Content and images by T Morgan SpradlingWhile the Western Slope of Colorado has always offered a variety of recreation opportunities year round, cyclists have usually had to hang up their bikes during the winter and pursue other activities. That isn’t the case anymore. In the last two years, Montrose Colorado has grown into a fabulous place to ride fat bikes.Montrose cyclists recently developed an area specifically for non- motorized recreation called Buzzard Gulch. The BLM and local cyclists have worked diligently to build some amazing trails and it turns out that they are awesome for fat biking too. The trails total about 10 miles with another 10 approved for construction this year. Buzzard Gulch offers varied singletrack and great views of the Uncompahgre Valley, while being close to town and easy to locate. If you ride from town and all the way to the top of the riding area you will gain about a 1,000 feet and have a lot of options for loops to make a great afternoon of riding. The Black Canyon is another new fat biking destination in the area. Road cyclists have long used the park’s roads for a great ride, but that stopped as soon as it snowed. The park service recently purchased a trail groomer for cross country skiing and started grooming the 6 miles of road from the visitor’s center out to High Point. Unlike other nordic areas, the Black Canyon highly encourages fat bikers to use their groomed trails. The trail goes out to some amazing view points of the canyon and there are even bathrooms out at High Point where the trail ends. The ride out and back is 12 miles and about 1,000 feet of climbing. When you are done, you can swing into the visitor’s center for hot coco and to warm up. The park doesn’t charge entrance fees during the winter, so the whole experience doesn’t cost a thing. If you are more ambitious, you can ride from town and turn it into a real challenge. One of the Western Slope’s most remote fat biking experiences is up on the Uncompahgre Plateau. A short drive West of town takes you up Dave Wood Road to the US Forest Service boundary. From here, there are a lot of snowmobile trails that weave a labyrinth through the forest and offer a ton of miles of amazing riding once the snowmobiles pack the trails in. The snowmobile riders are super friendly over here and are generally excited to see bicycles out on the trails. One of my favorite rides is to climb Dave Wood Road up to the Spring Creek Cutoff trail. From there, you climb up to Spring Creek Rim Road (snowmobile trail in winter) and descend back to your vehicle. That loop makes for 10 miles and 1,000 feet of climbing with some seriously fun descents. Again, if you are looking for a challenge, you can leave from town and on the way back link into Buzzard Gulch for a singletrack descent back to town. One of the most exciting fat bike developments in the Montrose area is the development of a locally built custom fat bike. Hauck Bicycles is entering the growing market with a race-inspired, hand-built aluminum fat bike called the “Foxtrot”. These bikes are being designed, welded, powder coated, and built here in Western Colorado and they are amazing. For more information about all that the Montrose area has to offer fat bikers, please contact Western Slope Fat Bikers on Facebook or (970) 275-2261, and Cascade Bicycles at (970) 249-7375.