Do you want to take your off-road vehicle out and put it to the ultimate test? If so, you will love visiting your nearest off-highway vehicle recreation area.
Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area in Minnesota is an awesome place to take your rig out and let it rip. Keep reading to learn more about this fun off-roading park!
Visitor’s Guide to Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area
Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area is Minnesota’s oldest off-highway vehicle park. Minnesota joins Utah and California as the only states that set aside designated public lands for off-roading.
This off-highway vehicle State Park is in Gilbert, Minnesota. The rugged terrain features 36 miles of off-road trails winding throughout a 1,200-acre stretch of mountainous former iron mining land.
There is plenty to do at Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area as long as you bring your off-road vehicle. If you don’t have an OHV, there are plenty of places to rent ATVs, dirt bikes, and trucks nearby.
If you are not interested in operating an off-road vehicle, this state park might not be your best vacation destination. Read on to learn more and find out how to rent an off-road vehicle for your visit.
What Is an OHV State Recreation Area?
Off-highway vehicle state recreation areas are public lands designated explicitly for off-roading. They allow four-wheeling enthusiasts to test the limits of their off-road vehicles on steep and rocky terrain.
Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area offers exciting trails for all types of off-road vehicles and skill levels. Bring your ATV, dirt bike, buggy, or truck and see how it handles the toughest terrain.
Tackle the 4×4 rock crawl and obstacle course, take a challenging hill climb, and get some dirt on your tires doing sand and mud drags.
Would you prefer to take it easy and explore the breathtaking scenery? Set out on one of the designated OHV trails and drive through the mountains to enjoy some stunning views.
When winter brings heavy snow, snowmobiling enthusiasts flock to this off-roading recreation area. Many of the OHV trails convert to snowmobiling trails when the snow gets thick enough.
Be careful if you need to travel on foot in this off-road vehicle park. Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area is specifically for motorized vehicles, and it is unsafe to go hiking on the trails.
Do you want to explore more off-road adventures in Minnesota? Check out The 9 Best ATV Trails in Minnesota to learn more
Fun Events at Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area
Visit Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area during the open season to catch some entertaining events.
Do you have a prized dirt bike that is sure to bring home gold? You can compete in motocross races and obstacle course events at Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area.
Bring your Jeep, truck, buggy, or ATV and take on rock crawls, obstacle courses, and other thrilling challenges. The Toughest Truck challenge is a favorite for locals and off-road enthusiasts nationwide.
This area also hosts an annual mountain biking race. Cyclists can scale the trails without the risk of a collision with any motorized vehicles.
Do you want to learn more about off-roading events at Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area? Check out the Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area Facebook page to stay up-to-date on the latest competitions.
Where to Stay Near Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area
Are you traveling to this incredible off-roading recreation area from out of state? If so, you are probably wondering, “where is the best place to stay nearby?”
Unfortunately, camping is prohibited at Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area. Luckily, there is an excellent campground located just outside of the park.
Follow signs for Sherwood Forest campground, which is connected to Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area by an OHV trail.
The nearby city of Gilbert has other accommodations in the unlikely event that Sherwood Forest has no vacancies. Explore these top-rated hotels and motels around Gilbert, Minnesota.
Important Things to Know About Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area
Off-roading is an inherently dangerous sport. Because of this, there are some rules you must follow when visiting Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area.
Take a moment to read the following important information about this off-highway vehicle state park. Failure to obey posted laws could result in legal repercussions, so ensure you fully understand the rules before you enter.
Hours of Operation
Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area is closed during Minnesota’s gun-hunting season. This rule protects visitors from stray bullets and prevents motorists from spooking deer in adjacent lands.
Firearm hunting season only lasts a few weeks in Minnesota. While the exact date changes, it usually starts in early November.
Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area is open to visitors throughout the rest of the year.
Hours of Operation
- May–Labor Day: 8 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. (seven days a week)
- Labor Day–Gun Season: 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (seven days a week)
- After Gun Season–April: 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays)
Off-Highway Vehicle Decibel Limits
You will probably not see much local wildlife when you visit Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area. The loud engines of many off-road vehicles tend to scare off birds and deer.
Still, Minnesota state officials strive to protect the animals residing in nearby parks and forests. They enforce a decibel limit that visitors must obey to prevent excessive noise pollution.
Your engine emission sound must stay under 99 decibels for all-terrain and off-road vehicles. If you have a dirt bike or other off-highway motorcycle, it must be under 96 decibels.
A Stationary Sound Test may be performed on-site for any vehicle before entering. You will be turned away at the gate if your OHV does not pass inspection.
If you are denied access due to excessive noise, don’t fret! Many mechanic shops can help you with repairs in Gilbert, Eveleth, and Virginia, Minnesota.
Minnesota Off-Highway Vehicle Registration
Admission to Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area is completely free. Still, current off-highway vehicle registration is required for all visitors entering.
Ensure you arrive prepared since officials at the entrance gate will check your registration and safety equipment.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has a dedicated page to learn more about Minnesota Off-Highway Vehicle Registration.
Is your off-highway vehicle currently registered in another state? If so, you will not need to purchase Minnesota off-highway vehicle registration.
Instead, out-of-state off-highway vehicle operators must purchase a non-resident OHV trail pass.
You must gear up when you visit Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area. All off-highway vehicle operators must wear DOT-approved helmets.
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources OHV Regulations Handbook, “DOT is the manufacturer’s certification that the helmet conforms to the applicable federal
motor vehicle safety standards. Bicycle and hockey helmets are not legal helmets.”
How to Rent an Off-Highway Vehicle
Does the idea of tearing through OHV trails and tackling rocky cliffs sound exciting to you? If you do not own an off-road vehicle, you will be delighted to learn you can rent one near Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area.
Private ATV and OHV rentals are available in the nearby towns of Gilbert and Eveleth. If you enjoy off-roading, consider visiting a dealership that serves this area to purchase your own OHV.
Where is the best place to hike in Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area?
Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area trails are designated for off-highway vehicles only, with a few permitting mountain bikes as well. You should not go hiking on foot throughout most of this off-roading park.
The Iron Range OHV Loop is the only trail that is reportedly used for foot traffic. It would be best if you were still cautious, as it is a designated motorized vehicle trail.
How many trails are in Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area?
Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area is home to 36 miles of OHV trails spanning over 1,200 acres.
There are over 30 trails, including the Iron Range OHV Loop, Red Valley Entrance Trail, Hug the Bank, High Voltage, Ski Jump, Littlefoot Trail, Tabletop Rock Crawl, Ted’s Revenge, and several gorgeous overlooks.
A 3,500-acre expansion is planned to extend Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area into the nearby town of Virginia, Minnesota. Stay tuned for even more scenic Minnesota off-roading trails!
Have a Blast at Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area
After reading this Visitor’s Guide to Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area, you probably want to get out there and get muddy!
Do you want to learn more about the fascinating state parks in The Land of 10,000 Lakes? Explore our Outdoors page to discover the most beautiful places in Minnesota.
Love spending time outside? Then discover the Minnesota Outdoors to continue learning new ways to reconnect with nature!
- About the Author
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.