As an ATV/SXS rider, you are an ambassador for off-road enthusiasts everywhere. In Kawartha Lakes, KATVA is fully committed to ensuring that all ATV/SXS riders abide by laws governing the use of ATVs/SXS where riding is permitted. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are familiar with local by-laws, the Off-Road Vehicle Act and other provincial laws while riding KATVA sanctioned trails. If you are uncertain about trail restrictions or requirements for riding on KATVA trails, contact us directly for assistance.

General Rules for Riders and ATVs

While many rules are imposed by provincial or municipal authorities, KATVA applies additional expectations of permitted riders. These general rules apply to all riders and their ATVs/SXS on KATVA trails.

Rider Etiquette

  • stay on designated trails
  • do not trespass on private property or otherwise disrupt private landowners
  • avoid sensitive and restricted areas at all times, especially wetlands, lakeshores, steep stream banks and hills
  • do not remove or unnecessarily disrupt vegetation or wildlife
  • headlights on at all times
  • yield right-of-way to other trail users when approaching:
    • pedestrians (walkers or joggers) have priority right of way always
    • slow to a crawl when approaching walkers or cyclists and pass with extreme caution
    • when a horse and rider are approaching, pull over and shut your machine off 
    • do not ever pass or overtake a horse and rider without instruction from the rider
  • pack out all garbage and waste material
  • follow all signage including speed limits and stop signs
  • stop for all trail officials (Trail Patrol), By-law Enforcement (City of Kawartha Lakes) and OPP
  • carry a valid KATVA (or reciprocal partner) trail permit
  • wear a helmet whenever in motion, including when unloading from truck or trailer

Trespass to Property

Trespass to Property is one of our biggest concerns.

Riders must stay on trails and respect private property. Even trails that are open for most parts of the year become off-limits once closed.  All trails are closed between December 1 to April 30 each year and if you are on the trails while they are closed you are trespassing. Trespassing risks losing trail privileges for all. Just Don’t Do It!


In 2019, City of Kawartha Lakes council approved our request to amend the road by-law which will allow SXS to travel on any road in the City of Kawartha Lakes where ATVs are currently allowed to travel. This allowed SXS to ride from Kinmount all the way down into Fenelon Falls for food or gas for a 1-year trial period. 

Due to Covid-19, this trial period has not yet been amended except to extend the period for one more year. 

NOTE: No SXS are allowed south of Fenelon Falls or on the small section of VRTC from Northline Rd to Garnet Graham Park, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Please respect the rules as this is only for a trial period and we are at risk of losing this privilege if we have irresponsible riders breaking the rules. 

We had anticipated going before council for a positive outcome of the trial and moving forward with allowing SXS on the VRTC as a permanent by-law change in spring 2020. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, we were unable to meet and discuss going forward for the 2020/2021 riding season.  We did, however, receive permission to continue the trial period until we can meet with council again.  

During this trial period, SXS may ride on the VRTC from Superior Propane staging area north to Kinmount, as well as in the Somerville Forest Tract on an extended one year trial period. There is a width restriction of 64 inches including all modifications and a minimum age requirement of 8 years of age for all passengers, which is in line with Reg 316/03.  The municipality uses the same guidelines on the trails as the Provincial Road Regulations of 316/03.

Although there is a width restriction of 64”, some trails may not accommodate the larger SXS. Be aware that some of the larger machines may have additional difficulty on the expert trails.  

Key guidelines to riding SXS on KATVA trails are:  

  • The maximum width allowed for SXS is 64 inches including modifications. 
  • SXS are not allowed on any trails south of Fenelon Falls. 
  • Refer to the map above for the route to get into Fenelon Falls. This information can also be found on the KATVA trail map. 
  • SXS are allowed on the VRTC north of Kinmount, but they are currently not allowed on the Haliburton trail. 
  • The SXS must be licensed and insured, and have a KATVA (or reciprocal partner) pass.

We are currently working on opening up additional trails to SXS including the VRTC south to Bethany. Watch our website or our Facebook pages for notices and progress.

Trail Rules

Please read the following guidelines as they apply to the specific trails in the City of Kawartha Lakes.

Trail – Victoria Rail Trail Corridor (VRTC) Motorized Vehicle Restrictions

1. NOT PERMITTED. Any 2 or 4 wheeled motorized vehicle not categorized as an ATV/SXS or ORM, under the Off-Road Vehicle Act is not permitted on the Victoria Rail Trail Corridor. This includes, but is not limited to the following: MoPeds, Dune Buggies, Golf Carts, Go-Karts, ARGOs, Jeeps, Pickups, Trucks, and Automobiles.

