Enjoy Your Next E-bike Trip on Public Lands


Biking on public lands is always a thrill, and exploring these amazing places on two wheels just got a little easier. Following a Secretarial Order and months of public consultation, Interior and its bureaus are issuing regulations that will expand access to e-bikes on public lands. E-bikes have small electric motors -- usually no more than one horsepower -- that are charged by pedaling and assist riders up hills and give them a boost over tough terrain. In appearance, they are virtually indistinguishable from other types of bicycles.  

As with all new technology, the agencies had to review research concerning the safety and impacts of e-bike sand formulate appropriate rules. With that done, managers at national  wildlife refuges, national parks and other recreational areas will now possess additional tools to increase the number of places where riding e-bikes is allowed. That means more access with less sweat! 

Two people in helmets ride bikes on a narrow dirt trail across a grassy hill near small trees.

Before you head out, be sure you remember the following tips so you can have a safe and happy experience. 

  • Stay on Trails: Respect motorized/non-motorized trail use regulations—ask a land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land. Obtain permits or other authorization as required. Be aware that bicycles and e-bikes are not permitted in areas protected as state or federal Wilderness. Obey all speed regulations and recommendations and ride within your limits. 
  • Leave No Trace: Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don’t cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in. 
  • Yield Appropriately: Do your best to let your fellow trail users know you’re coming—a friendly greeting or bell ring are good methods. Try to anticipate other trail users as you ride around corner. E-bikes should yield to all nonmotorized users, regardless of the direction they are travelling. 
  • Never Scare Animals: Animals are easily startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement or a loud noise. Give animals enough room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders. Running cattle and disturbing wildlife are serious offenses. 
  • Plan Ahead: Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding and prepare accordingly. Strive to be self-sufficient: keep your equipment in good repair and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear. 

The new rules will affect biking on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation. 

Bureau of Land Management 

The more than 245 million acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures. Here, you will find many places for riding e-bikes, including any area or trail where off-highway vehicles are currently allowed. E-bikes allow public lands to be more accessible to all Americans and make bicycle travel easier for those with physical limitations. 

To stay up-to-date with the latest e-bike information as it becomes available on BLM-managed public lands, contact your local BLM office

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

Biking is a great way to stay active and healthy outdoors. At national wildlife refuges, biking offers another way to easily access nearby nature, view stunning vistas, and experience wildlife spectacles like bird and butterfly migrations. From Alaska to Alabama and from California to Connecticut, visitors can enjoy nature from their bikes at dozens of wildlife refuges across the United States and its territories.  

Explore a full list of pedal-friendly refuges and some stunning bike trails you can experience across the country. Wildlife refuges offering traditional biking may now allow e-bikes on designated trails and pathways, increasing your biking options. Contact your local national wildlife refuge to learn about specific biking options.

Two people in helmets ride bikes across a field with high grass.

National Park Service 

National parks are not only some of the best places in the world to experience natural beauty, amazing wildlife and our rich cultural heritage, they also are home to some terrific biking opportunities. On an e-bike or regular bicycle, you can pedal along Skyline Drive at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Going-To-The-Sun Road at Glacier National Park in Montana or down the slopes of a volcano at Haleakala National Park in Hawaii. These incredible experiences should be available to everyone, and the new e-bike rules allow even more people a chance to get out and grab adventure by the handlebars.  

Bureau of Reclamation 

The Bureau of Reclamation is famous for large dams and vast reservoirs, but also plays a major role in promoting outdoor recreation. While the recreation areas developed as a result of Reclamation water projects are among the nation's most popular for boating, swimming and fishing, there are also many remarkable places available for on land adventures, including bike trails. New e-bike rules will encourage even more people to explore these trails where visitors can cruise past roaring rivers and calm, blue lakes. And while you won’t need a personal floatation device, we do recommend wearing a helmet. 

Three people wearing helmets and riding gear stand next to bikes on a dirt trail with a large mesa in the background.