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Snowmobiling in State Parks and Forests

State parks and forests offer thousands of miles and hundreds of acres of designated snowmobile areas for exploration. Opportunities range from scenic trails through the woods, to straightaway runs on roadways, to large, open spaces.

As long as there is enough snow cover, snowmobile trails open the day after the last day of Pennsylvania’s regular or extended rifle deer season, and close April 1 or earlier as determined by the district forester or park manager.

During the snowmobiling season, DCNR posts snow and trail conditions three times per week. Check the trail conditions page before you head out to see if trails are open and ready for riding.

Riders must stay on roads and trails marked open for snowmobiles. Some trails used for snowmobiling may be open to vehicular traffic. Roads for joint use by snowmobiles and vehicular traffic are marked with caution signs at all road junctions.

Snowmobiling in State Forests

Snowmobile riding opportunities abound on state forest lands. If you’re looking for a one hour ride or a day-long trek, you’ll find it in the state forest system among scenery that is unsurpassed.

All snowmobile trails on state forest lands are designated with signs. Stay on the marked trail. Roads for joint use by snowmobiles and vehicular traffic are marked with caution signs at all road junctions. Between intersections, snowmobile trails are marked with orange diamonds.

Some joint use roads will be closed to licensed passenger vehicles due to hazardous conditions, but remain open to snowmobile travel. To check on road closures for passenger vehicles, go to the respective state forest district page, and click "Advisories" under Additional Information.

Snowmobiling in State Parks

Most Pennsylvania state parks offer designated snowmobile trails for exploration. Others designate large, open spaces for snowmobiling. State parks also provide trailhead access to snowmobile trails on state forest land.

Find out where there is snow in state parks with the state park’s Winter Report, updated weekly from mid-December until spring thaw.

What you Need While Riding

While riding your snowmobile you must carry with you or on the vehicle:

  • Certificate of registration
  • Proof of liability insurance
  • Registration plate affixed to the vehicle
  • Expiration stickers (does not apply to limited registration)
  • Valid safety certificate (ages 10-15 if riding off of parent’s or guardian’s property)

Operation of Snowmobiles by Youth

No one under 10 years of age is allowed to operate a snowmobile on any public land.

Youth ages 10 to 15 must complete a prescribed snowmobile safety education course and receive a snowmobile safety training certificate to ride on lands other than their parents’ or guardian’s property.

Access for People with Disabilities

This activity or structure is ADA accessible.

Other Places to Snowmobile in Pennsylvania

Many other snowmobile riding opportunities exist across the state on public lands and local municipalities.

Contact a local tourist promotion agency, snowmobile club, dealers, or county governments to find out more about your region of interest. 

State Game Lands

Snowmobilers may ride on state game lands from the third Sunday in January through April 1 on designated snowmobile areas, roads, and trails marked with appropriate signs.

Allegheny National Forest

The Allegheny National Forest has about 365 miles of snowmobile trails in interconnected loops. Trails are open mid-December through April 1, conditions permitting.

Contact the Allegheny National Forest at (814) 723-5150 for additional information and trail condition reports.

Private and Other Public Trail Opportunities

Many private and local snowmobile riding opportunities exist across the state.

Contact the local Tourist Promotion Agency to found out more about your region of interest, or the Pennsylvania Snowmobile Association at 1-888-411-7772.

Protecting Pennsylvania Snowmobile Trails

Every snowmobile rider must be an ambassador for the sport.

Please give careful consideration to your effect on the trails, environment and others. The future of your sport depends on it.

Minimizing Environmental Impact

Every effort should be made to minimize the impact of your machine on the trail and surrounding environment. Using skill and common sense you can negotiate various obstacles and riding conditions that have the potential to cause damage.

Remember, areas closed to ATVs and snowmobiles are done so for a reason; please respect these special areas.

The following are some suggestions offered by Tread Lightly! ®, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the outdoors and outdoor recreation through responsible practices:

  • Pump your brakes when going downhill to avoid locking the brakes
  • Lean into turns with your upper body to enhance the sled’s maneuverability
  • Avoid riding on frozen lakes or other waterways
  • Cross roadways at a 90-degree angle to the road

Snowmobiling Trail Etiquette

Many times snowmobile riders will come in contact with other user groups sharing the same lands, roadways, or trails. Please practice the following common courtesies while riding your snowmobile:

  • Be considerate of others on the trail and keep to the right
  • Slow down when passing
  • Ride only where permitted
  • Leave gates as you find them
  • Yield the right of way to bikes, horses, and hikers
  • Carry out what you carry in
  • Wave and say “hello” as you pass
  • Report downed trees and trail maintenance needs to land managers

Report Illegal Riding

If you see someone riding irresponsibly, off-trail, or dangerously, try to record the machine’s registration number.

Report the activity to the local authority with jurisdiction over those lands.

Remember, bad behavior by some individuals can harm the reputation of the entire sport.