2. EXCEPTIONS. Other vehicles may only access the VRTC with special approval by CKL Council or law enforcement.

3. DIRT BIKES. For permitted use please see our KORMA page.

5. OTHER. Due to the soft ground and necessary trail work and clean up being performed by CKL after the close of snowmobile season on March 31, no motorized vehicles are allowed on the VRTC April 1 – April 30.

Trail – Somerville Forest Tract Motorized Vehicle Restrictions

1. NOT PERMITTED. As per item (1) VRTC, refer to Trail – Victoria Rail Trail Corridor (VRTC).

2. PERMITTED. Off-road motorcycles (dirt bikes) are allowed with a valid KORMA (OFTR permit). LINK to KORMA

3. EXCEPTIONS. Other vehicles may only access the Somerville Forest Tract with special approval by CKL Council and law enforcement

4. OTHER. Do not ride on sections designated solely for cross-country skiing, hiking or cycling.

Local By-law Links, City of Kawartha Lakes

County of Haliburton:

Township of Trent Lakes:

B208-73 (August 19, 2008 – regulate Operation of ATV on municipal township Roads)

Road Rules

Use of ATVs/SXS on roads is subject to a provincial legislation and municipal by-laws. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are riding within the applicable laws.

  • headlights must be on at all times
  • speed cannot exceed 20 km per hour unless the posted speed is greater than 50 km per hour. Then the ATV speed limit is 50 km per hour
  • brake lights must be working
  • use hand signals at all times

Provincial – Federal Law Links

Operation of Off-Road Vehicle on Highways 

Motor Vehicle Safety Act – Department of Justice Canada


KATVA is in ongoing stages of negotiation with municipal authorities who control access to local roads not under the authority of the Province. KATVA members must adhere to the rules established by the municipalities where we ride, especially those encountered while riding KATVA trails. If we work positively with other trail user groups and co-operate with all other partners, our opportunities for greater access will be increased. This requires safe, responsible riding practices to be followed at all times.

Additionally, we are fortunate to maintain good relationships with several private landowners (who may or may not permit trail access or use of their private property) to enhance ATV rider experiences. We urge all ATV riders to respect municipal and private property and to be a positive influence for ATV riders everywhere.

ATVs, SxS and off road motorcycles are NEVER allowed on Hwy 7, 7A or 35, including shoulders and ditches.

Ride Responsibly

We encourage ATV/SXS riders to exercise extreme caution while using roadways, bridges or other linkages. These tips will help ensure your ride is safe and establish respect and cohesion with other trail user groups, landowners and local communities. Speed and excessive noise are our biggest concerns.

  • be attentive to traffic and pedestrians at all times
  • pay attention to signs and traffic signals
  • stay off municipal sidewalks and residential property
  • be courteous to everyone you encounter while linking between trails
  • stage or park only in lots where permitted
  • carry a valid permit and driver’s license
  • ride as quietly as possible – speed and noise are our biggest concerns and hindrance to further privileges

Speed Limits & On-Road Rules

ATVs/SXS on the road must travel at speeds less than the posted speed limit:

  • no more than 20 km/h on roads with a posted speed limit of 50 km/h or less
  • no more than 50 km/h on roads with a posted speed limit greater than 50 km/h

Municipalities may set lower speed limits or additional rules for ATVs/ORVs/XTVs/ORMs.

ATVs/SXS travelling along a road must:

  • be driven in the same direction as traffic
  • travel on the shoulder – if the shoulder is unsafe or impassable or not wide enough, an ATV/SXS can be driven on the travelled portion of the road
  • have headlights and tail lights on



When operating an ATV/SXS on a road or crossing a road the driver must:

  • be at least 16 years old
  • must hold as a minimum a valid G2 or M2 licence
  • wear an approved motorcycle helmet securely fastened under the chin with a chin strap
  • wear a seatbelt, where provided
  • the ATV/SXS must be licenced and insured
  • travel at speeds less than the posted speed limit, as outlined below.

When operating an ATV a passenger must:

  • be a minimum of 8 years of age
  • be straddling the passenger seat behind the driver while facing forward with his or her feet securely on the separate foot rests intended for the passenger
  • wear an approved motorcycle helmet securely fastened under the chin with a chin strap.

