Winter fat tire biking is growing in popularity with groomed trails and competitive races across the Northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula from Traverse City to Marquette. If you’re new to fat tires, check out MyNorth’s comprehensive guide: Northern Michigan Fat Tire Biking. If you’re already an enthusiast, read on for some of the best trails and races.
Fat Tire Bike Trails:
45-North Vineyard Trail, Lake Leelanau
The groomed 3-mile trail starts near the tasting room and wanders through the scenic vineyard offering views of the surrounding countryside. Shortcuts along the way offer shorter routes.
Crystal Mountain, Thompsonville
The bike trail is nearly 6 miles. Adult bike rentals are available for one hour ($15 per person) or two hours ($25 per person) at the Park at Water’s Edge, which is where the trail begins and ends (trail map).
Manistee Non-Motorized Trail Park, Manistee
The 173-acre non-motorize trail park is just east of M-55. The four-season park is used for mountain biking, walking, running and cross-country skiing. There are two fat bike loops: the West Loop is about 1.6 miles and the Outer Loop is 3.8 miles (trail map).
Big M, Manistee
Ride about 20 miles of groomed trail through the Manistee National Forest. The separate entrance to the fat bike loops is off the parking lot slightly to the east of the signboard. Grooming conditions are posted on Shoreline Cycling Club’s website (trail map).
Boyne Highlands, Harbor Springs
The resort has a winter bike loop of 3.5 snowy miles. A day pass costs $5 (season pass for $49), and bike rentals are available for 2, 6, and 24 hours. Bike rentals and the trailhead are located at the Boyne Highlands Cross Country Center.
Glacial Hills, Bellaire
Fat bikes should use the Vandermark Trailhead (2771-3377 Vandermark Rd., Bellaire) to access three loops of groomed trails (1.7 miles, 1.4 miles and .8 mile). View the current trail conditions (trail map).
Hanson Hills, Grayling
The fat tire bike trail is nearly 3 miles basically following the Easy Rider Loop. Seasonal signage is placed when grooming starts. There is a $5 trail fee which can be purchased in the lodge (trail map).
NTN Snow Bike Route, Marquette
The Snow Bike Route includes 10.58 miles of groomed trails. The trail is part of the Noquemanon Trail Network. All Noquemanon Trails are open to snow bikers on Wednesdays after 5 p.m. and Saturdays after 3 p.m. The trail from The Marquette Board of Light and Power Tourist Park trailhead to the NTN Forestville trailhead is open at all times (trail map).
- January 21: Fat Chance Fat Tire Bike Race (Short’s Brewing Fat Bike Series)
- February 11: North American Vasa Fat Bike Race (Short’s Brewing Fat Bike Series)
- February 4: Hanson Hills (Michigan Fat Bike Racing Series)
- February 17–19: 906 Polar Roll (Great Lakes Fat Bike Series)
- February 19: Forty-Five North Vineyard Race (Short’s Brewing Fat Bike Series)
- February 25: Michigan Fat Bike Racing Series Finals
- February 25: Dogman Challenge Fat Bike Race
- March 4: Beard of Zeus Fat Bike Race (Short’s Brewing Fat Bike Series)
Fat Tire Bike Rentals:
Einstein Cycles: Offers half-day, day and week rentals. Located seconds away from the TART Trail (1990 US 31 North, Traverse City, 231.421.8148).
Brick Wheels: Range of fat bikes available for a day or full week. No charge for helmets, locks, baskets, flat packs and specialty pedals for cycling (736 E. 8th St., Traverse City, 231.947.4274).
Sleeping Bear Surf & Kayak: Located in the heart of Empire, Sleeping Bear Surf & Kayak has rentals for half day, full day or one week—perfect for hopping on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail (10228 W. Front St., Empire, 231.326.9283).
Suttons Bay Bikes: With plenty of backroad trails and the Leelanau Trail in close proximity, Suttons Bay is a prime destination for biking. Suttons Bay Bikes rents fat bikes for daily use (multiple-day discounts are available starting at two days), and all rentals come with a helmet, lock, map and repair kit. They also deliver rentals anywhere in Leelanau County (118 N. St. Marys Ave., Building B, Suttons Bay, 231.421.6815).
Latitude 45: Petoskey‘s premiere cycling and fitness shop offers 4-hour rentals for walk-in customers and 1-day, 3-day and week-long reservations (476 W. Mitchell St., Petoskey, 231.348.5342).
Cornerstone: Northern Michigan winter fat tire biking