Where to go fat biking in Ontario
Fat bikes, also known as snow bikes, are an off-road hybrid of the mountain bike design with oversized tires and a wider handlebar that allows you to ride on soft, snowy, sandy or muddy terrain.
This versatile design is perfect for avid cyclists as fat bikes can traverse trails in Ontario throughout the winter season. So don’t pack your helmet away for the season because fat biking is gaining traction and turning cycling into a year-round sport.
Here are a few places in Ontario to give fat biking a whirl.
Fat biking trails in Northern Ontario
Embark on an exciting fat biking ride on the well-groomed trails in Walden Trail Park (formally called the Naughton Trail Centre), about a 15-minute drive west of Sudbury in Lively.
- the Walden Mountain Bike Club develops and maintains just under 20 kilometres of singletrack trails in the 140-hectare park
- the clearly marked trails are developed to take full advantage of the hilly and rocky Precambrian shield terrain with varying degrees of difficulty
- purchase a trail membership to ride throughout the season or pick up a single day (or evening) pass
- locally owned and operated, Adventure 365 provides fat bike and other rental equipment, as well as repair and tech services in Kivi Park in Sudbury; reserve your rentals online in advance
Location: 1 Denis Avenue, Lively
Where to stay: for overnight accommodations, choose from a variety of hotels and lodges in and around Sudbury
The Trowbridge Forest trail system connects trails for all skill levels through several parks including Centennial Park and the defunct, century-old Shuniah silver mine off Trans-Canada Highway 17 in the east end of Thunder Bay.
- the multi-use trails at Centennial Park are great for beginners, while the more technical, singletrack trails at Shuniah Mines snake around a now-defunct century-old silver mine that delivers some gnarly topography, more suited for experienced riders
- trails are maintained by Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club, a volunteer-run, not-for-profit group; check their website for trail conditions before you ride
- head to Rollin’ Thunder Bike & Ski for new bikes, services, repairs and rentals (check on availability)
Location: 751 Centennial Park Road, Thunder Bay
Where to eat: Sleeping Giant Brewery
Along the shore of the mighty Lake Superior, just over a 1-hour drive south from Thunder Bay, this lakefront park on Sibley Peninsula features multi-use trails and roads that can be explored year-round by bike.
- mountain biking is popular on Thunder Bay Lookout Road and Marie Louise Drive, but you may find the best fat biking on the challenging Burma Trail or the easier Pickerel Lake Trail
- purchase your day use permit in advance through Ontario Parks online reservations
- after the long-running Sleeping Giant Nordic ski loppet in Sleeping Giant held in early March, a fat bike loppet loop challenge is hosted by the Thunder Bay Cycling Club and Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club; check for upcoming dates and weather and trail conditions
Location: RR#1, Pass Lake
Where to stay and eat: see the Thunder Bay suggestions above
Part of the groomed Crystal Creek Ski Trail System at Hiawatha Highlands, just outside of Sault Ste. Marie, these trails are open to fat biking in the winter.
- to use the trails, buy a bike-only day pass or a season pass from Hiawatha Highlands’ website
- note that a cross-country ski pass also provides access to the fat bike trails
Location: 780 Landslide Road, Sault Ste. Marie
Where to eat: check out this list of not-to-miss restaurants in Sault Ste. Marie
Fat biking trails in Muskoka and Central Ontario
Explore smooth trails with open vistas and tight, winding single tracks through old-growth forest on both private and crown land just a 10-minute drive from downtown Parry Sound.
- almost 20 kilometres of trail are dedicated to fat biking; check the trail conditions in advance
- on-site fat bike rentals are available, or you can rent your bike and equipment (including helmet and gloves) from Parry Sound Bikes
- get a day pass or season membership, which goes towards supporting and maintaining the trails and chalet facility
Location: 4 Nine Mile Lake Road, Parry Sound
Where to stay: spend the night at Bayside Inn, close to the harbour and within walking distance of local restaurants
Experience the beauty of the snow-covered trails at Copeland Forest on an all-new adventure.
