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Best Midwest Ski Resorts For Fat Tire Snow Biking


Fat tire bikers at Crystal Mountain have over 11 miles of groomed trails. (Crystal Mountain)

Fat tire biking, popular at western and eastern ski resorts, has been gaining traction in the Midwest. Ski resorts in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula and northern Minnesota are now offering rentals and trails to ride. Check it out. 

Michigan’s Crystal Mountain was the first Heartland resort to offer fat tire biking four years ago. They offer 12 miles of packed trails on property and connect to the DNR Betsie River Pathway for another five miles of forested trails. It’s the most trails offered for winter groomed fat tire biking in the Midwest. The trails are open daily and bikes rent for one hour $15 and two hours $25 per person that includes a trail pass. The trail pass is $12 if you use your own bike.

Boyne Highlands fat tire bikers enjoy the trail. (Boyne Highlands)

Boyne Highlands offers six kilometers of groomed trails, open daily for fat tire biking. Bike rentals, which include a helmet, run $30 for two hours, $50 for six hours and $80 if you want it for the day. A daily trail pass is $10. 

Boyne Mountain fat tire bikers. (Boyne Mountain)

Boyne Mountain offers five kilometers of groomed trail for fat tire biking. Open daily from 9 a.m-8 p.m., you can even get a little bit of biking in under the lights.  Another trail is under construction. The rates are the same as at the Highlands and also include a helmet.

Shanty Creek has Paddles & Pedals, which provides Fat Bike rentals on weekends and holidays during ski season. Available from the lower level of Cedar River Suites with out-the-door access onto a groomed multipurpose 5k trail, the cost is $30 for four hours.   

Treetops allows riding on groomed cross country trails when conditions permit. Reservations are required, and bikes rent for $15 for one hour, $25 for two and $35 for three. The cost includes a helmet, map and bike lock.    

Fat tire bikers have plenty of trail choices at Giants Ridge. (Giants Ridge)

Minnesota’s Giants Ridge has 60 kilometers of beautifully groomed Nordic trails that traverse Superior National Forest along the Gopher State’s Iron Range, and fat tire bikes are allowed on the trails with certain caveats. The roller coaster trails can be challenging, or just go for a mellow ride in the woods. Three kilometers are lit for night use. The bikes rent for $40 for four hours or less and $75 for a day. A trail pass, also required, is $17 daily.

 Fat tire bikers share the slopes with skiers on Sunday at Spirit. (Spirit Mountain)

Spirit Mountain, overlooking Duluth and Lake Superior, has a little twist on their offering of fat tire biking. They allow lift served, downhill winter fat biking every Sunday, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The cost is of a lift ticket is $55, or $44 if 62 or older. Rental fat tire bikes are available through Continental Ski & Bike starting at $40.

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