The Shepherd Ah Nei Recreation Area just north of Billings, Mont., is one of the most popular off-highway vehicle (OHV) riding areas in the state.
With 50 miles of trails on more than 1,000 acres, the off-highway riding portion of the Shepherd Ah Nei Recreation Area offers plenty of thrills. The other part of the recreation area, encompassing about 4,000 acres, is dedicated to hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, picnicking and bird watching.
The area is operated by the federal Bureau of Land Management, and you must buy a special recreation permit for each vehicle you ride there. The fee is $35 a year, or you can buy a day pass for $5. Family permits are $105 a year.
You can purchase the permit at the BLM Billings Field office or the public room at the BLM Montana State office. Both offices are at 5001 Southgate Drive in Billings. Proof of vehicle registration is required for each permit.
The OHV area is open for riding from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the parking area is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Although the area is open year round, it’s best to call the 24-hour hotline—(406) 896-5014—before heading out to ride because the OHV area is subject to closure to motorized vehicle use due to wet and muddy conditions or fire hazards.
To get to the Shepherd Ah Nei Recreation Area, take Highway 312 east from the old Kmart in Billings Heights. Drive 7.7 miles to the flashing light and turn left onto Shepherd Road. Go 4.78 miles north to Scandia Road. Turn right onto Scandia Road and go 2.6 miles to CA Road and turn left. The OHV parking area is on the left about 4.6 miles farther.
For more information, contact the BLM Billings Field Office, 5001 Southgate Drive, Billings, MT 59101 or call the office at (406) 896-5013.