with the registration. You must purchase or make one.


Meanwhile, non-Wisconsin residents must get a valid Public Use registration to operate their vehicles. A trail pass for non-residents is also available. An annual key is obtainable; a temporary one will be issued until the non-resident receives the original in the mail.


Furthermore, there are specific requirements and restrictions for underage riders. These requirements, among others, include:


  • Riders under 12 are generally prohibited from operating ATVs on public trails except on private property with the landowner's permission.


  • Riders aged 12 to 15 must complete an ATV safety certification course and carry the certification while operating an ATV on public trails. They must also be accompanied by a parent or guardian or supervised by an adult over 18 with a valid ATV safety certification.


  • Riders over 11 must complete an ATV safety certification course approved by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources before operating on public trails.


Wisconsin's Weather for ATV Riding


As one of the coldest regions in the country, it's advisable to study the state's weather and climate before riding in the ATV trails of Wisconsin. It also helps to learn about Wisconsin ATV trail conditions to ensure a safe ride.


The following is a breakdown of Wisconsin's seasonal weather pattern to prepare for your off-road trip.


Winter (December-February)


Wisconsin winters are marked by cold temperatures and significant snowfall, particularly in the northern and central regions. This season poses the most critical challenge for ATV riders, as the snow-covered trails and icy conditions make off-road riding nearly impossible.


However, some ATV trails may remain open during winter, especially in the southern parts of the state, where snow accumulation is less severe.


Spring (March-May)


The temperatures shift to warmer ones in a Wisconsin spring. As the snow melts and trails begin to clear, ATV enthusiasts can look forward to returning to the tracks.


However, spring can be unpredictable, with varying weather conditions, including rain, mud, and even lingering snow in some areas. Some trails gradually reopen, but the snow melts, and rain can lead to muddy and slippery trails.


Summer (June-August)


Summer is a prime season for ATV riding in Wisconsin, with warm temperatures and relatively dry conditions. Trails are open and accessible, allowing riders to explore the state's diverse landscapes, including forests, rivers, and open fields.


Summer is also the peak time for ATV-related events and gatherings. Popular trails may become crowded due to increased ridership. Also, stay hydrated and protect your skin with appropriate clothing and sunscreen.


Fall (September-November)


Fall in Wisconsin is an excellent time for ATV riding, as the weather is generally pleasant and trails remain open. Riders can enjoy the stunning fall colors while exploring the diverse terrain, although keep in mind that the cooling temperatures may require additional layers of clothing.


Nonetheless, as the temperatures fluctuate, ATV riding is comfortable without summer's heat. The fall foliage is truly spectacular for scenic rides. Remember to observe the weather forecasts and plan accordingly.


 View outside of the driver's seat while climbing rough terrain


Frequently Asked Questions


Which Wisconsin ATV trails are people's favorite?


Dead Horse Run ATV Trail, Black River State Forest, Cheese Country ATV Trail, Dusty Trails, and Richard Bong State Recreation Area are Wisconsin's top five ATV trails with a five-star rating. Flambeau River Trail and Tri-County Recreation Corridor closely follow.


How do I access Wisconsin ATV trail maps?


There are several places online where you can access the trail maps.



Where can I find reviews of Wisconsin's off-road trails?


Travel Wisconsin's website has reviews of ATV trails in Wisconsin. Trail Source has a star ranking system for the off-road trails in Wisconsin. A simple Google search with the keywords "reviews of Wisconsin's off-road trails" will yield plenty of results.


What outdoor activities are recommended in Wisconsin apart from ATV riding?


Wisconsin has abundant outdoor activities to choose from. Camping and joining tours are only the start. Winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, and dog sledding are available. And some of the others include:


  • Wildlife-related: Birding, fishing, horseback riding
  • Recreational sports: Golf, biking, hunting,
  • Water sports: Swimming, canoeing, kayaking, boating, sailing, water skiing


What are the current trail conditions for ATV trails in Wisconsin?


To find out the current trail conditions for ATV trails in Wisconsin, visit each trail's website or each county's website. For example, Price County, Iron County, Bayfield County and Jackson County have information on their ATV trails.


After planning your ride, it’s always a good idea to check your trail's location to determine its conditions before going out.




As you can see from our recommendations, you can find the best ATV routes in Wisconsin all over the state. Dead Horse Run ATV Trail and Black River State Forest are Wisconsin's only two off-road trails.


Hundreds of miles of trails connect you with nature and let you explore Wisconsin's diverse landscapes. As you embark on your ATV journey, remember to ride responsibly, respect the environment, and embrace the thrill of the open trail.


Ready to gear up for your ATV adventure in Wisconsin? Before you head out to the trails, you should make sure that you have all the equipment you need. You should also make sure that what you’re riding reflects your own unique personality and style.


Want to get started with customizing your vehicle and making sure your style shines through as you ride the Wisconsin trails? Check out Thumper Fab’s durable and feature-packed off-road products here!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.