Over the past few years, fat biking has gone from being an obscure offshoot of cycling to become one of the hottest trends in outdoor adventure sports. For those unfamiliar with the term, fat biking involves riding a bike with very large, oversized tires that have the ability to easily roll over sand, snow, and other surfaces that would typically be impassable to normal bikes. This has naturally made it appealing to people who want to ride all year round or take their bikes to places that were generally inaccessible in the past.
The origin of fat biking can be traced back to places where snow covers the roads and trails for extended periods of the year, making it difficult to ride a normal bike. But the massive tires of a fat bike generally do very well in those conditions, so naturally, it is a great way to ride in those settings. If you're looking for amazing destinations to explore from the seat of a fat bike, we have some suggestions for places where you can do just that. Just be sure to dress warmly and pack your sense of adventure. You're going to need it.
Kingdom Trails Nordic Adventure Center (Vermont)
Everyone knows Vermont is a great winter sports destination, with plenty of opportunities to go skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling throughout the entire season. But the state is also a burgeoning winter fat bike haven too, with plenty of trails open to riders. For instance, the Kingdom Trails Association maintains more than 18 miles of trail just for use by fat bikers and snowshoers all season long, with some of its most scenic routes set aide for riders. The trails are clearly marked, and easy to follow, with designations that indicate what level of experience is recommended as well.
Cuyuna Lakes (Minnesota)
With more than 40 miles of trails (20 of which are groomed) open to the public, the Cayuna Lakes State Recreation Area in Minnesota is quickly developing into one of the best fat bike destinations in the U.S. The park has been specifically developed by the state government to provide outdoor recreation opportunities during the winter months, and as a result fat bikers are treated to some very scenic trails that are maintained all season long. The park is just one of six destinations throughout the state that are open for winter riding, making Minnesota a premiere destination for cold weather fat biking in general.
Grand Targhee Resort (Wyoming)
Grand Targee Resort in Wyoming was one of the first resorts to actually embrace the fat bike trend and welcome riders to its groomed Nordic trails, which now stretch for nearly 10 miles through spectacular backcountry. Routes range from wide, open trails that are relatively easy to cut your teeth on, to more technical single track that requires a bit more skill and experience. The resort will even allow riders to take their bikes out at night, exploring the winter wonderland in a completely unique and unusual way.
Crested Butte (Colorado)
Well known as an epic mountain biking destination during the warmer months of the year, Crested Butte, Colorado is also growing into an amazing place to ride a fat bike during the winter too. The region has miles of open trails to explore, including some that are groomed and easily accessible right from town. Others, will take riders deep into the backcountry, where they'll find some of the most spectacular scenery that Colorado has to offer. The town even plays host to the Borealis Fat Bike World Championships, bringing the best riders in the world together in one place.
CAMBA Trail System (Wiconsin)
Wisconsin's CAMBA trail system features more than 300 miles of trails to explore across the spectacular Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The routes have been designed, built, and maintained by a dedicated group of local riders who volunteer their time. In the winter, many of those trails make for spectacular fat bike riding too, with some sections being groomed specifically for riders. The routes are fantastic at any time of the year, but in the winter they are more secluded and empty, providing an excellent escape for adventure seekers.
Park City (Utah)
Park City, Utah is definitely a winter playground for those who enjoy their cold weather sports. Over the past few years, it has also evolved into a great fat bike destination too, building on its reputation for excellent mountain biking in the summer. Head to Round Valley to gain free access to some of the best groomed trails in the region, but keep an eye out for others. This mix-use trail sees cross-country skiers and snowshoers regularly as well, and considering the epic scenery its easy to understand why.
Mont Sainte Anne (Quebec, Canada)
Want to expand your fat biking riding to an international level? Quebec is an epic outdoor winter playground that is also quickly becoming one of the best destinations in the world to ride as well. Tops on the list is Mont-Sainte-Anne, a resort that offers every kind of winter activity imaginable, including fat biking. With more than 16 miles of trail to explore – many of which are fat bike only – it is a virtual paradise for riders. You'll find everything from smooth, groomed routes to cross-country mountain bike trails to test your skills on. Season passes can be had for $79, while day passes are a very affordable $12.
These destinations are a sample of great places to ride a fat bike during the winter. As the sport continues to grow in popularity, expect many more places to follow suite. In the meantime, get on your bike and ride!