When you think of things to do in the Bighorn Mountains during the winter, what do you typically think of? Downhill skiing, snow maching, cross country, snowshoeing, sledding? Most of us do as well. In fact, they’re such well established, popular activities that we’ve got clubs, businesses and resorts built around these very activities. But, did you know, fat tire biking is quickly adding itself to that list? In recent years, bikers have been emerging on the mountain and surrounding trails, enjoying and taking advantage of all the area has to offer for winter adventure.
Like many new sports, this one is finding its way through the typical start up maze, establishing appropriate biking areas and what rules need to be observed. Riding packed snow trails during the winter remains a primary activity for fat bikers. Before you begin your adventure, make sure the activity is permitted in the area. And always be courteous to other snow travelers.
Where to Begin
Like our cross country enthusiasts, many bikers take advantage of the maintained, easy to access trails at Pole Creek and Willow Park, just minutes up Highway 16. (Making sure to follow etiquette and remain courteous to cross country skiiers on these trails is a must of course, and donations at the trailheads are always welcomed.)
However, the great thing about the Bighorns is that there are hundreds of miles of trails to be found, explored and ridden. From established horseback riding and hiking trails to lesser worn game trails, bikers are able to piece together routes and create their own personalized adventure in the snow. Many use gps apps such as On X Hunt, which make terrain, public and private land boundary lines and even established trails accessible to your (literal) fingertips.
Considered the “signature trail” for fat tire bikers, and part of the Clear Creek Trail System, Mentock offers an easy access trailhead at Turkey Lane, is groomed and maintained. Follow this all the way up Mosier Gulch, or up to the face of Grouse Mountain and over via switchbacks for an intermediate to advanced ride.
For a scenic, intermediate to advanced ride, consider striking out at Elgin Park, just 17 miles up Highway 16. (Leave a secondary vehicle at Mosier Gulch or Turkey Land on your way.) From here you can ride all the way down to Buffalo via Grouse Mountain, Mosier Gulch and the Mentock trail. Ask for tips and trail advice at the Sports Lure or the Forest Service.
Winding its way from downtown Buffalo, all the way up to Mosier Gulch, this popular, flat terrain, multi-use trail offers 7 miles of beginner to intermediate biking, all year round. Maintained and easy to access, you can wind your way along Clear Creek, take in gorgeous views and wildlife sightings, all while staying close to town.
Download a map of the Clear Creek Trail System here.
- The above trail examples are just a few of the many, many options the Bighorns offer. Don’t be afraid to get creative, get tips from other bikers, the Forest Service and the Sports Lure to create your own personal adventure. The possibilities are endless.
- The Sports Lure, downtown Buffalo, offers tips, trail route and safety advice, maps and some bike services.
- EBikes are not allowed at this time on state land managed by the WY Game & Fish. Please contact the BLM (307-684-1100) & Forest Service (307-684-7806) for use information/restrictions on BLM & National Forest lands.