The California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division is seeking your input on the Prairie City State Vehicle Recreation Area Road and Trail Management Plan. Please visit the project website for additional information at Prairie City SVRA Road and Trail Management Plan.

  • Park is open every day of the year, including holidays, except for Wednesdays. The day use/entrance fee is $5.00 per vehicle.
  • Park occasionally closes, completely or partially, to public riding for special event competitions.
  • Check social media and/or call before you haul, (916) 985-7378. Or visit the park's Event Calendar.

Welcome to Prairie City State Vehicular Recreation Area!

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Visiting the Park The park is in eastern Sacramento County, 20 miles east of downtown Sacramento and 3 miles south of US Highway 50. It comprises approximately 1,344 acres of state lands, of which approximately 836 acres are currently devoted to off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation. Prairie City SVRA is a showcase for OHV recreation and frequented by the local community. The park offers OHV enthusiasts a variety of interesting terrains and trails. Park elevations range from 240 to 350 feet above sea level. OHV recreational opportunities include trails and tracks for motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), four-wheel drive vehicles (4x4 vehicles), recreational OHVs (ROV/SXS/UTV), karts, and quarter midget vehicles. 

The park is one of the most specialized units in the California State Park System and is host to many major OHV events. The busiest months at Prairie City SVRA occur October through June. Major competition events include the annual Hangtown Motocross Classic, Prairie City Grand Prix, Lilliputian Hare Scramble, Road to Mammoth Qualifier, and NorCal Rock Racing Ultra4 Stampede. State Park events include the annual Visitor Appreciation Day in October and Headlight Festival in December. Although Prairie City SVRA is mainly used for OHV recreation, it provides mountain bikers opportunities to use the park during a ten-race spring series on days when it is closed to OHV activity.

Park Facilities multiple restrooms, day-use sites for picnicking and staging, and recreational facilities that include loading ramps, OHV trails, the Prairie City SVRA Pro-Am MX Track, a motocross practice track, ATV practice track, 70cc beginner kids track (“mini track”) and 110cc kids track, 230cc intermediate motocross track, quarter midget track, go-kart track, 4x4 and obstacle area, and the Environmental Training Center.

  • MX Practice Track is fully groomed each Wednesday (weather and staff permitting), and lightly groomed on Saturdays with watering as needed throughout the week. The track may be temporarily closed at times, until grooming can be performed.

Field of trials with rainbowPark Terrain and Wildlife At the westernmost edge of the Sierra Nevada foothills, the Prairie City SVRA landscape consists of terrain that varies from flat, open grasslands to areas containing vernal pools, to rolling hills covered with native blue oaks, which provide habitat for a variety of plant and wildlife species. Much of the western portion of the SVRA includes piles of rock cobbles or dredge tailings, consisting of low mounds (5−10 feet high) of cobbles, silt, and sand, deposited during hydraulic and dredge gold mining operations. In the northern section of the park, there is a reclaimed gravel quarry (“The Pit”) that is generally bowl-shaped. The area containing dredge tailings is characterized by grassland and scattered cottonwood trees. The eastern portion of the SVRA is characterized by rolling hills and a vegetative cover of grassland and oak woodland. Visitors may see a wide range of birds and other wildlife reside in the area.

Deer in the brush.The open grasslands attract golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, kestrels, and an occasional prairie falcon. Oak trees and brushy areas provide shelter for rabbits, quail, wild turkeys, and pheasants. Lewis' woodpeckers, acorn woodpeckers, and northern flickers can often be seen on the blue oaks. Deer are often seen in the morning or evening hours when they come out to graze, and coyotes are also seen occasionally. 

Park History The SVRA includes ancestral lands of the Valley Nisenan Maidu Native Americans. Prairie City SVRA takes its name from the gold rush community that was located just northeast of the present-day park. During the Gold Rush era and until the 1950s, the area was the site of placer mining operations; it was owned first by the Natoma Water and Mining Company and later by the Capital Dredging Company. Today, reminders of that 1850s community include mine tailings and a historical marker, California Historical Landmark #464, which is located at the intersection of Prairie City Road and US 50. After the gold mining days, the area became home to a number of cattle ranches. In the early 1960s, Aerojet purchased the southern portion of the existing SVRA to build and test rocket engines for the US Government. In 1972, Aerojet sold 435 acres of its Sacramento property to Roy and Mary McGill, who established a cycle park. Sacramento County purchased the park in 1975, using funds from the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Cooperative Grants and Agreements program, and purchased an additional 401 acres in 1976. In 1988, the 836-acre park came under the ownership of the OHMVR Division. 

