Where Can Electric Mountain Bikes Be Ridden in New England

Monday, June 27, 2022

Where Can Electric, Power-Assist Mountain Bikes Be Ridden in New England?
Electric mountain bikes (e-MTBs) are now being sold through many bicycle dealers in New England.

There are four classes of eBikes.

  • Class 1 e-bikes have a maximum speed of 20 MPH, a motor that is 750 watts or less that is activated by pedaling.
  • Class 2 e-bikes are the same as the Class 1 but may utilize a throttle such as a regular motorcycle rather than be pedal-actuated.
  • Class 3 e-bikes are activated by pedaling and may attain speeds up to 28 MPH.
  • Class 4 e-bikes may have motors greater than 750 watts and attain speeds faster than 28 MPH. They are classified as motorcycles or mopeds and are subject to the rules regarding them.

Class 1 eMTB's are the category that most closely resembles traditional mountain bikes.

Where can e-MTBs be ridden off-road?

It is important for consumers and bicycle dealers in New England to know where e-MTBs can and cannot be ridden on natural surface trails.  Pedal-assist electric bikes can give more people the power to go further and to ride more trails, where allowed. To this end, the New England Mountain Bike Association has contacted many of the major land management agencies in New England to determine what their current management policy is for e-bikes on trails. We will update this webpage as more specific information comes in and is verified.

The short answer is that all the major state and federal land management agencies in New England allow e-bikes only on trails which allow motorized recreation. E-bikes may also be ridden on private property and private trail systems with the permission of the landowner.

Many local trail systems are managed by town conservation commissions or land trusts that have not developed policies specific to electric, power-assist vehicles. 

How e-bikes are managed on paved public paths is under review. State and local regulations have not yet caught up to the technology of e-bikes, and there is no definitive list of where e-bikes are allowed to ride on paved pathways.

NEMBA encourages eMTB riders to come forward and create a group to voice their desires for greater access. NEMBA looks forward to working with this group. 

State-by-State Guidance on e-MTB use


In October 2018, CT's governor signed HB 5313 into law to allow Class 1 & 2 e-bikes to be ridden on improved and paved paths open to bicycling. The law also prohibits electric bikes from riding on non-motorized natural surface trails unless permitted by the local land management agency:

Except where permitted by local ordinance, a class 1 or class 2 electric bicycle shall not be ridden on a bicycle trail or path or multi-use trail or path designated for non-motorized traffic if such trail or path has a natural surface tread made by clearing and grading the soil and no surfacing materials have been added.

The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) does not specifically call out e-bikes in their regulations but currently manages them as a motorized form of recreation.
There are two public motorized trail systems where e-bikes and motorcycles are allowed. Pachaug State Forest (Voluntown CT) has 58 miles of motorcycle trails available to e-bikes. The forest is open yearly except during mud season.
E-biking is also allowed at the US Army Corps of Engineers’ property, Thomaston Dam (Thomaston CT). There is formally designated trail area on the west side of the dam that is open to trail bikes that are open from late-May to September.
E-bikes are not allowed on any other trails in the Connecticut state park system. They are also not allowed at any of the other popular mountain bike destinations, such as Rockland Preserve (Madison CT), Pisgah (Durham CT) or Mianus River Park (Stamford CT).
e-MTBs may not be ridden on local conservation land or land trust properties that prohibit motorized recreation.

e-MTBs can be ridden on the Airline Trail.

e-MTBs can be ridden on the Larkin Trail.
Maine’s Bureau of Parks and Lands treats e-bikes as a motorized vehicle and allows them only on trails designated for motorized use. Maine has an extensive network of motorized trails available to e-bikes. Regional Manager, Gary Best, recommends the Androscoggin Riverlands (Turner ME) as an excellent place to ride e-MTBs.
The Mt. Agamenticus Conservation Region allows e-MTBs on their multi-use, motorized trails but they are not allowed on any of the hiking or hiking/biking trails.
e-MTBs may not be ridden on local conservation land or land trust properties that prohibit motorized recreation.

e-MTBs are okay on University of Maine trails in Orono

Essex Woods in Bangor is open to e-MTBs.

Bangor City Forest is open to e-MTBs.

Swans Trails @ Perch Pond in Old Town allow e-MTBs.

