Yes, you can ride a gas-powered mini bike on BLM land. You will, however, be required to keep that mini bike on established roads, trails, and clearings. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) does not allow you ride or drive a motorized vehicle over natural habitats, nor destroy plants, animals, or other natural features.
Can I Ride a Gas-Powered Mini Bike on BLM Land?
Technically, the BLM considers gas-powered mini bikes to be a motorized vehicle like any other, the same with cars, trucks, and RVs. As a result, they are subject to all the same rules as any other vehicle.
Moreover, the BLM defers to state law when it comes to driving a vehicle on its lands. Thus, as long as you have met the legal requirements to operate a motorized vehicle in that state, you are legally allowed to operate it on BLM land.
However, very few BLM officers or other law enforcement officers ever make a case against a child riding a mini bike on BLM land. As long as the child is riding on established roads, trails, or clearings, there is rarely ever a problem.
Does the BLM Require Permits for Mini Bikes?
No, the BLM has no permit requirements for mini bikes. The only time a permit will come into play is if you’re operating a vehicle within an Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) area (see below). And even at that, some of these OHV areas still do not require permits.
Does the BLM Require State Registration on Mini Bikes?
Legally speaking, the BLM defers to state law when it comes to operating vehicles on public roads. This includes BLM roads. However, we have never heard of law enforcement officers citing someone for operating an unregistered vehicle on BLM roads. The only time when an officer might cite you for this is if you’re operating a mini bike on a federal, state, or county road.
Note that many states do not require registration if a vehicle’s engine size is below 50cc.
You Must Remain on Established Roads and Trails
The BLM has a rule under (§ 8365.1-5 Property and resources) that prohibits you from destroying plants, destroying soil, or any natural object or area. This includes driving your vehicle away from the road and over natural landscape.
Thus, as long you keep your mini bike on established roads, trails, and clearings, you will not be in violation of that rule.
You Are Not Allowed to Make Excessive Noise
The BLM has a rule against making excessive noise. BLM rule (§ 8365.1-4 Public health, safety and comfort) prohibits making “excessive noise” along with “creating a hazard or nuisance”. Thus, if your mini bike is particularly loud, we recommend you camp well away from other campers.
In addition, don’t ride close to someone else’s camp, or ride in such a way as to bother their peace. That’s exactly what “creating a nuisance” is all about.
Off-Highway Vehicle Areas
The BLM operates several Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Areas across the western United States. You can find a directory of these areas here.
Only in these areas are you allowed to operate a mini bike, or any other vehicle, away from the road. Generally, you are free to ride or drive anywhere and everywhere you want in these areas. You are also free to make as much noise as you want.
However, each OHV area will come with its own rules. Some areas may require permits. Some areas may require flags.