“Let’s roll a fatty and grab some munchies,” I call out to my hubby. “It’s a date,” he chuckles as he loads our fat-tire bikes on the rack. We’re heading out to some of Utah’s best winter cycling trails.
Fat-tire biking has become yet another excuse to get outside and explore the area’s trails. With five-inch-wide tires, these bikes look cartoonish but provide riders of any experience an extremely stable ride on single-track, slick rock, and packed snow. So, grab a couple fatties and your best pal or gal, and head to some of our favorite bike date destinations.
Lost Prospector + High West Saloon
Get there: Park at the Rail Trailhead off of Bonanza Dr
Get the authentic local riding experience on Park City’s first “real” mountain biking trail, Lost Prospector. Thanks to regular snowshoers and hikers, this six-mile ride maintains its snowpack for much of the season. Cruise through stretches of Gambel oak and aspens, and take in views of the resorts and Old Town as you parallel Deer Valley Drive. Start on Freemason (off of the Rail Trail). Then, head left on Lost Prospector all the way to Skid Row and descend back to the Rail Trail, or reverse the loop for a slightly tougher workout via a start on Skid Row. Then, roll south on the Rail Trail and up Poison Creek Trail to Old Town, and finish off the outing with a hot toddy and chicken schnitzel at High West Saloon (703 Park Ave, 435.649.8300, highwest.com/saloon).
Round Valley + Hearth and Hill
Get there: Park at Quinn’s Trailhead off Hwy 248
This 700-acre swath of open space encompasses a web of cross-country as well as bike-friendly (and dog-friendly) trails, many of which are groomed or tamped down by fellow adventurers. From Quinn’s Trailhead, take Rambler to Matt’s Flat, which climbs gently to Seventy 101. You can stop at the bench there and loop back (totaling 3.4 miles) or continue to switchback up PorcUclimb and then descend Downward Dog, a one-way flow trail that loops back to Matt’s Flat (creating a 5.2-mile loop). After working up an appetite, hop in your car and pop on Hwy 40 back to Kimball Junction (or you could ride the backside of Round Valley and take the paved frontage road to Newpark). Then, sidle up to the bar for a Pickle Back Melt and cocktail at Hearth and Hill (1153 Center Dr, 435.200.8840, hearth-hill.com).
Millcreek Canyon + Beaumont Bakery Café
Get there: Park at the gate four miles up Millcreek Canyon Road, off Wasatch Blvd and 3800 South in Salt Lake City
Utah’s Narnia, Millcreek Canyon—located just south of Parley’s Canyon—is closed to traffic at Mile 4 from November 1 to July 1 ($3 fee at exit). Park and ride past the gate into an enchanted world, where snow-covered branches arch above a white ribbon of trail. Rushing water and off-leash dogs pace you up a wide, moderate incline as you pedal to Big Water Trailhead and yurt for an eight-mile, out-and-back adventure. Of note: The approach to Mt. Aire Trailhead (approximately one mile into the ride) is gorgeous but quite a grunt. So, take a break and a picture once you reach the footbridge over the creek. Despite Millcreek’s lack of cellular service, you won’t have trouble getting an après-ride table for a late brunch (try the homemade Truffle Bun) and a glass of wine at the delicious Beaumont Bakery Café (3979 S Wasatch Blvd, Salt Lake City, 801.676.9340).
FOR MAPS AND TRAIL CONDITIONS
GEAR AND GARB
Need a rental? Outfitters such as Contender Bicycles, (contenderbicycles.com), Storm Cycles (stormcycles.net), and White Pine Touring (whitepinetouring.com) can equip you with a fat-tire bike and helmet for about $45. Dress in layers and wear sunglasses and gloves.