Freeman Ridge Bike Park welcomes class =1 e-MTBs

Carrabassett Valley - E-MTBs are allowed on all trails south of Route 27.  This does not inculde the Narrow Gague Pathway or the trails leading off of it.

e-MTBs can be ridden on the Eaglebrook School's Deerfield Ridge Trail Network.
Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation’s regards e-bikes as “motorized recreational vehicle”, (as opposed to a “bicycle”) and allows them on trails designated for motorized use (Mass 302 CMR 12.12 & 12.14). Currently there are eight state parks that offer opportunities for e-bikes:

Mass DCR also alows e-bikes on any bike path or improved trail that is 8 feet wide.  They are not allowed on natural surface singletrack trails.

The US Army Corps of Engineers allows e-MTBs on the motorized trails at Hodges Village Dam (Oxford MA), blazed in orange. The West side of the property.

Northfield Mountain in Northfield allows e-MTBs on all of its trails that allow mountain biking.
e-MTBs may not be ridden on local conservation land or land trust properties that prohibit motorized recreation, including properties owned by The Trustees of Reservations.
New Hampshire

In New Hampshire e-bikes may only be ridden on trails designated as motorized or on private trail systems with permission of the land owner. e-MTBs are not allowed on any non-motorized trail in the NH State Park system, per resolution 7301.18: “the recreational use of electric and power-assisted bicycles on natural surface trails shall be managed within the same rules and regulations as motorized vehicles.”
New Hampshire has an extensive motorized trail network available for e-MTBs. The US Army Corps of Engineers’ Hopkinton Everett Dam (Contoocook NH) has a popular 26-mile multi-use trail system. Jericho Mountain State Park (Berlin NH) also offers many miles of multi-use trails available for e-MTBs.
In the White Mountain National Forest, the US Forest Service allows e-MTB on designated snowmobile trails in the Saco Ranger District when such trails are open to snowmobiles.

e-MTBs are allowed on private property and private trails with permission of the landowner. One such property is PRKR Mountain Trails (Littleton NH) which does allow e-bikes on the trails.

Beginning in August 2019, the Green Woodlands Foundation (Dorchester NH) has allowed Class 1 eMTBs on their trails. This is an exciting development

Highland Mountin BIke Park has e-bike days on some Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Franklin Falls Dam 

Veterans Memorial Recreation Area in Franklin.

Rockland Recreational Rail Trail a 28 mile long unpaved railbed.

Bartlett Experimental Forest Road, Bartlett a 4 mile unpave trail.

Sawyer River Road, Bartlett about 4 miles.

It should be noted that e-MTBs are not allowed on trails at Stonewall Farm (Keene NH), or the FOMBA trails (Auburn NH), per the Manchester Water Works which owns the property.
e-MTBs may not be ridden on local conservation land or land trust properties that prohibit motorized recreation.
Rhode Island
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management manages e-MTBs as motorized. Currently, there are no parks in Rhode Island that allow e-MTBs except during permitted motorized events. As such, the popular mountain bike destinations, Big River Management Area, Arcadia Management Area, Burlingame State Management Area and Lincoln Woods are off limits to e-MTBs.
e-MTB may be ridden on private property with permission of the landowner, but they may not be ridden on local conservation land or land trust properties that prohibit motorized recreation.
Vermont’s Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation regards e-MTBs as a category of motorized All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and allows them only on trails designated for ATVs. Currently there are no State Park trails open to ATVs. ATVs, including e-MTBs, are allowed on frozen bodies of public water.
Vermont does have an extensive system of Class 4 roads that are open to recreational vehicles, including e-MTBs.

Ascutney Trails now welcome class-1 ebikes on all their trails.

Millstone Trails in Websterville allows class0 ebikes.

Hinesburg Town Forest allows Clas-1 eMTBS.
Many of the popular mountain bike destinations in Vermont do not allow e-MTBs.  This includes, among others:

  • Kingdom Trails (East Burke VT)
  • Green Mountain Trails (Pittsfield VT)
  • Trapps Family Lodge (Stowe VT)
  • Cady Hill Forest (Stowe VT)
  • Perry Hill (Waterbury VT)
  • Catamount Outdoor Family Center (Williston VT)