“add-on” seats, child booster seats and baby seats are prohibited from use on an ATV 

When operating a SxS a passenger must:

  • be a minimum of 8 years of age
  • occupy a seating position for which a seat belt assembly has been provided; and
  • wear the complete seat belt assembly
  • wear an approved motorcycle helmet securely fastened under the chin with a chin strap.

jump seats, child booster seats and baby seats are prohibited from use in a SxS 

*Passengers are not permitted on off-road motorcycles (ORMs)

For additional requirements regarding youth drivers and passengers, please refer to


When operating an ATV/SXS on a trail, the driver must:

  • be at least 12 years old
  • the ATV/SXS must be licensed and insured.


The driver can directly cross a road on an ATV/SXS where permitted only if:

  • the driver is at least 16 years old and has a valid G2 driver’s licence
  • if the trail crosses a road, the youth rider must get off the ATV/SXS and have their parent or guardian take the ATV/SXS across the road.

Young Riders

Young ATV/SXS riders between the ages of 12 and 16 are welcome to ride KATVA trails if accompanied by an adult and operating an age and size appropriate machine. The ATV/SXS must be plated and insured and have a trail permit. We encourage safe and responsible riding practices. If you are the parent of a young rider, please take the time to discuss safe riding and legal obligations with your child. Most importantly, be a positive rider role model.

Serious risks including injury or damage to property are always possible. Some children are capable of riding an ATV/SXS successfully at an early age, while others well into their teen years ride without care or attention to the rules and the laws. Not all children develop the strength, size, skills, mental capacity and emotional maturity to master an off road vehicle at age 12. Knowledge and skill are required, especially as it pertains to braking distances and crossing obstacles. They must know when to ask for assistance in addition to following adult direction.

We encourage all youth riders to participate in rider safety training. KATVA fully supports the CASI Youth Rider Training Program. 

KATVA provides CASI Youth Rider Training at different times during the riding season, and occasionally during some trade show events. Additionally, training is available through CASI recommended instructors in many communities or from other service providers on a more limited basis.

ATV “Right Size”

Young riders should only be permitted to ride ATVs suitable for their age and size. Children must not be riding adult ATVs/SXS. Refer to manufacture specified age recommendations (which by law should be affixed to the ATV/SXS).

Some Considerations:

  • both feet must comfortably reach the foot pegs while seated
  • both hands must comfortably reach the handle bars while seated
  • handle bars must be comfortably locked without undue body movement or effort
  • controls and brakes must be comfortably operated without undue body movement or effort
  • rider must be able to shift their weight and balance their ATV when necessary over small inclines
  • rider must be able to move from sitting to standing position and back comfortably as necessary

Before You Ride

Be sure you have a general sense of where you will be riding. Let a friend or family member know who you will be riding with, where you are riding and what time you expect to return. Bring a cellular phone with you if you have one, but understand that cellular service may be unreliable.

Always Inspect Your ATV/SXS for the Following:

  • ensure your radiator is clean and full of radiator fluid
  • check brakes to ensure they are fully functional
  • check headlights and brake lights to ensure they are fully functional
  • top up fluids as necessary (engine oil, differential, brake, radiator, etc.)
  • confirm fuel tank is full (bring extra gas for longer rides)
  • make certain tires are properly inflated
  • test winch, if applicable, to ensure it functions properly
  • check that you have all necessary documentation (driver’s licence, ownership, insurance, permits, membership and a trail map)

 Ride Kit

You may also wish to incorporate some of these items when you are riding with a group of friends or on your own.

  • first aid kit
  • tire repair kit (incl. pump)
  • GPS
  • trail map
  • cellular phone
  • dust mask
  • safety vest (especially during hunting season)
  • bug repellent
  • lunch (please take all garbage out with you – do not leave litter on the trails)
  • drinking water
  • fuel (well secured)

A rearview mirror is highly recommended to keep an eye on the rider behind you. Also tow ropes, tree straps, and winches can be helpful in certain conditions. Radiator maintenance is essential, especially on excessively wet or dry trails. Some KATVA trails are particularly wet or dusty, which can lead to unnecessary breakdowns for riders who do not routinely maintain their machines in advance of, or during rides.

During Your Ride

Headlights must remain on at all times. Ride single file. Stay to the right on all trails.  Be sure to signal all turns and stops, especially if you come across a hidden or potentially dangerous obstacle. Leave enough braking space between you and the rider ahead of you. Tailgating can be dangerous. 

Give right of way and show consideration to all non-motorized trail users you encounter. Stop and shut off your ATV/SXS when you approach horses. Do not proceed until the horseback rider gives you a signal to proceed. Minimize your impact on the natural habitat. Ride responsibly at all times.