Mountain bikers used to dread the wintertime as snow would descend onto the trails and bikes would be put away for months at a time. Luckily for biking enthusiasts, the sport of fat biking was recently introduced to the world. For the past few years this sport has been growing in popularity and it is no longer just a fad but a sport that is here to stay. Nowadays this sport is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and bike clubs and land managers are creating and grooming trails specific for the sport. Discover 5 awesome spots in the United States to try this epic new winter adventure.
5. Kincaid Park, Anchorage, Alaska
Most people agree that Alaska is the birthplace of the fat biking movement and it’s easy to understand why due to its weather. Kincaid Park is the fat biking hot spot here, offering 16 miles of singletrack. The tracks are groomed by volunteers making the trails flow both in the summer and the winter.
Snow machines are in place to pull around car tires to create a 2-3 foot firm trail. Head on over to Arctic Cycles to rent a fat bike if you don’t have your own, just make sure you reserve a bike ahead of time. This outfitter also hosts epic fat bike adventures, whether you want to spend a day exploring Anchorage or even take an overnight fat bike adventure.
4. Kingdom Trails Nordic Adventure Center, Vermont
This adventure center is packed full of fat bike trails, a total of 30km in fact. Whether you want to ride in the summer or winter, fat bike riders will be pleasantly surprised by the land access and trail design, adopting a separate but equal approach to trail access for skiers and bikers. No need to worry about running into each other on these trails. With miles of single-track to choose from, including some pretty epic summer favorites, there is no shortage of adventure here.
As an added bonus the trails are marked like ski slopes- green for beginners and black for experts. At just $15 for a day pass, this is a steal. If you don’t own a fat bike head on over to Village Sports who will rent you a bike for under $60 for the day.
3. Methow Trails, Washington
The Methow Valley Sports Trail Association operates the largest Nordic ski system in the lower 48 and has started opening their groomed trails to fat bikes in the last three years. Although skiers have over 120 miles of groomed track to explore, fat bikers now have 18 miles of groomed trails to choose from.
Most of the trails are wide, with expansive views and rolling terrain. Beginners can choose easy loops that start in the town of Winthrop as well as grab a rental bike from Methow Cycle & Sport located in the town. For the more experienced fat biker why not head to the seven-mile Gunn Ranch Trail where riders get sweeping views of the valley and ridges. Make sure to stay at the Grizzly Backcountry Hut if you choose to do this trail for an extra special experience.
2. Levis Mound, Neillsville, Wisconsin
There are just shy of 10 miles of machine packed fat biking singletrack trails here for enthusiasts. One of the features that make the trails stand out is the fact that they were created specifically for fat bikes, unlike other trails, which are retrofitted for snow bikes.
Essentially what this means is fewer hills, wider trails, removal of problem trees and a commitment to make fat biking an on-going trend. This also happens to be the home of the Sweaty Yeti fatbike race and Yet-Fest. Facilities include washrooms, a large parking area, and running water and at trail passes at just $5 a day; this is one epic place to start your fat biking adventure.
1. Marquette, Michigan
This hamlet may only have 20,000 residents but the four bike shops it has says something about its passion. Biking is at the forefront of activity in this community and that love has transferred over to the winter months with the sport of fat biking. In the town of Marquette alone there are over 70 miles of singletrack that are groomed specifically for fat bikes.
The clubs here are committed to building more trails each year with an emphasis on winter fat biking. The south side of the town is host to a 12-mile Snow Bike Route system that is absolutely killer. Head to one of the four bike shops for a rental and recommendations on where to start out.