There are a whole lot of ways to appreciate the outdoors in Montana. Going by foot, bicycle, and horseback are just a few options. But sometimes the mountains are calling, and you need to go farther, faster. That’s where all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and other off-highway vehicles (OHVs) come into play. When you’re exploring Butte, America, there are plenty of options to get your engine revving. Check out these top spots, and discover all you need to know about ATVing in the area.
You don’t have to have your rig and know-how to go off trail here. Pipestone Rentals & Adventures in Whitehall, Montana (just 30 minutes east from Butte) can get you geared up for going off-road.
If you’re riding your own ATV, keep in mind that in Montana, an OHV registration decal is required for riding on Bureau of Land Management (BLM), forest service, or state land. You can get yours from the nearest Fish, Wildlife & Parks, forest service, or BLM field office. And before you venture onto any public roads—even on dirt 4x4 tracks—make sure you’re street legal with valid license plates.
We’ll share a few of our favorite spots to ride here, but there are many resources to help you explore. OnX Maps, a Missoula, Montana–based adventure map company, even produces an OHV-specific app alongside their flagship hunting app that also displays OHV trail info. You can also find maps and recommendations from the office where you get your registration sticker.
When people talk about ATVing near Butte, Pipestone is the main draw. This 30,000-acre area of BLM land is designated as a travel management area. You can cruise through high-desert ecosystems with some of the wildest geology you’ll ever see. This is the home of the Boulder Batholith, a nobby volcanic rock formation that looks like it might be more at home on Mars than in the middle of Montana. Find 75 miles of riding trails, just 15 miles east of Butte, and get ready to rip.
Though the Pioneer Scenic Byway is paved, you can find plenty of trails and tracks in that vicinity, looping up and over the nearby mountains. This open country loaded with lodgepole pine offers the geology that Southwest Montana is known for. Traverse mostly forest service land on this route.
You’ll find easy access from the highway, and the miles of trail and 4x4 road will loop you through and around Bannack Pass, near the famous ghost town. A side trip to Crystal Park can complete the journey, especially for rock hounds who love digging.
Between Birch Creek and Polaris, you’ll find an ATVer’s paradise. Zigzag your way below 9,000-foot peaks, looking up at some of the most prominent 10,000-foot mountains in the area. You can even make a detour up to a lake. This forest service spot lets you explore deep in the mountains.
When you’re done with your rip-roaring play among the peaks, find your way to a Butte home base, close to history, good eats, and lots to do. Reserve your spot at the Butte KOA Journey, and discover all that Southwest Montana has on offer.