- set out on the nine-kilometre fat bike trail at Horseshoe Resort, suitable for beginners to intermediate cyclists
- fat biking trails in Copeland Forest are open from November to April, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
- bike rentals (including a helmet) are available, and you’ll need to purchase the unlimited trail pass separately
Location: 1101 Horseshoe Valley Road West, Barrie
Where to stay and eat: Horseshoe Resort also offers accommodations in a variety of hotel and condo style rooms, so you can rest well and hit the trails again the next day
Overlooking Peninsula Lake in Huntsville, Deerhurst year-round resort knows how to make the most of winter with a wide variety of winter activities offered including fat biking.
- book your fat bike rentals with helmet on-site for $20 per hour and explore the trails directly from the resort
- if you’re looking to discover even more amazing Muskoka landscapes, check out nearby Algonquin Outfitters in Huntsville, which also rents fat-wheeled bikes in the winter
Location: 1235 Deerhurst Drive, Huntsville
Where to stay and eat: Deerhurst Resort features comfortable rooms and home-style rentals as well as great on-site restaurants
This facility is dedicated to high-adrenaline outdoor pursuits including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and biking with over 100 kilometres of multi-use trail systems.
- ride “phatty,” the dedicated 5-kilometre fat bike trail or see if any of the cross-country ski trails have been opened up to fat biking; the trail conditions page is updated daily during the season to show fat biking trail status
- fat bikes are available for all-day or half-day rental, just make your reservation online in advance as they book up quickly
Location: 402 Old Barrie Road West, Oro Station
Where to stay and eat: check out the stay and play packages at Carriage Ridge Resort, conveniently located just a few minutes’ drive away
About an hour’s drive north of Toronto, Albion Hills offers fat biking adventure in the winter.
- explore the mixed terrain on the 6.5-kilometre Black Trail system, open to snow biking each season between December and March, weather permitting
- make sure you’ve also got a CSA-approved safety helmet, as they’re mandatory to wear while biking on the trails
Location: 16500 Peel Regional Road 50, Caledon
Where to stay and eat: for the ultimate rest and relaxation after your ride, the Millcroft Inn and Spa is only a few minutes away in Alton
Known as a premiere destination for cross-country skiing in Ontario, Highland Nordic Centre also offers amazing fat biking opportunities.
- ride the 10 kilometres of groomed single track fat bike trails through rolling winter forests
- rentals are available at Collingwood’s Kamikaze Bike Shop
Where to stay: book a stay at The Dorchester Hotel, Collingwood’s newest boutique accommodation
Where to eat: celebrate your day at Northwinds Brewhouse and Kitchen with delicious comfort food and craft beer
Fat biking trails in Southwestern Ontario
West of Kitchener, the 35 kilometres of single track mountain bike trails in the Hydrocut are renowned for challenging technical features.
- the trails are open and free to the public
- there are two trailheads, one at the Glasgow parking lot in Kitchener and the other on the Pines site at the Snyder’s Road parking lot, which is where winter fat rides commonly begin
Location: 1974 Snyder’s Road East, Petersburg
Where to stay: a Kitchener landmark, The Walper Hotel is the perfect base from which to explore downtown
Where to eat: savour fresh-from-scratch pasta dishes at 271West Restaurant
On the shore of Lake Erie, the trails on Turkey Point crown land were founded and are maintained by a community of local mountain bike cyclists—the Turkey Point Mountain Bike Club.
- since 2011, membership in the Turkey Point Mountain Bike Club has grown, as has the network and maintenance of the area’s trails
- visitors are welcome to use the trails, just purchase a day pass in advance
- because the trails are on crown land, trail use is seasonal and trails are closed during hunting season; be sure to check in advance that the trails are open to use
Location: 1730 Front Road, St. Williams
Where to eat: dining out doesn’t get much more local than The Combine, a farm-to-table eatery located in the owner’s home
Less than a 20-minute drive south of Stratford in Southwest Ontario, Wildwood Conservation Area maintains four mixed-use hiking and biking trails.
