A Step-by-step Guide to Get Trust Land Permit for Biking

A trust land is any land which is maintained for public institutions, schools, colleges etc. These lands are maintained by its respective trust land department and under US laws, these are not public lands and require permit to bike, hike, camp or any other recreational activity.


Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, Minnesota, Louisiana and Colorado offer some type of trust land permit or license for recreational activities.

Once you have the permit you’ll be able to bike on the land as per the terms and conditions. Apart from issuing licenses and permits, these sites also have conservation programs.

How to Get a Trust Land Permit

You have to get in touch with your trust land department and ask for a permit. The requirements vary, but usually you have to pay a fee ($15 to $20 good for several months or up to a year).

Once you have the permit you can engage in a number of different recreational activities. We have of course mentioned biking, and the permit allows you to navigate the trails and enjoy the scenery.

Depending on the state and the permit you may also be entitled to sightseeing, bird watching, photography and picnics.


These permits also allow for camping, but usually they’re limited to a certain number of days (in Arizona it is 14 days a year). If you’re just going there to bike there should be no problems, but if you plan other recreational activities you have to go through the rules carefully.

  • A trust land permit does not allow paintball or similar activities.
  • Fireworks, sand railing and use of vehicles to hop around rocks is not allowed.
  • Most states limit groups to less than 20 people.
  • It is forbidden to collect rocks or other natural objects in the land.
  • Unless otherwise stated, you cannot bike anywhere near archaeological and historical sites.
  • Bikers, hikers and campers cannot do any activity that is against local ordinances and laws.

Keep in mind your permit is limited to only that particular trust land. You cannot use that permit to bike on private, tribal or military lands. Regardless of the state, it is imperative you get the permit.

If your permit has expired you should apply for another one if you want to continue biking. Failure to get a permit or violating the terms and conditions could lead to filing of criminal charges.

The laws and regulations have to be followed. In most states, enforcement falls under the authority of the city police, county sheriff’s deputies and game fish officers.

The validity of your permit requires compliance with the directives issued by these officers. If you don’t follow their directives, it’s going to invalidate the permit.


In addition to the information above there are two other types of permits you will come across. If you’re a solitary biker you won’t need any of these, but if you’re going to bike with friends and family you’ll need to get familiar with the following.

  • Family Permit: a family permit provides the same benefits as an individual license. A single permit is good for two adults and two children below 18 years of age.
  • Group Permit: a group permit is given to clubs or groups usually not numbering more than 20 individuals and for non-commercial and non-competitive purposes. 

While individual permits last up to a year, group permits are usually good for 5 to 7 days only. Members don’t have to apply individually, but you have to provide a complete list of members.

If this is your first time to bike on a trust land, you may be confused and not sure which ones fall under the definition. In most cases there is a sign which indicate that it is managed by the trust land department.

However it is impossible for states to provide signs, so refer to your map. As the information above shows, getting a permit is straightforward. You just go to the trust land department and pay the fee.

Once you have applied, you can go on your way and bike. However you need to keep the terms and conditions in mind. The rules and stipulations vary, but the following should give you an idea of what these conditions are.

  • The permit only covers the trust land you are in. You need separate permits for biking on other areas.
  • These terms and conditions expressly require you to comply with all the state laws and ordinances. Because the laws vary per state you’ll need to read up on the specific trust land laws in your area.
  • The laws and regulations are often found in recreation page of trust land department online site. Again, the content is going to vary from site to site so look only in the state where you applied for the bike permit.
  • Your permit states the limit where you can bike. For motorized vehicles the use is restricted to roads, and for bikes it is trails. Read the guidelines thoroughly for their definition of trail, or better yet, get a map of the area so you’ll know where you can and cannot go.

Biking on trails is a straightforward process, but there may be certain rules to consider when it comes to navigation. In certain trust lands you won’t be able to bike near certain spots or those that have been shut down by the State Land Commissioner.

As you go bike on the trail, make sure not to pick up anything or tamper with any objects. If you pass certain gates for instance, just leave them as they are. This goes without saying but you must not harm any of the wildlife, corrals or facilities in the area.

Final Words

It might seem like there’s a lot of rules and regulations concerning these trust lands, but it’s necessary.

All these steps are necessary to ensure the land is preserved and conserved so you and other people will be able to use it for a long time. The fact that the rules are strict is something you should be thankful for.

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Walter Kalb

Walter Kalb is the Editor of TheSportsUp.com. He is a sports enthusiast and love to share what he know about sports. In personal life he is a father of two cute kids and loving husband of a beautiful wife. He love foods and nothing is more important than reading book in his spare time.

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