What is fat biking?
A fat bike is an off-road bicycle fitted with oversized tires on wider rims. The thicker tires are designed for low ground pressure, which means they can be taken through soft unstable terrain, such as snow or sand. Although fat bikes have been around since the 20th century, fat biking has only recently become a popular winter activity. More bikes are being made that resemble common mountain bikes, and more fat bike-dedicated winter trails are being created across North America.
Fat biking locations
Kouchibouguac National Park
A national park in New Brunswick, Kouchibouguac has 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) of fat biking trails through its Acacia forest. Visitors can rent fat bikes from the national park as well, which is great for beginners.
Kouchibouguac National Park, Kent, NB, Canada, +1 506 876 2443
La Mauricie National Park
Located west of Quebec City, La Maurice National Park has a few different fat biking trails for enthusiasts. Usually, a snowshoeing fee applies for the activity, but this has been waived thanks to Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations. At La Mauricie, fat bikers can enjoy the winter landscape around Rivière à la Pêche’s campground loops and on the Parkway between the Saint-Jean-des-Piles Visitor Reception and Interpretation Centre, and the Rivière à la Pêche Service Centre.
La Mauricie National Park, Shawinigan, QC, Canada, +1 819 538 3232
Located about a two-hour drive from Toronto, Horseshoe Resort has a nine-kilometer (5.5-mile) fat biking trail. Its website says that the trail allows riders “to experience the natural beauty of the Copeland” in an entirely new way. The trail is perfect for beginner and intermediate riders, and both trail passes and rentals are reasonably priced at this Ontarian resort.
Horseshoe Resort, 1101 Horseshoe Valley Road W, Barrie, ON, Canada, +1 705 835 2790
SilverStar Mountain Resort
There are over 15 kilometers (nine miles) of fat biking trails on offer at SilverStar Mountain Resort. There’s a dedicated trail map available and a “fleet of rental bikes.” To protect the trails, SilverStar doesn’t actually allow people to fat bike if the temperature is above 0°C (32°F). The resort also requires everyone to wear a helmet at all times.
A ski resort in Quebec, Mont-Sainte-Anne is home to 26 kilometers (16 miles) of dedicated fat biking trails at its Cross Country Skiing Centre. The trail network comprises seven loops, which take riders all over the mountainside and through sections of Laurentian forest. There are different backcountry trails for all skill levels. If a rental is needed, check out Mont-Sainte-Anne’s St-Julien Sports Alpine Rental Shop.
Panorama Mountain Resort
Panorama, one of the most popular ski resorts in British Columbia, is now offering fat biking. The Panorama Ski Cabin, in the resort’s Upper Village, now rents out brand new bikes. The resort asks bikers to check with the Panoramic Nordic Centre on any given day as to where the best place to ride is. If the terrain is firm, then fat bikers can ride on the Nordic ski trails. Otherwise, the roads around the resort are available for fat biking.
Panorama Mountain Resort, 2000 Panorama Drive, Panorama, BC, Canada, +1 250 342 6941
Around Banff, there are four trails riders can tackle on their fat bikes. The first is Goat Creek Trail, which is 19 kilometers (12 miles) and travels between Canmore and Banff. It’s recommended for experienced riders, as the middle part is challenging. Another advanced trail is at Lake Minnewanka. Moraine Lake Road is closed to vehicles in winter, which makes it an ideal fat bike adventure. Finally, local fat bikers usually groom trails on Tunnel Mountain for fellow riders, and this is definitely the most moderate of the four trails.
Located just outside of Ottawa in Quebec, Gatineau Park has 28 kilometers (17 miles) of fat biking trails, ranging from moderate to difficult. The park recommends the tracks for people accustomed to rough terrain. The network includes some snowshoe trails, as well as some brand new fat bike-only trails. The park’s website states that fat bikers should yield to snowshoers, as that’s who they have to thank “for the hard trails you use.”
Gatineau Park, 33 Scott Road, Old Chelsea, QC, Canada, +1 819 827 2020
Fernie Alpine Resort
A newer activity at Fernie, the resort is home to several trails for all skill levels. There are rentals available at the resort, as well as comprehensive trail maps. For beginners, the community riverside trails in the ski town of Fernie are perfect for learning. At the resort, there are eight kilometers (five miles) of groomed multi-use trails, and they even host a Thursday Evening Ride & Dine event. Nearby, Mt. Fernie Provincial Park also has several fat biking trails.
Fernie Alpine Resort, 5339 Fernie Ski Hill Road, Fernie, BC, Canada, +1 250 423 4655