When Experience Grand Rapids first profiled the local fatbiking community back in 2018, it was clear the snow sport was exploding in popularity and participation. We can now report that area enthusiasm for this rad style of riding has only grown higher in the ensuing years.

The West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance (WMMBA), an organization of 500+ members that builds area trails and promotes safe riding, reports that the last few years have been “phenomenal for the whole biking industry.” Fatbiking – which is an even better workout than road or mountain biking – has welcomed an influx of new aficionados in Grand Rapids/Kent County.

Local fatbikers have a “good density” of trails to choose from. In fact, the West Michigan area is gaining something of a regional reputation as a fatbiking destination. 

Our groomed trails are part of the appeal (and 45+ craft breweries don’t hurt, either). Grooming mostly occurs when snowfall is too high and/or fresh to provide a firm base. Simply put, grooming makes riding easier.

WMMBA trains and equips “an army” of volunteers to optimize riding conditions on 150+ miles trails around the area, both in the winter for fatbiking and in warmer weather for mountain biking.

WMMBA maintain 14 trails across the area (and is always looking to build more). These five trails are located within 45 minutes or so of downtown Grand Rapids and are groomed for fatbiking:

Two people fat tire biking through snowy trails of Grand Rapids, MI

Cannonsburg Ski Area has five miles of snowy trails perfect for fatbiking.

Photo by Aaron Peterson for Experience GR.

Merrell Trail. This 6.4-mile winter single-track trail in Rockford opened in 2012 and quickly became a favorite of local bikers.

Dragon Trail. More than 29 miles of this under-construction trail near Hardy Dam and Newaygo State Park are now open and groomed for fatbiking. When it’s finished, the Dragon will stretch nearly 50 miles and provide a truly world-class biking experience. (You can donate to the fund to finish the trail.)

Yankee Springs. 6.5 miles of this winter single-track trail near Gun Lake are groomed. (Additional ungroomed miles lay in wait for more adventurous riders.)

Indian Trails. This city-owned golf course features a 3.7-mile single-track fatbike loop groomed by clubhouse staff. Trail riders can purchase a day pass for $3 or a season pass for $15. Fatbikes can be rented for $20 per 1.5 hours.

Cannonsburg Ski Area. This popular winter sports destination grooms five miles of rolling to hilly terrain for a fatbike trail loop. Purchase a $5 day pass or $35 season pass and experience a mix of open areas and twisty, tight single-track. 

Bikers who crave even more of a challenge have a number of ungroomed local trails to choose from, including Ken-o-Sha Trail, Luton Park Trail, Richmond Park Trail, The Underground and Wahlfield Park Trail.

Visit the WMMBA website to check current trail conditions.

Two people taking off into the snowy trails for fat-tire biking.

Cannonsburg Ski Area offers fatbikes for rent, making it the perfect place to get some fatbiking experience.

Photo by Aaron Peterson for Experience GR.

If you haven’t yet hopped on the fatbike bandwagon, the best advice is to start slow. Try to find a bike to borrow or rent and hit a trail with somebody who knows their stuff. There are intricacies to these bikes and their gears and tire pressures that really make a difference.

Cannonsburg Ski Area and Indian Trails offer fatbike rentals for use on their trail. Once you’re hooked on the experience, you’ll find lots of bikes for purchase along with excellent advice at Alger BikesFreewheeler Bike Shop, Grand Rapids Bicycle Co. (Ada or Uptown), Switchback Gear Exchange, Village Bike & Fitness (North or South) and West Michigan Bike & Fitness (Grandville or Kentwood).

Fatbiking is a healthy way to take in the beauty of a West Michigan winter. You’ll be joining a great community of riders always eager to lend assistance. Get out and try it!