White Mountains National Recreation Area

Off-Highway Vehicles

Some areas in the White Mountains National Recreation Area are open to the use of motorized vehicles. In general, motor vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 1,500 lbs. or less can be operated on lands along the southern and western boundaries. (The term GVWR is defined by the BLM as the total weight of the vehicle plus its maximum load/carrying capacity as specified by the manufacturer.) Portions of the Wickersham Creek Trail, the Beaver Creek National Wild River corridor, and the lands beyond the corridor are closed to summer use of motorized vehicles. There are also three Research Natural Areas and several hiking trails that are closed year-round to motorized use. See BLM's Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) management map to find areas open to the operation of OHVs.

Contact BLM for more information on the use of OHVs in the White Mountains National Recreation Area.

Keeping Trails in Good Condition for Future Users

White Mountains trails are particularly vulnerable to damage during the summer. Much of Interior Alaska is covered by permanently frozen soil (permafrost). What keeps the soil frozen during the summer is an insulating cover of organic material about 12 inches thick. Once that organic mat is damaged through repeated passes by foot or vehicle, the frozen soils begin to thaw, creating mud bogs and gullies.

Installation of plastic grid to protect the Quartz Creek Trail
Plastic grid has been installed on several muddy portions of the Quartz Creek Trail.
BLM is undertaking several projects in the White Mountains to learn how proper trail location and hardening materials (like plastic mats or concrete blocks) can minimize damage to sensitive areas. The Quartz Creek Trail is one location where we see great promise for these techniques. We appreciate your efforts to use the trails responsibly!