Winter Fat Biking Info
There are now over 50 miles of groomed winter bike routes and literally hundreds of miles of plowed town roads to tour.
Where to ride:
- CAMBA Trails – all CAMBA singletrack trails and other designated routes are open to winter mountain biking except when the trails double as a snowmobile trail or groomed ski trail. Care should be exercised during transitional seasons when the frost is going in and coming out of the ground. Trails are particularly vulnerable to rutting at these times.
- Riding is prohibited on all state-funded snowmobile trails in Bayfield County. This includes all groomed snowmobile trails except those using town roads. Bayfield County has a specific ordinance prohibiting anything except snowmobile use on these trails. Sawyer County policy discourages the riding of snowmobile trails in the winter.
- CAMBA does not endorse riding on snowmobile trails.
- Groomed ski trails: As a general rule, bikes are not allowed on groomed ski trails in northwest Wisconsin, but there are presently two groomed ski trails in the area open to winter mountain biking. The Town of Hayward Recreational Forest is open to fat bikes on Wednesdays from sunset until park closing at 10:00 pm. Also, the National Forest Service’s Valhalla Recreation Area has opened up some trails to fat bikes on a trial basis.
- Snowshoe trails – many CAMBA singletrack trails are used as snowshoe trails in the winter. These will be packed by trail users and should make for good riding. Please be courteous and share the trails. These trails tend to be narrow and have little or no room to pull off the trail.
- The North End Snowshoe Trails – several snowshoe trails from the North End Trailhead in Cable are open to winter mountain biking. They are user-packed only and narrow.
- Town roads – snow covered dirt and gravel roads are open to winter mountain biking. Some of these roads may also be snowmobile routes, but if it is a public road, it is open to bikes. Use extra caution on these routes.
Fat Biking Frequently Asked Questions
What tire pressure should I run in my fat bike tires?
First, take a look at the above illustration of proper tire pressure on snow:
Generally, the softer the trail, the lower the pressure, and vice versa. If you’re breaking through the trail surface and leaving ruts or losing traction, let some air out of your tire(s). For dry snow with no moisture or wet snow in above freezing temps, 1-4 PSI is a good range. If you’re riding a hard-packed trail with temps consistently below freezing and you’re not breaking through the trail surface, 6-8 PSI is a good range. These recommended pressures depend on your weight and tire volume.
Is there a minimum tire width for groomed bike trails?
CAMBA recommends riding at least 3.8-inch tires on groomed trails. Larger riders should run minimum 4.5-inch tires.
Should I ride on a freshly groomed trail?
No, freshly groomed trails are almost always too soft for riding. They need time to harden, or “set up.” The time required for a trail to set up depends on several variables, such as temperature and humidity, but it always requires a period of falling temperatures. If you ride on a trail before it sets up, you will leave deep ruts in the trail, and when the trail finally does set up your rut will be there until the next grooming, so that every rider after you will have to contend with your rut. Not cool. Please check the Trail Conditions page for current trail conditions.
How do you groom your trails?
Most trails are groomed by a paid grooming staff with a snowmobile pulling one of several implements designed to get the air out of the snow and compact it evenly. Our groomers use several grooming implements, depending on conditions, including implements from Wildcat Groomers, Yellowstone Track Systems and Tidd Tech.
May I walk on groomed CAMBA trails?
PLEASE only walk on groomed trails with snowshoes. Walking on groomed winter bike trails without snowshoes damages the groomed trail surface (just like walking on a groomed ski trail would) and diminishes the user experience for cyclists. If you find yourself walking up a hill while riding your bike, please be courteous and keep your footprints to the side of the trail.
May I ride on any area ski trails?
At this time, only two area ski trails are open to fat bikes. The Town of Hayward Recreational Forest allows fat bikes on the groomed ski trails on Wednesday nights on a trial basis. The National Forest Service has opened up some of the trails at the Valhalla Recreation Area to fat bikes on a trial basis (although that fact is not yet reported on the website).
May I ride on area snowmobile trails?
No, you should not ride on groomed snowmobile trails. A Bayfield County ordinance prohibits the use of bikes on groomed snowmobile trails. Sawyer County allows bicycles on groomed snowmobile trails, but CAMBA does not condone it due to safety issues.
May I ride on area snowmobile routes?
Yes, because a snowmobile route is not the same as a snowmobile trail. A route is a public road on which snowmobiles are specifically allowed to operate along with other vehicles as well as pedestrians. All of the normal rules of the road apply.
I don’t think I have the skills to ride groomed single track. What other riding options do you have?
Riding any trail is more difficult when it is covered by snow. CAMBA currently grooms three wider trails: the Big Easy at the Highway OO Trailhead; the Cable Town Trails behind the Cable Community Center; and the Hayward Hospital Gateway Trail at the northwest corner of the Essentia Clinic parking lot. Plowed forest roads also provide some very good riding.