7 Best ATV Trails in MA: Massachusetts

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Massachusetts is relatively small compared to other US states where you can enjoy riding off-road; however, it’s got stunning landscapes and plenty of variety nonetheless. The state forests are very different from each other, from laid-back cruising to muddy, rocky terrain and steep hills that will test your skills and resolve. There is also an excellent track and trail system to enjoy.

So, where are the 7 best ATV trails in Massachusetts?

Here are the top picks:

  1. Beartown State Forest
  2. Pittsfield State Forest
  3. 508 International 
  4. Bonny Rigg Campground
  5. October Mountain State Forest
  6. Cape Cod National Seashore
  7. The Wick 338

Whether you use the state forests or the time-restricted access of some of the off-roading parks and motocross tracks, there are many options for riding an ATV in Massachusetts. Here is a guide to the Pilgrim State’s best trails.

7 Best ATV Trails in MA

Yellow ATV Quad Turning Corner

1. Beartown State Forest

Without a doubt, a top place to find off road trails in MA is Beartown State Forest. It extends over 12,000 acres and offers various outdoor activities, from fishing in summer to cross-country skiing in winter. Access to the forest in the summer (from May to Labor Day) is controlled through parking fees charged by the day, with MA residents only needing to pay $8, while for non-MA residents, the fee is $30.

ATVs are welcome on 16.4 miles of designated trails, which will challenge you with muddy, loose rocks, tree roots, and technical obstacles as well as mud pools and steep climbs and descents. It’s not a ride for the faint-hearted! There are trail maps you can buy at the forest kiosk.

Beyond the ATV trails, you can stop off at the campground and stay over a few days, enjoying the opportunity to swim in Lake Benedict, take a boat out or go hiking (the famous Appalachian Trail passes through the forest, and you can easily join it for a portion). Snowmobiles are allowed here in winter, too.

Finally, one of the more exciting aspects of riding in Beartown State Forest is the wildlife. You’re likely to encounter bobcats, deer, and even bears.

2. Pittsfield State Forest

The other major destination for ATV riding in Massachusetts is Pittsfield State Forest. Access to motorized vehicles is limited to particular areas because of conservation and environmental protection initiatives, but you can get a permit and explore nonetheless. Outside the ATV trails, you’ll also get to visit 65 acres of wild azalea fields here.

The total riding distance is only about 16 miles through hardwood forest, with smooth riding and fast trails. The ATV trails are explicitly marked, so look out for the signs and follow the trail map.

Maps are free at the ranger station, and you’ll need to park at either Potter Mountain Road Trailhead or on Route 20 in Hancock, as these are the designated ATV parking areas.

In addition to ATV riding, you can use the campground, lots of picnic and BBQ areas, and in winter you can bring a snowmobile here. You’ll need to have a Massachusetts OHV permit, and the forest is open for ATVs from May through to the last Sunday in November.

3. 508 International

508 International in Charlton, MA, is an action sports venue dedicated to creating “a vibrant hub for sports entertainment where new experiences, competitions, and partnerships emerge.” They allow any OHVs on-site, including ATVs, and position themselves as “New England’s playground.” 

Beyond the trails, you can also try your hand at climbing, obstacle racing, slacklining, or even outdoor yoga courses. This outdoor adventure park keeps a schedule of days when it grants access to different riders, so make sure you check their website.

4. Bonny Rigg Campground

This privately owned campground near Becket, MA, offers RV and tent campsites set amongst a beautiful forest. You can ride your ATV on a few miles of rocky terrain within the campground, on a maintained short loop. Beyond that, you’ll be close to any state forests with great designated trails, such as Beartown, Pittsfield, and October Mountain.

5. October Mountain State Forest

October Mountain State Forest has several miles of designated ATV trails. The forest is well-known for its remarkable geology and wildlife, making it an excellent family destination to discover multiple activities. You can stay on campsites not far off from the trails, too.