- in the winter, check for the fat biking schedule to access the 25-kilometre Lake Trail or the shorter loops in Dr. R. S. Murray Forest
- note that cyclists should travel counter-clockwise on odd dates and clockwise on even dates
- to use the trails, you’ll need to purchase a daily admission permit or a seasonal pass
- check in with Totally Spoked in Stratford for rentals; helmets are mandatory on the trails, so make sure you rent a properly sized helmet along with your bike
Location: 3995 Line 9, St. Marys
Where to stay and eat: Westover Inn in St. Marys is the perfect spot to end your day with delicious meals and comfortable accommodations
Fat biking trails in Southeastern Ontario
The K&P Trail is a multi-part, mixed-use recreational trail that extends (with unconnected sections) for almost 200 kilometres between the city of Kingston on the shore of Lake Ontario and the town of Renfrew close to the Ottawa River.
- the trail follows the old Kingston and Pembroke Railway line, and the 15-kilometre rural stretch outside of Kingston from Binnington Court to Orser Road is an exciting ride—it climbs bluffs and escarpment, traverses wetlands and ravines, and passes farm fields and a historic mill
- the trail is open year-round and is free to use
- Frontenac Cycle on Barrie Street is Kingston’s oldest bike shop, selling new and used bikes, and provides great repair service
Location: Binnington Court, Kingston
Where to stay: from secure bike racks to indoor storage, find cycle-friendly accommodation in Kingston
Where to eat: create your perfect piping-hot pizza at Wooden Heads Gourmet Pizzeria
Explore the western outskirts of Belleville by fat bike on the trails at Potter’s Creek, part of Quinte Conservation.
- this nature preserve contains an assortment of tree-lined, mixed-use trails that are great for beginners
- Ideal Bike in Belleville will set you up with your ideal ride and gear, including lock, map and roadside assistance
- purchase the daily parking pass on-site or online
Location: 2061 Old Highway 2, Belleville
Where to stay: rest in comfort at Ramada by Wyndham, with cozy rooms overlooking the Bay of Quinte
Where to eat: open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Birdy’s Casual Fine Dining is always a good choice; take in harbour views at The Boathouse Seafood Restaurant and discover classic and elevated cocktails at The Lark
Following the former Canadian National Railway Line, this multi-use trail stretches over 100 kilometres between Strathcona community just northeast of Napanee and Smiths Falls on the Rideau Heritage Route.
- the trail features a variety of terrain and scenery, from small towns to farmland and forests
- most of the trail is double track and the entire trail system is free with several access points along the way
Location: Smiths Falls trailhead at 145 Lombard Street, Smiths Falls
In Canada’s capital, follow the Ottawa River shoreline on the groomed, multi-use Kichi Sibi Winter Trails.
- running between Lebreton Flats (west of Parliament Hill) all the way to Dominion Station, this trail system is a wonderful way of exploring the Ottawa River Capital Pathway in winter
- parking is available at Westboro Beach, Champlain Park and the Canadian War Museum
Location: Ottawa River Pathway, Ottawa
Where to eat: dining options in Canada’s capital are endless; find the perfect restaurant in Ottawa to satisfy your appetite
Fat bike safety and etiquette
Before heading out, give your bike a tune-up by checking components like tires, brakes, chain, gears, derailleur and saddle (or seat) to make sure they’re all working properly. Fat bike tires range from 9 to 12 centimetres wide with tire pressure kept low at 3 to 9 psi.
Always wear a helmet, stay on designated trails and follow the rules of conduct on the trails, especially on the multi-use trails that are used for other winter sports. Check the weather and trail conditions in advance of your trip in case of closures.
With over 60 maintained Ontario trail systems that invite fat biking, and great outfitters, guides and rental companies to steer you in the right direction, there are plenty of unique places to fat bike in Ontario and pedal up a new winter adventure.
Last updated: September 19, 2023