MN DNR Issues News Release on New Fatbike Riding Opportunities

Minnehaha Trail-Fort Snelling State Park
Image Credit: Bonnie Moebeck

The Minnesota DNR issued a News Release on December 15th that details the expansion of fatbike riding opportunities throughout the state.  These opportunities include 58 new miles open to fatbiking in Minnesota State Parks and on State Trails.  This is in addition to the 20 miles already in use at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area near Ironton.  Minnesota State Parks and Trails has also implemented a Winter Fat Biking Pilot Project to assist in finding places to ride and they would also like rider feedback that includes comments, suggestions and ways to improve these new winter fatbike trails.

The Minnesota DNR has maps of these new fatbike-friendly trails available for download.  These maps clearly detail fatbike/multi-use trails from snowshoe/ski/hiking only trails through the use of color to distinguish use (see each map's legend).

Image Credit: Minnesota DNR

In Northern Minnesota, Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area has 20 miles of groomed trails, Jay Cooke State Park has added 5.4 miles of trails to be groomed and Split Rock Lighthouse State Park will groom 8.7 miles of trails for fatbikes and ski skating.

Twin Cities Metro Area fatbike trail opportunities include Fort Snelling State Park with 6 miles of packed muti-use trails, the Luce Line State Trail has 7 miles of groomed multi-use trails and the Gateway State Trail is plowed from Cuyuga Street to Jamaca Avenue opening up 11.9 miles of trails to all winter biking.

In Southern Minnesota there are 13 miles of groomed trails from Pine Island to Rochester on the Douglas State Trail and the Blazing Star State Trail/Myre-Big Island State Park has added 6 miles of groomed trails.

Image Credit: Jake Hawkes/IMBA

Other opportunities for fatbiking from the MN DNR include:

Winter fat biking is allowed on trails that are signed and identified on DNR maps as open to fat biking, such as:

  • State forest roads or trails that are identified as allowing bicycling, unless they are groomed and tracked for cross-country skiing or snowmobiling only.*
  • State park and state recreation area trails designated for bicycling, including some non-motorized multi-use trails that may be shared with skiers, walkers, or snowshoers, unless they are groomed and tracked for cross-country skiing or snowmobiling only.*
  • State park roads, where motor vehicles are allowed, except those posted closed for biking.
  • State trails, except those groomed and tracked for cross-country skiing or snowmobiling only.
*NOTE: Most ski and snowmobile trails do not allow other uses. Skier and snowmobiler user fees pay for grooming and maintenance.

Areas to avoid riding fatbikes from the MN DNR:

While groomed snowmobile and ski trails can be an appealing ride option, most of those types of trails are not open to other uses due to concerns regarding safety and trail grooming costs that are paid through user fees. Please remember to be thoughtful and courteous as you seek out opportunities to enjoy the sport of winter fat biking.
Winter fat biking is not allowed on:

  • Most snowmobile trails, including the grant-in-aid (GIA) trail system. As a general rule for everyone's safety, please avoid fat biking on any snowmobile trail.
  • Most groomed and tracked cross-country ski trails, which are for skiing only
  • Any trail that is not specifically identified as open for bicycling, including hiking or snowshoeing trails in state parks or state recreation areas.

For more information on where to ride fatbikes in Minnesota, contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Remember to always follow IMBA's Fat Bike Best Practices.

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