Five Wasatch Front Winter (and Summer) Fat Bike Trails

By Mark Peterson

Fat biking is a rapidly growing sport and way of life. We live in the perfect place to experience this riding phenomenon. But if you are new to the sport or are curious, it can be hard to access the bikes and a challenge to find fat bike friendly trails. I contacted some fellow fat bikers and asked them to share one of their favorite Wasatch Front trails and helpful insights.

Wasatch Crest Trail, Big Cottonwood Canyon

Kaitlin Barklow rides Wasatch Crest Trail in the snow at night.
Kaitlin Barklow rides Wasatch Crest Trail in the snow at night.

We just got fat bikes last February, so early season trails are new to us, but I would say that the little bit of the Crest we did the night of October 18, 2013 was pretty sweet. It was really interesting to ride singletrack snow again. The Wasatch Crest Trail runs along the high ridge between Big Cottonwood Canyon and Park City, then descends via Mill Creek Canyon. – Mike Barklow

Bonneville Shoreline Trail above North Ogden

Only a few years old , the Bonneville Shoreline Trail above North Ogden is a very welcome extension of this great trail system along the Wasatch Front here in northern Utah. It is named the Bonneville Shoreline Trail because it almost literally follows the ancient shoreline of this massive extinct lake.

Five new miles of delicious single track weave and carve their way along the bench of the famous Mount Ben Lomond. The payoff of this ride is descending about a half a mile of well placed, tear dropped, nicely bermed, switchbacks. – Preston Roylance

Bonneville Shoreline Trail from Provo to Springville

The Bonneville Shoreline Trail in Utah County.
The Bonneville Shoreline Trail in Utah County.

If you live anywhere in Utah, chances are you have heard of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. The Shoreline trail from Provo to Springville is a gem of a trail only 5 minutes from the center of Provo. This trail really hits its stride when the high elevation trails are all inaccessible between late fall to early spring—the season when real riders’ bikes get…FAT!

The trail spans between Slate Canyon of Provo and the city of Springville. Navigation is fairly straightforward, park at the lower parking lot of Slate Canyon and head south on the single track. There are several very good sections of singletrack that are linked together by short sections of double-track. Some of them are harder to spot than others. I recommend using Strava segments to connect all the singletrack sections together for a very rewarding ride. For an easier ride, or at times when there is too much fresh snow, just stay on the double track. – Alex Davies

Pineview Trail, Ogden Valley

Mark Peterson at Pineview Reservoir in Ogden Valley

I love this trail for its diversity of fat bike adventure since it offers up some tasty singletrack with the option of beach riding and ice riding when the reservoir freezes over. The Pineview Trail shadows the western shore of the north arm of Pineview Reservoir and is 3.2 miles in length. This is a fantastic option for experiencing a variety of conditions perfect for fat bikes.

If you are coming from I-15 take exit 344 (12th Street) go east toward the mountains. Follow the canyon to the dam and take a left across the top of the dam. There are trailheads on highway 152 at the northern and southern ends. Both trailheads have bathrooms and free parking – Mark Peterson

Birdsong Trail, Ogden

The Birdsong Trail in Ogden
The Birdsong Trail in Ogden

One of my favorite fat biking trails year round is the Birdsong Trail in Ogden linked to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail via 20th Street trailhead to create a loop out of Rainbow Gardens . This trail is a fantastic option for entry level fat bikers to experience snow biking for the first time. When the snow hits, this trail gets packed out very quickly, creating excellent traction. The loop that I do is fairly short (45 min. in winter conditions) but is worth it. Twisting through the foothills, this trail is a blast with a variety of roller-coaster trail flow. There are fantastic views of Ogden Canyon and the surrounding area. The riding is easy to moderate.

Rainbow Gardens is located at 1851 Valley Dr. Ogden, UT 84401 just west of the mouth of Ogden Canyon. If you are coming from I-15 take exit 344 (12th Street) go east toward the mountains and just before Ogden Canyon turn right on Valley Drive and then into the west parking lot of Rainbow Gardens. The trailhead is in the southeast corner of the parking lot at the Rainbow Trail sign. A second trailhead is at Fillmore Avenue and 20th Street.- Mark Peterson

Key aspects that make these trails excellent Fat Bike adventures.

Proximity – They are so close to civilization that after-work rides are possible even in the shortened daylight hours of winter.

Accessibility – There is enough foot and snowshoe traffic throughout the winter to keep the trail packed down when the snow piles up.

Challenging – They challenge the legs, lungs, and stamina.

Fun – They have singletrack sections and a good mix of fast and flowing terrain with assorted challenges.

Great views – In Utah we are surrounded with world class landscapes, and they are even more beautiful on a fat bike!

Fat Bike Tips and Tricks

1. Tire pressure – Tire pressure can make or break having a good time on a fat bike; not to mention the performance side of things. For winter riding, start at 10-12 psi. Ride for a bit, then drop the pressure a little, and repeat until you find the perfect pressure for your riding style and trail conditions. I run 5 psi in the winter.

2. Body position – Move your weight back slightly from your normal positioning. This will help with traction and help prevent the front end from washing out.

3. Momentum – Momentum is the fat bikers best friend & plays a huge role when riding twisting and rolling terrain.

4. Apparel – Layers, layers, layers. Be prepared for cold, but know you will warm up throughout the ride. Ware gear that allows you to vent efficiently.

5. Ride time – During the early season ride late at night or early in the morning when the ground is frozen so you don't wreck the trails with ruts. Be aware of the tracks you leave and considerate of others.

6. Lighting – Invest in a decent lighting system. It is dark in the winter & trails are easier to follow if you can see them.

 

Mark Peterson, 801-782-3663, [email protected]

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