Park Programming Prairie City SVRA provides opportunities for interpretation and educational programs related to regional and local natural resources, cultural history, and OHV recreation, by hosting a series of special events for visitors and outreach booths at competition events. Check social media pages and event calendar for upcoming events, programs, tours and more.


NOTICE! Intermediate MX Track is OPEN.

Summer 2024 Project Update: The area includes OHV staging, motorcycle practice track for 230cc and less, picnic tables, flush restrooms and spectator bleachers. Additional materials for jumps and berms to be added at a later date. The track is located along the right side of the main entrance road at the turn prior to the water tank.


project picture collage


Recreational Land Management

Providing long-term sustained OHV recreation opportunity is a top priority in SVRA Management. Provisions in California law require actions to stabilize soils and to provide for healthy wildlife populations in OHV recreation areas. Sites exist throughout the SVRA which have become eroded. There are projects ongoing to stabilize eroded areas by reshaping slopes, and by reseeding and replanting bare areas. Vegetation creates wildlife habitat while plant roots help stabilize the soil. Project areas are temporarily closed to OHV use through the use of barriers, such as fences, hay bales, brush piles and signing. Where possible, well designed OHV trails are immediately provided through project areas. Other project areas may be closed for a number of years before being again opened for OHV use. Your understanding and support in staying out of areas closed for restoration help ensure OHV recreation opportunities for years to come. 

Zone 3 West Erosion Control Project

Spring 2024 Project Update: Fall hydroseeding was a great success! Winter rains gave rise to robust seed gemination resulting in abundant ground cover. This vegetive cover will lock down soils preventing water and wind erosion. Work on the Red Tail Trail and Cougar Trail has been completed. These routes were reshaped using heavy equipment to improve trail tread, direct run-off to the newly vegetated areas and encourage sheet flow of stormwater. To ensure public safety and the successful establishment of vegetation, the project area will continue to be temporarily fenced until Fall of 2024.revegetated area

hydroseeding and group of people

Fall Project Update: Seeding of the 2.66 acre site occurred on Nov 30, 2023. The process involved using a hydroseeder truck to apply a mixture of water, slow-release organic fertilizer, native seed and a soil binder (to prevent erosion prior to plant establishment) to the ground. A mix of grasses and flowers were sowed, including California poppy, purple needlegrass, gum plant, three weeks fescue, yarrow, California brome, and tomcat clover. Site preparation was achieved in partnership with Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps.

Zone 3 West Erosion Control Project - Temporary Closure Underway! Image with project area map 

The purpose of the Zone 3 West Erosion Control Project is to improve rider safety and environmental conditions that are linked to soil erosion. The Project is located in a motorcycle and ATV riding area viewable from Main Staging (when looking east past the MX and ATV practice tracks).

Prior to the Project, soils in this area were eroding during windy conditions, rain events and off-highway vehicle use. This meant that during the dry season, dusty conditions limited sight distance for riders and diminished air quality. During the rainy season, stormwater run-off from this area contributed to temporary road closures and inaccessible trails due to flooding. Both situations reduced recreational opportunities.

This project is addressing those issues by reintroducing stormwater controls, improving trail tread, and restoring native vegetation.

PCIG Public Quarterly Meetings

Environmental Training Center (ETC)
Next Meeting - September 2024

June Meeting Summary

Quarterly meetings provide the public with information on current staffing, project developments, OHV regulations and safety. Meetings occur in person with on-line option when available. Park users and other stakeholders are encouraged to attend, as time is allotted at the end for public comment. For more information, email or phone (916) 985-1093.

Prairie City Improvement Group Meeting Info for September 2024, a Tuesday to be determined.

Safe and Responsible OHV Operation

Safe and responsible OHV operation starts with proper training. The OHMVR Division has partnered with the Specialty Vehicle Institute of AmericaRecreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to provide FREE ATV, ROV and dirt bike training. For the list of classes and other information about OHV safety training, please reference the webpages below.
The SVRAs listed below have at least one approved ATV training range and may have ranges for dirt bikes and/or ROVs:

Park Concessions

  • All Star Karting LLC (Go-Kart Race Track)
  • Armstrong Racing, LLC (Motocross race track operation)