The Dirt: Prison Hill OHV Area



Prison Hill is a popular mixed-use recreation area within Carson City. While the north portion of the hill is open to non-motorized recreation (hiking, mountain biking, equestrian, etc.), the southern portion of the hill is now open for OHV use! The motorized area has recently been updated by the Open Space Division of the Carson City Parks, Recreation & Open Space Department, working with the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC), various funding partners such as the Recreational Trails Program (Nevada State Parks), the Off-Highway Vehicle Program, and many other project partners and volunteers!  

The trail system contains plenty of recreation opportunities for users with a variety of skill levels and trail types. There are dirt trails for UTVs and ATVs, rock crawling areas, sand training areas, single-track routes, and extreme and highly-technical Jeep trails! Be respectful to other trail users and be sure to follow posted trail signs and routes, especially near OHV area boundaries. All trails are two-ways so be aware while riding. Check out the PDF map of trails (link is included in Data Download section of this posting), which includes two suggested routes to try out - the Toad Rock Loop and the Summit Loop

Information on the trail difficulty system from Carson City Parks and Recreation:
"Some trails are named, and some are numbered. Both named and numbered trails have a prefix indicating the use intended/allowed on that trail."

Prefixes are:

  • S = single-track motorcycle
  • D = double-track which is open to all high clearance 4x4 vehicles
  • W = wheeler/crawler. A W trail differs from a D trail in that it has a higher degree of technical difficulty and should be attempted only by skilled drivers with specialized equipment.

Difficulty will be indicated by the standard decals:

  • Green Circle = Easiest
  • Blue Square = More Difficult
  • Black Diamond = Most Difficult
  • Double Black Diamond = Extreme

For numbered trails, difficulty will also be indicated by the first number in the sequence:

  • 1 = Easiest
  • 2 = More Difficult
  • 3 = Most Difficult
  • 4 = Extreme
  • Example: trail D132 will be an Easiest double-track trail, trail S21 will be a More Difficult, single-track trail, and trail D302 will be a Most Difficult double-track trail.

The area is open dawn-to-dusk, year-round, and is free to the public. Keep in mind that there is no camping or fires allowed within the recreation boundaries. There is a main staging area at the south end of the OHV area, for loading and unloading. There is also a restroom located within the staging area. During the summer months the area is closed when Red Flag Warnings are in place. Red Flag Warnings are issued by the National Weather Service when atmospheric conditions create extremely high fire danger.


From South Carson Street in Carson City, follow Snyder Avenue East for 2.5 miles. Turn right at the intersection with Gentry way, and continue 0.9 miles to the staging area. Directional signage will bring visitors to the main trail head.

Rules of the Road

Land Manager: Carson City Parks, Recreation & Open Space

Carson City Parks and Recreation
3303 Butti Way # 9
Carson City, Nevada, 89706


Carson City - Prison Hill Webpage

Motor vehicles are permitted on designated trails only. For local regulations regarding OHV use on county roads, visit the Carson City Parks and Recreation Website. Always plan ahead and prepare for uncertainty. Travel with warm clothing, first aid, food, water and appropriate tools to fix a problem. Traveling in groups is always a good idea, as well as informing someone of where you will be going.

  • Register Your Vehicle
  • Make sure your vehicle is equipped with a spark arrestor
  • Plan Ahead and Prepare
  • No Overnight Camping Allowed
  • Dispose of Waste Properly
  • Leave What You Find
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Be Considerate of Other Trail Users

Leave No Trace

Tread Lightly

Historic Preservation

Plan Your Visit