A Fatter Forest

New options for wide-tired riders.

Over-snow bikers (aka, “fat-bikers”) and UTV (utility vehicle) enthusiasts have reason to rejoice, thanks to the Custer Gallatin National Forest’s recent revisions to the Gallatin Forest Travel Management Decision. Based on those revisions, fat-bikers can enjoy many of the forest’s marked and groomed snowmobile trails, including trails in Hyalite.

Also growing in popularity and demand, UTVs that are less than 50 inches wide (often called side-by-sides) can now be used on Custer Gallatin Forest ATV trail systems as well. The Custer Gallatin National Forest will provide trail-riding opportunities for UTVs in response to growing demand, making UTV riding on the Custer Gallatin coincident with the Helena, Lewis and Clark, and Caribou-Targhee national forests. UTV enthusiasts need to ensure their vehicles are street-legal if riding on National Forest System roads.

Remember that you’re not the only one using these trail systems, so please ride safely and responsibly and be respectful of other people, wildlife, and the landscape you’re enjoying. Follow trail etiquette and yield to pedestrians and stock to ensure everyone has a pleasant experience. In addition, during the fall season, bears are often in lower elevations foraging before winter sets in. Don’t put yourself, others, or bears in unnecessary danger—carry your bear spray and have it readily available and follow food-storage guidelines.

Finally, stop by or call your local ranger district office to find out which trails are open and what condition they’re in, and to pick up a map. For more info, visit fs.usda.gov and search for the Custer Gallatin.

Marna Daley is the public affairs officer for the Custer Gallatin National Forest.