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Fat Tire Biking

Utah is world-renowned for mountain biking with its alpine singletrack in the north and slickrock terrain down south, but people here don’t garage their bikes in winter. They just grab the one with the fattest, squishiest tires in the rack and ride on the snow. Fat tire mountain biking (or snow biking) has become the latest rage among cycling enthusiasts and newbies, who can jump on the very-forgiving equipment and explore some of Utah’s most scenic trails.

Winter Mountain Biking in Southern Utah

No Special Skills Required

If you can ride a bike, then you can ride a fat tire bike. Fat tire biking is probably one of the best alternatives for your non-skiing family member and a bonus activity for your Utah ski vacation. 

Fat tire bikes (or fatties) look similar to mountain bikes except that the tires are about five inches wide instead of two inches. This girth (and very low air pressure) provides the biker more stability and shock absorption, making it easier to ride, even on snow. If you grew up riding a cruiser on the beach or around the neighborhood, it has a similar sticky feel.

Where and When to Ride

Fat tire mountain bikes are allowed on any Utah trail or road that allows mountain bikes. Because fatties are heavier than most mountain bikes, flat or rolling trails are easier to ride than steeper ones. If you want to ride on snow-covered trails, then groomed or tamped-down trails are the easiest (it is difficult to pedal through deep snow).

The best fat tire riding is on tamped-down snow. So, don’t do it on a powder day! If the ski runs are icy, then the fatty trails are probably prime. Biking is also a great choice in shoulder seasons (early winter, late spring). Just stay off muddy trails to avoid creating ruts. Check with local bike shops or online for trail conditions.

Fat tire biking at North Fork Park in Ogden.

Photo: Jay Dash Photography

Fat tire biking has become the latest rage among cycling enthusiasts and newbies

Photo: Jay Dash Photography

Salt Lake City Area


No special skills requiried — if you can ride a bike, then you can ride a fat tire bike.

Photo: Jay Dash Photography

Guides & Rentals

If you’re unsure where to go or where to rent, then hire a guide to do everything but pedal the bike for you. All Seasons Adventures provides bikes, helmets and water bottles and takes you to Round Valley for a guided two-hour ride based on ability (beginner-expert; two-person minimum). If you’re staying in Park City, they’ll even handle transportation at no extra cost.

If you want to go it alone, then you can rent a bike and helmet at several local bike shops, including White Pine Touring and Jan’s in Park City. Book ahead for guaranteed availability, especially during holidays. Ask the store personnel where to ride. Chances are they’ve recently been on the trails.

Always remember trail etiquette: If you’re on a trail groomed for Nordic skiing, then stay out of the parallel grooves they’ve cut for skis. Uphill riders have the right-of-way to downhill cyclists, but everyone must yield to pedestrians and horses and the occasional, very-happy off-leash dog.

What to Pack

  • Dress in layers. You will warm up climbing and cool down descending. For shoes, hiking boots with warm socks are perfect. Gloves or mittens are essential. Sunglasses are always a good idea on sunny or breezy days. Light backpack or fanny pack are suitable for stashing things. Helmets (ski or bicycle) are highly recommended to protect your noggin and keep it warm.

  • Water. Fat tire biking, like any activity in Utah, necessitates staying hydrated.

  • Snacks. Bring them!

  • Camera. Make sure someone in your group has a camera to take pictures or videos. You’ll want to brag to everyone when you get home. (Read: "A Photographer’s Guide to Mindful Travel")

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