Fat bike riding in Minnesota

Fat Bike

Fat biking in Minnesota

Minnesota State Parks and Trails Facebook site  Minnesota State Parks Twitter feed  Minnesota State Parks and Trails Instagram site

Coming to the park? Know the "Key 3:"

  1. Plan to be flexible. Explore new destinations and consider mid-week travel. Parks are busy as more people get outdoors, so we encourage you to discover a new favorite!
  2. Arrive prepared. Buy your vehicle permit, check visitor alerts and download maps before your trip.
  3. Recreate responsibly. Help conserve these special places for the future by staying on trails and leaving no trace.

Find a safe and appropriate place to ride fat bikes this winter! Groomed snowmobile and ski trails may look appealing, but many of these trails are not open for other uses due to safety concerns and the cost of grooming. Check out any of these trails for a fun fat biking experience:

fat bike trails mapSplit Rock LighthouseCuyuna Country State Recreation Area/Cuyuna Lakes State TrailJay Cooke State ParkBronk Unit - Richard J. Dorer State ForestFort Snelling State Park

Fort Snelling State Park

Trails: 6 miles
Use: Packed for non-motorized multi-use, including fat biking.
Download trail map
More about Fort Snelling State Park

Lake Bemidji State Park

Use: The Northland Fat Bike Rally will be held at the park March 3, 2018.
Event details
More about Lake Bemidji State Park

Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area/ Cuyuna Lakes State Trail

Trails: 20 miles
Use: Groomed trails dedicated to a premier fat biking experience.
Download trail map
More about Cuyuna Country SRA

Jay Cooke State Park

Trails: 5.4 miles
Use: Trails groomed for fat biking.
Download trail map
More about Jay Cooke State Park

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Trails: 8.7 miles
Use: Trails groomed for fat biking.
Download winter map
More about Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Bronk Forest Unit - Plowline Trail

Trails: 7.5 miles
Use: Trail is groomed by a local mountain bike club for non-motorized multi-use, including fat biking.
Download trail map
More about the Bronk Forest Unit of the R.J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest

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What's a "fat bike?"


Fat biking has been an emerging winter sport in the Midwest for several years and is expected to continue to grow in popularity.

A fat bike is a bicycle with large, low pressure tires designed for travel over snow or sandy soil. The standard equipment guidelines for a fat bike that will be primarily ridden on snow are:

  • Wide tires. Deep snow coverage may require tires wider than 3.7 inches or larger.
  • Low tire pressure (often under 8 PSI).
  • Enough flotation that you can travel over snow without leaving a rut deeper than one inch. If you are leaving a rut deeper than one inch conditions are too soft for biking.
  • Sufficient traction that you are able to safely control your bike and ride in a straight line.



Find snow and trail conditions


Check statewide snow conditions.

For information about a specific trail, click on the map above to go to the state park or state trail's main page—most of them provide at least a weekly update. If you have additional questions or are uncertain if a trail is open or safe for fat biking, please give us a call:

  • For fat biking on trails in state parks, contact the park office (contact is at bottom of each park's main page).
  • For fat biking on state trails, contact your local parks and trails office.



Where to ride


Winter fat biking is allowed on trails that are signed and identified on DNR maps as open to fat biking, such as:

  • State forest roads or trails that are identified as allowing bicycling, unless they are groomed and tracked for cross-country skiing or snowmobiling only.*
  • State park and state recreation area trails designated for bicycling, including some non-motorized multi-use trails that may be shared with skiers, walkers, or snowshoers, unless they are groomed and tracked for cross-country skiing or snowmobiling only.*
  • State park roads where motor vehicles are allowed, except those posted as closed for biking.
  • State trails, except those groomed and tracked for cross-country skiing or snowmobiling only.

*NOTE: Most groomed ski and snowmobile trails do not allow other uses. Skier and snowmobiler user fees pay for grooming and maintenance.

Minnesota State Parks and Trails recommends these places to go fat biking this winter:Lake BemidjiCuyunaSplit RockJay CookeLuce LineGatewayFort Snellingmyre

Northern Minnesota

Metro Area

Southern Minnesota



Where to avoid


Groomed snowmobile and ski trails may look appealing as you're scouting areas to ride, but most of these trails are not open to other uses due to safety concerns and the fact their grooming costs are paid through user fees. Please be thoughtful and courteous as you seek out places to enjoy winter fat biking.

Fat biking is not allowed on:

  • Most snowmobile trails, including the grant-in-aid (GIA) trail system. As a general rule for everyone's safety, please avoid fat biking on any snowmobile trail.
  • Most groomed and tracked cross-country ski trails, which are for skiing only
  • Any trail that is not specifically identified as open for bicycling, including hiking or snowshoeing trails in state parks or state recreation areas.



Fat biking safety and weather conditions


Fat biking safety tips:

  • There are inherent risks to fat biking—ride at your own risk.
  • Test the fit and function of your equipment before each ride.
  • Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.
  • Wear bright colored clothing so others can see you.
  • Obey all rules and signs, and ride open trails only.
  • Ride with a friend to promote fun and safety.
  • Always yield the trail and let others know you are coming.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and other trail users.
  • Ride to your ability and be in control at all times, remembering that the faster you ride, the greater your risks, so always keep your speed at a level that will allow full control.
  • Do not ride wet or soft trails.
  • Parents should use extreme caution when allowing children to ride.

Be aware of winter conditions:

Overcast skies causing "flat light" and white-out blizzards can make it hard to see the trail. In white-out conditions, there are no shadows, horizon or clouds, and all depth perception and orientation may be lost. Riding during this weather is not recommended.

"Flat light" can obscure features and terrain. Visual references are important for safe riding. Please go slow and use caution in these conditions.

There is no such thing as "safe ice," and ice seldom freezes uniformly. The terrain can greatly change with icy conditions, and the ice may not be uniform. Please use extreme caution.



Other fat biking resources