Itching to hit the trails and get your ATV dirty? We’ve got you covered.
While there are no ATV trails in Sacramento, there are plenty of great places to ride your ATV nearby in the Northern California area. And many are just a short drive away from the state capital.
In this post, we’ll be looking at some of the best places to ride an ATV near Sacramento, including State Vehicular Recreation Areas (SVRAs) and lands under the control of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Ready? Let’s get started!
Top 4 Places to Ride an ATV Near Sacramento
1. Prairie City
Prairie City SVRA is the closest place to Sacramento for ATV riding. It’s less than a 30-minute drive from downtown Sacramento and offers 50 miles of ATV riding over 836 acres of land.
To get to the Prairie City SVRA ATV riding trailhead from Sacramento, head East on the US50 for around 20 miles or so, then south down Prairie City Road for around 2 miles. Turn right onto White Rock Road, and left at Aerojet Road until you reach the trailhead.
Once you’re there, you’ll be able to explore a variety of interesting terrain from flat grasslands to rolling hills and cobbled mine tailings. There are trails challenging enough for all skill levels whether you’re a total beginner or an experienced ATV rider.
There’s also an abundance of local wildlife in the area, so if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a golden eagle, prairie falcon, deer, or red-tailed hawk during your visit.
The red sticker season at Prairie City runs from September 1st to April 30th.
2. Mammoth Bar
Mammoth Bar OHV Area is another popular spot located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, around 40 miles northeast of Sacramento (around a 45-minute drive). It boasts over 50 miles of ATV trails spread across 1,200 acres of land.
Unlike Prairie City, Mammoth Bar is open year-round for red sticker vehicles so it’s a great place to visit out of the usual riding season. It’s open every day (depending on the weather), but OHVs are only allowed on Ride Days (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday).
There’s a wide range of trails and conditions, and the setting is beautiful. Some of the ATV trails are two-way while others are one-way.
3. Yuba City trails
Around 40 miles north of downtown Sacramento, and just south of Yuba City, you’ll find the E Street MX and Riverfront MX Park areas. E Street MX is NorCal’s finest sand track and has 77 acres open for ATV riding. You can reach it within a 40-minute drive of Sacramento.
4. Sly Park
Sly Park is a lesser-known trail location near Sacramento that’s a real hidden gem. It’s around 60 miles east of the city and you should be able to reach it in around an hour’s drive.
Just take Highway 50 East, exit to the right at Sly Park, and turn left when you reach Park Creek. After you’ve gone around half a mile down the road, you’ll reach a dirt turn-around area where the dirt road starts. Then just park up and ride anywhere you want. It’s super quiet and peaceful, and the trail goes on for miles.
Other Places to Ride an ATV Near Sacramento
Those are just four of our favorite spots, but there are plenty of other places to ride your ATV near Sacramento. Here are some other noteworthy spots worth checking out:
- Carnegie State Recreation Area
- Stonyford OHV Area
- Clay Pit Off-Road Area
- Upper Black Rock Canyon
- Knoxville Recreation Area
- Fort Sage OHV Area
All of the above should be accessible within a few hours’ drive from the city.
Tips for Riding an ATV Near Sacramento
Before we wrap up, here are some tips and best practices to follow regardless of which trail you use.
Make Sure Your Vehicle is Legal
Before you hit the trails, it’s important to make sure your ATV is legal. If you’re a resident of California, it’ll need to be registered with the state of California.
If you’re visiting from elsewhere, you won’t need to register your vehicle in California as long as it’s registered in your home state. But if you’re not registered in your home state, you’ll need to get a nonresident permit sticker before you can ride on public lands in California.
You’re also required to wear a helmet when you’re driving an ATV in California. And ATV safety certification is required for children under the age of 14. There may be other rules and regulations aside from the above, and it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re aware of and comply with all of them.
Be Aware Of Trail Closures & Restrictions
Some trails may be closed at certain times of the year. For example, some tracks may close for a few days following periods of rainfall to allow time for them to dry and prevent ruts from forming. If you ignore trail closures, you could face serious penalties.
Many trails also only allow red sticker vehicles to ride during certain seasons, rather than year-round. So if your ATV has a red registration sticker, make sure you check the CARB red sticker riding season schedule before you head out.
Red sticker vehicles are those that don’t meet the emission standards required for a green sticker in California.
Always Practice Good Trail Etiquette
Depending on which trail you ride on, you may be sharing it with other people and animals, like horses, hikers, and bikers. That’s why it’s important to practice proper trail etiquette:
- Give right of way to people who aren’t using a motorized vehicle
- Slow to 15 miles per hour or less when you’re within 50 yards of any concentration of people or animals (including campgrounds).
- If you encounter someone riding a horse, move over to the side, turn off your engine, remove your helmet, and greet the rider calmly to avoid spooking the horse.
- If you have to pass a horse rider from behind, slow down and call out to let the rider know you want to pass, then wait for them to turn to face you and wave you past. Try to pass quietly without revving your engine in order to avoid spooking the animal.
Be Conscious of Wildlife
Many areas in northern California play host to an abundance of wildlife. Be respectful of this and never chase or harass any wildlife on your ATV.
You should also be mindful of bears if you’re riding in a forested area. Take all your trash away with you, including biodegradable trash like fruit peelings, as the scent from these items can attract bears and endanger other trail users.
That concludes our guide to the best places to ride an ATV near Sacramento. As you can see, there are plenty of options to choose from, and you can check out our ATV inventory for vehicles to ride in these locations.
Bear in mind that this isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list. While these are some of our favorite spots, there are many more areas to explore. You can find more places to ride in and around California on sites like Trailsource and the OHV California State Parks website.
Related: Dirt Bike Trails In Sacramento