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10 Scenic Trails and Parks for Fat Biking in Canada

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Your new winter hobby awaits.

A winter pastime that’s steadily gained traction over the past five years, fat biking is now available in every province from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island. From adrenaline‑pumping single‑track trails in the mountains to flat and picturesque pathways across the Prairies, there’s a route for every age and skill set. But where to venture? We’ve rounded up the top trails for fat biking in Canada. No matter which one you choose, you’ll satisfy your need for fresh air and a little heart‑pumping activity wherever you find yourself this winter.

What is fat biking?

Similar to mountain bikes but with much wider tires, fat bikes are made for off‑road cycling on unstable terrain – especially sand and snow. They’re perfect for getting outside in the winter, especially if you love cycling or mountain biking and miss it throughout the cold months of the year. Winter biking in Canada may take a little time to get used to, but it’s a great way to exercise in the dead of winter and is low impact, making it easy on the joints.

December 25, 2020

Top places to go fat biking
in Canada

A cyclist fat biking along a path on the Montane Trail Network in Fernie, British Columbia
   Photo: Tourism Fernie
  1. Montane Trail Network, Fernie, British Columbia —

    If you’re looking to get into winter biking in Canada, you’ll be hard‑pressed to find a more attractive spot than the mountain town of Fernie, British Columbia. Pick up a fat‑bike rental at The Guide’s Hut or Gearhub, then head out on the multi‑use trails off Coal Creek Road. Since they’re groomed regularly, these paths are great for beginner and intermediate fat bikers. Take the Inclusive Trail out to the Montane Hut and look out over the spectacular Lizard Range. The trek is about seven kilometres, round trip.

Two cyclists on fat bikes ride along a path between tall evergreen trees at the Sun Peaks Resort
   Photo: Kelly Funk
  1. Sun Peaks Resort, Sun Peaks, B.C. —

    Sun Peaks Resort, nestled in the mountains about 45 minutes northeast of Kamloops, British Columbia, is a well‑loved family ski spot. It’s home to several multi‑use paths including Valley Trail, a 5‑kilometre path that winds from the village centre around the west end of the resort and up through the east village. There’s also the 11.3‑kilometre McGillivray Lake Loop, a trail designed for fat biking and cross‑country skiing, or the single‑track SunBurf Loop, which is a short 2.3 kilometres created for experienced riders. Fat bike tickets are $5 and available at the Sun Peaks Nordic Centre.

Fat biking at Shinrin along the snowy plains of Kananaskis, Alberta
   Photo: Jeff Bartlett/Travel Alberta
  1. Shinrin, Kananaskis, Alberta —

    Newly built for fat biking in the winter, Shinrin (from “shinrin‑yoku” or “forest bathing” in Japanese) has a similar feel to a single‑track mountain bike trail and is perfect for experienced fat bikers. The narrow adventure trail mostly runs through the forest but also features scenic lookouts over Ribbon Creek. If you want a guide, turn to Claude Faerden at Kananaskis Outfitters, who rents bikes and hosts fat‑bike tours. You may even wish to spend the night at nearby Kananaskis Mountain Lodge and relax tired muscles in the Nordic Spa on site.

A woman in a red jackets fat bikes along a narrow path surrounded by trees at the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park
   Photo: Travel Alberta
  1. Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park, Canmore, Alberta —

    Multiple fatbike–only single‑track trails loop around Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park including “Blue Coal Chutes,” “Long Road to Ruin” and the challenging “EKG.” Since pathways throughout the park are specifically designated for different activities, you won’t have to worry about running into cross‑country skiers – except at crossings. Much like Shinrin, it offers a beautiful ride for true fat‑bike enthusiasts.

A cyclist in a purple jacket fat bikes down a path lined with bare trees on the Green Lake Loop in Saskatchewan
   Photo: Fatlanders Fat Bike Brigade
  1. Green Lake Loop, Duck Mountain Provincial Park, Saskatchewan —

    Though it’s a bit of a journey from Regina (over three hours of car time), the 20‑kilometre Green Lake Loop at Duck Mountain is worth the trip – especially if you have an adventurous spirit. The park is located along the border between Saskatchewan and Manitoba and features well‑groomed trails, towering trees and plenty of rolling hills, making it best for those with a bit of leg muscle. About 14 kilometres into the loop, you’ll be able to rest at the Green Lake Shelter and build a toasty fire if you choose.

Two fat bikes stationary in the snow of the Northgate Trails in Manitoba
   Photo: Tim Foster
  1. Northgate Trails, South of Dauphin, Manitoba —

    Located just outside the boundaries of Riding Mountain National Park (RMNP), the Northgate Trails offer about 15 kilometres of wooded pathways along the slopes of the Manitoba Escarpment. The network was created by the Dauphin Derailleurs Bike Club to encourage the community to practice wellness and build a greater connection with nature. To take part, bring your own fat bike or rent from Friends of Riding Mountain National Park Learning Centre in Wasagaming. RMNP even has oTENTiks (a cross between an A‑frame cabin and a tent) available to rent throughout the winter.

Fat biking along a red bridge on the Old Railway Bike Trail in Algonquin Provincial Park
   Photo: Ontario Parks
  1. Old Railway Bike Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario —

    About 12 kilometres of the Old Railway Bike Trail is groomed each winter from Pog Lake to Cache Lake, making it easy to take a fat bike out on the flat trail even if you’re a newbie. You’ll spot frozen lakes, wildlife tracks and plenty of snow‑dusted foliage as you pedal over snowy pathways and river crossings. Head out on the trail from Mew Lake Campground, which offers parking, heating bathrooms and winter camping throughout the season – not to mention a skating rink. Need to rent? Visit Algonquin Outfitters in Huntsville.

A sunny day for fat biking along a snowy trail at the Empire 47 (E47) in Quebec
   Photo: D. Page
  1. Empire 47 (E47), Lac‑Delage, Quebec —

    A 20‑minute drive from Québec City, this community‑developed outdoor site has over 40 kilometres of wooded trails and powdery snow for fat biking in Canada, plus 7.5 kilometres for snowshoeing. Fat bikes and snowshoes are available for rent, so you don’t need to have your own equipment in order to hit the trails. It’s also open for mountain biking and hiking in the summer.

A group of cyclists in colourful jackets fat biking down the Rum Runners Trail in Nova Scotia
   Photo: Sweet Ride Cycling
  1. Rum Runners Trail, Halifax to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia —

    Connecting Halifax and Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rum Runners Trail sits on 119 kilometres of former railway line. It’s hard‑packed and flat, which makes it perfect for beginners. It also passes through several unique coastal communities, so you can easily sample restaurants and shop along the way. Rent a fat bike at Sweet Ride Cycling in Mahone Bay and be sure to pick up some Dynamite Trail Ale at Saltbox Brewery while you’re in town.

Fat biking along the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park trail in Prince Edward Island
   Photo: Luke MacDonald
  1. Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park, Brookvale, P.E.I. —

    Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park is a family‑friendly winter wonderland in Queens County with tubing, cross‑country and downhill skiing, snowshoeing and – of course – fat biking. Start off at the Brookvale Nordic Lodge, where fat bike passes and rentals are available, then head out on the nearly 10 kilometres of groomed, single‑track trails created just for winter biking in Canada’s smallest province.