Winter in Michigan's Upper Peninsula is not just a season; it's a celebration of snow, ice, and the myriad activities that turn the landscape into a real-life snow globe. Recently, the U.P. won the No. 1 spot in USA Today's Best Destination for Snow. This contest highlights what locals and seasoned visitors have known for centuries — this region is a snow-lover’s paradise.
THE U.P.'S WINTER LEGACY
The Upper Peninsula's historic reputation for superb snow conditions dates back eons. It has an average annual snowfall of 200-300 inches. Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are the region’s powerful lake-effect snow machines. As cold air blows across the warmer Great Lakes’ water, it picks up moisture that freezes and turns to snow. This can produce substantial amounts of the white stuff in a short amount of time!
The most snow falls on Michigan’s northernmost Keweenaw Peninsula where the record-high seasonal total was set in 1978-1979 when Houghton dug out from 355.90 inches!
WHEN IS SNOW SEASON
People in the Upper Peninsula get excited when the first snow falls as early as mid-October. Typically the snow season runs from November to mid-April. It is why the U.P. is a premier destination for winter sports and activities in the Midwest — and the U.S.
THE U.P. IS SNOW-MUCH FUN!
If you love going outside and playing in the snow, you can do it here! Pick a sport or activity and if it’s not being done now, bring it to us.
The U.P. is repeatedly named the “Best Place to Snowmobile” in the country. No surprise. There are 3,000 miles of groomed trails crisscrossing the region taking you along the shores of Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, through wilderness forests and to hundreds of frozen waterfalls, historic sites, welcoming towns and trailside lodgings. Ride recreationally, or enter some of the most thrilling endurance races. Sledders can ride here every year and never see all this region offers in their lifetime.
SKIING, SNOWBOARDING AND SNOWSHOEING: A CUT ABOVE THE REST
Tom Nemacheck, Executive Director of the Upper Peninsula Travel and Recreation Association, rightly boasts about the U.P.'s skiing and snowboarding credentials. The region's ski resorts offer some of the longest runs, highest verticals, and deepest powder in the Midwest. The downhill skiing experience in the U.P. rivals, and sometimes surpasses, that of more renowned locations in Colorado, New York and Vermont.
There are also hundreds of miles of scenic cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails from Ironwood to Drummond Island. One of the best experiences is reaching the century-old lighthouses along the Great Lakes beaches.
A DESTINATION FOR DIVERSE WINTER ACTIVITIES
The U.P.'s winter appeal extends far beyond traditional winter activities. Explore ice caves, go dog sledding, fat tire biking, ice fishing, ice climbing, skating, tubing, ice racing and so much more. Watch ski jumping, luge racing and attend some of the best winter festivals in the country!