Whether you want to try a new winter sport, stay fit this winter or take mountain biking to the next level, try fat biking.
A fat bike is similar to a mountain bike, but with a lighter frame and oversized tires. The thicker tires provide traction on soft and unstable terrain like sand and snow. Because fat bikes are so stable, they’re easy and comfortable to ride. The low-pressure tires act as shock absorbers, taking the stress off your hands and back. Fat biking is a great low-impact workout—but you’ll have so much fun spinning and sliding around in the snow that you won’t even notice you worked up a sweat.
Fat bikes can go where other bikes can’t, so take the opportunity to explore new territory. Here are the best fat biking spots around the GTA.
Albion Hills Conservation Park is in Caledon, about 60 kilometres northwest of Toronto. With 486 hectares of beautiful forest and over 50 kilometres of double track and single track, Albion Hills is a favourite of mountain bikers in Southern Ontario. There are trails for every skill level, including fast, rolling terrain and long downhills to satisfy speedsters.
Whitchurch Conservation Area
Located in Township of Whitchurch-Stouffville, the Whitchurch Conservation Area is about 50 kilometres north of Toronto. This wooded property was re-planted in the late 60s, and the maturing forest is home to a variety of bird species. With mostly flat, wide trails, it’s great for beginners and families. Because the trails are sandy and unpaved, fat bikes are ideal at any time of year.
Long Sault Conservation Area is about 90 kilometres west of Toronto, just north of Bowmanville. Located in the provincially significant Oak Ridges Moraine, Long Sault has 400 acres of mature forest, plantation, wetland and meadow. There are 18 kilometres of trails to suit every skill level. This is a popular site, so keep an eye out for hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers.
Eldred King Woodlands
Eldred King Woodlands is a forest tract north of Markham, about 60 kilometres north of Toronto. The rustic site is relatively flat with some rolling hills, making it popular with cross-country skiers and snowshoers. There is only one map at the trailhead and the trails aren’t signed—so make sure your phone is charged or bring a printed map. There are 15 kilometres of easy trails, plus lots of twisty side trails for the more adventurous fat biker.
Palgrave Forest and Wildlife Area
The Palgrave Forest and Wildlife Area has a diverse landscape of forests, meadows, watercourses, wetlands and ponds. Mountain bikers love the continuous loop because you can get up some speed and keep going without having to stop frequently. For the advanced rider, there are plenty of hilly tracks that let you wind your way uphill and shoot down the other side. Beginners can stick to the hiking paths, which are wide and straight.
Located in the Town of Uxbridge, the Durham Forest is about 70 kilometres northeast of Toronto. This 596-hectare forest has 15 kilometres of groomed trails in the winter, making it a popular destination for cross-country skiing, mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking. It is described as a “fat tire playground,” with trails for all skill levels, from wide access roads to steep hills and windy descents.
Glen Major Forest
The Glen Major Forest is part of the East Duffins Headwaters Conservation Area, an environmentally significant forest located on the Oak Ridges Moraine. There are wide, straight tracks for beginners, plus hilly single track for serious riders. With 1,548 hectares, it’s never too crowded, and the trails are well-maintained.
Don Valley Trail
You don’t have to leave the city to try fat biking. The Don Valley Trail trail follows the Don River Valley through Toronto’s parks and conservation areas, including the Don Valley Brickworks Park. There are multiple trailheads, including the gravel parking lot at the southeast corner of Bayview Avenue and Pottery Road. You’re never that far from a major street, so it’s hard to get lost. This trail can be quite hilly and off camber at times, so beginners should stick to the paved bike paths.