Dirt-Bike Riding in Washington State

by Kristy Ambrose
Washington State has tracks and trails galore for every level of dirt-bike rider.

Washington State has tracks and trails galore for every level of dirt-bike rider.

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If you`re an ATV or dirt-bike rider, you`ll appreciate the dense forests, steep hills and thick mud of the Pacific Northwest. There are plenty of places in Washington state for a dirt-bike rider to spin his wheels and kick up some mud, including city and countryside venues. Whether you want to hone your riding skills or put your machine to the test, Washington State has a lot to offer.

Rules and Regulations

All dirt bikes in Washington state must display a current ORV -- or off-road vehicle -- sticker, be equipped with approved spark resistors and remain on trails designated for motorized-vehicle use. Some Washington-state trails also require that the cyclists using them to be fully licensed, meaning in possession of both an operator and state driver's license. Dirt bikes are also required to have working safety features like mirrors, headlights and turn signals; riders must wear a helmet at all times.

Street Legal

As of Sept. 1, 2010, dirt bikes were officially declared illegal by Washington state for use on regular streets and highways. Dirt bikes are manufactured for off-road use only, as labeling on the frame and body clearly indicates. Previously, there was a way to register the bike as street-legal by using a loophole in the registration documentation. Only dirt bikes that can be certified by the manufacturer for regular road use can legally drive on Washington roads.

Designated Trails

One of the requirements of dirt-bike operation anywhere in Washington state is the use of designated motorized-vehicle trails. Fear not, as this will not limit your choices. These are organized by five regions: Puget Sound Area, Olympic Peninsula, Southwest Area, Central Washington Region and Eastern Washington. Many of these trails are in parks managed by the Forest Service (fs.fed.us/contactus/) and others are in state parks managed by the state Department of Natural Resources (dnr.wa.gov/ContactDNR/Pages/Home.aspx).

Trail-Ratings System

Dirt-bike trails in Washington state are classified as easiest, difficult and most difficult. Easiest trails are relatively even and flat with gentle up and downhill grades, more difficult trails have grades that range between 15 and 30 percent and the most difficult trails have very rough, steep surfaces. The lists of trails in Washington state are constantly being upgraded and difficulty levels can change depending on the season and terrain.

About the Author

Kristy Ambrose enjoys writing about teaching, travel and pet care. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Victoria.

Photo Credits

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