Highways, frozen waters and other land rules

Snowmobiling on a Highway

A snowmobile may operate on a public highway under the following conditions:

  • A snowmobile may be operated on the right-of-way of a public highway (except a limited-access highway) if it is operated at the extreme right of the open portion of the right-of-way and with the flow of traffic on the highway. Snowmobiles operated on a road right-of-way must travel in single file and not side-by-side except when overtaking or passing another snowmobile.
  • A snowmobile may be operated on the roadway or shoulder when necessary to cross a bridge or culvert if the snowmobile is brought to a complete stop before entering onto the roadway or shoulder and the operator yields the right-of-way to any approaching motor vehicle on the highway.
  • A snowmobile may be operated across a public highway, other than a limited access highway, at right angles to the highway for the purpose of getting from one area to another when it can be done safely and another vehicle is not crossing the highway at the same time in the immediate area. An operator must bring their snowmobile to a complete stop before proceeding across the public highway and must yield the right-of-way to all oncoming traffic.
  • Snowmobiles may be operated on a highway in a county road system, which is not normally snowplowed for vehicular traffic; and on the right-of-way or shoulder when no right-of-way exists on a snowplowed highway in a county road system, outside the corporate limits of a city or village, which is designated and marked for snowmobile use by the county road commission having jurisdiction.

Snowmobiling on Frozen Water Bodies

You may not operate a snowmobile on the frozen surface of public waters:

  • Within 100 feet of a person who is not also on a snowmobile, including a skater.
  • Within 100 feet of a fishing shanty or shelter except at the minimum speed required to maintain forward movement of the snowmobile.
  • On an area that has been cleared for ice skating, unless the area is necessary for gaining access to the public water.

Other Land Rules

You may not operate a snowmobile:

  • While under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • At a rate of speed greater than is reasonable for existing conditions.
  • To chase, pursue, worry or kill any wild bird or animal.
  • While transporting a bow unless it is unstrung or encased
  • While transporting a firearm unless it is unloaded and securely encased.
  • In a forest nursery, planting area or public lands posted or reasonably identifiable as an area or forest reproduction when growing stock may be damaged or any designated wild, wilderness or natural area in the state.
  • Within 100 feet of a dwelling between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. at a speed greater than the minimum required to maintain forward movement of the snowmobile.
  • On someone else's land without consent of the owner or their agent, as required by the recreational trespass act.
  • In an area open to public hunting during the November 15-30 (firearm deer season) 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • On or across a cemetery or burial ground, airport, railroad or a railroad right-of-way. 
  • Within 100 feet of a sledding, skiing or skating area.
  • In a public or private parking lot in a careless or negligent manner.