The 27 miles of ATV trails wind through 16,000 acres of mixed hardwood trees, and you can even hop off the ATV and walk some of the Appalachian Trail here. The riding terrain is very rocky, gaining the forest the name of “Rocktober.” However, Pittsfield State Forest is not far away if you want to take a break on easier trails after a challenging day out. 

Access to the trail is open during the day only, from May to the end of November. In winter, the trails are open for snowmobiles.

6. Cape Cod National Seashore

If you’re looking to go to the seaside for your Massachusetts ATV trails, there is no better spot to do so than at Cape Cod. This is an opportunity to explore sand dunes and water views on the 40 miles of beaches, salt marshes, and the seashore’s uplands.

You will need to check with the park if you need an orientation before riding here, so visit their website first.

7. The Wick 338

The Wick is a race track for motocross bikes formerly known as Southwick MX, located near Southwick, MA. It opens for ATVs too, on certain days.

The track is pretty impressive and will be great fun to ride and practice your off-roading skills.

Rules for ATV Riding in MA

Despite these great destinations for ATV riding in Massachusetts, the state is famous for having the strictest ATV and UTV laws in the United States. Unlike other destinations where you may be allowed to ride your ATV in towns, and you may think you don’t need to worry too much about permits and the like, the rules for ATV riding in MA are worth examining closer.

Your Vehicle Must Be Registered

You need to register your ATV with Massachusetts state and carry your registration permit, as well as affix registration numbers to your vehicle. The only exception is if you were only riding on private agricultural land.

Moreover, Massachusetts doesn’t accept out of state registrations. That means that, even as a non-resident, you need to register your vehicle for a one-year minimum, in person or by mail.

Required Equipment for Riding

When riding your ATV, you must always wear a securely fastened DOT-approved helmet. This is different from most other states, where a helmet is only required for younger riders.

Each ATV also has to have one or more headlights, red rear light, and a red rear reflector.

ATV riders are also encouraged (but not required to) to wear eye protection, gloves, and over-the-ankle boots.

Finally, ATVs and UTVs must have an adequate braking system, a spark arrestor, and a muffler.

What About Young Riders?

You can’t ride an ATV under the age of 14, with the only exception of 10-14 year-olds under the direct supervision of an adult if they are in a sanctioned race, rally, or event.

Ages 14 to 18 can ride ATVs once they complete an OHV safety course. They must carry the Massachusetts OHV Safety Certificate when riding on public lands.

Where Can You Ride ATVs in Massachusetts?

There are strict limitations as to where you’re allowed to ride in MA, as you can only use your ATV on specific trails in select public land, and mostly only between May and November (depending on when the trails are officially open). There will always be trailhead signage that confirms where you can ride, and you should always check with the state parks or with the Department of Conservation and Recreation if you’re in any doubt.

To be safe, stick with the trails described here, and when in doubt, check the state forests and parks.

ATV Rentals in MA

Given the strict regulations around permits and registering your vehicle in MA, you may find it a lot easier to rent an ATV locally during your stay in Massachusetts.

search by location is probably the best bet for finding the most suitable rental location, especially if you don’t have an easy way to transport your ATV from the rental place to the trailhead.

Conclusion – Riding ATVs in MA

So, what are the 7 best MA ATV trails? To summarize, here is the list once more:

  1. Beartown State Forest
  2. Pittsfield State Forest
  3. 508 International 
  4. Bonny Rigg Campground
  5. October Mountain State Forest
  6. Cape Cod National Seashore
  7. The Wick 338

Despite the state’s severe restrictions on where you can ride and what type of ATVs are allowed on the trails, even in purpose-built areas, riding ATVs in Massachusetts can be a great adventure and a way to discover some excellent locations in the state forests or by the sea. New England overall makes for great off-road trails year-round, and you can always switch to snowmobiles once the snow has fallen. Enjoy your stay in MA with these great off-road trails!

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