Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing
Wrap yourself in a blanket of snow – enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing UP north
Looking for a place to stretch out and spend some time with loved ones? You’re invited UP north where winter is an occasion! We celebrate the snow with hundreds of miles of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails, suited for all levels and abilities. With 250 inches of annual snowfall, our woods transform into silent, glittering, ice-encrusted cathedrals. Many state parks offer the magical experience of lantern-lit cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. Enjoy the warm glow of the woods on the groomed loop and end your evening relaxing with refreshments next to a roaring bonfire. Bring the entire family!
Fayette Historic State Park in Delta County – Glide through this historic townsite on the Garden Peninsula where you will see buildings and kilns that were used in iron-smelting. The five miles of cross-country ski trails includes a 1.5-mile trail along the bluff that offers views of Lake Michigan and the white cliffs towering above Snail Harbor. An annual Recreation Passport or day pass is required to enter the park.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon County – Located along the shore of Lake Superior, 23 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails are nestled into a 60,000 acre wilderness that boasts the largest virgin hardwood-hemlock forest in the United States. The trail pass includes a special lift ticket to allow cross-country skiers quick access to the trails on the backside of the alpine ski area. Children 12 and under ski free. The park is equipped with trailside cabins, equipment rental, ski shop, warming chalet, two trailside warming shelters and a cafeteria.
The Keweenaw Trails hug the wild and woodsy shoreline of Lake Superior along the Keweenaw Peninsula and include four distinct trail systems – the Chassell, Michigan Tech, Swedetown and Maasto Hiihto/Churning Rapids. Cross-country skiers flock to the Swedetown Trails near Laurium for the variety of scenery and terrain along 20 miles of meticulously groomed trails. Three miles of lighted trails are available for night skiing and there is a chalet available for when you’re ready to put your feet up and gather with friends. Depending on your length of stay, either pick up a combined annual pass for the trail system, or choose the day rate for an individual trail. The gently sloping hills also attract sledders.
One of our best kept secrets is wintertime on Mackinac Island! In winter, the north and the entire east side of the Island is ribboned with cross-country ski trails. Wind through natural wonders such as Arch Rock. Gaze for miles at Lake Huron painted in pale blues and whites of the season. Follow the trail up to historical sites. Fort Holmes rewards cross-country enthusiasts with the highest view on the island. Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry offers winter service to Mackinac Island from St. Ignace, Dock #1 only, from November through April.
Snowshoe along crunchy frosted trails
Snowshoeing in Michigan is a perfect way to see the tranquil beauty of the season while staying active. Hike a trail to waterfalls frozen in place, explore ice caves and take in scenic views over still waters and stands of hardwoods. Pause the crunch of your snowshoes to hear the sounds of owls and foxes cracking small branches in the quiet of winter. Take advantage of shorter days and try an evening hike. Kerosene lamps cast a magical glow along groomed trails while your spirits soar in the dark woodland.UP for some winter-themed crafts? Take a class and make your own snowshoes!
Move through woods and waters frozen in motion
Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Paradise, Luce County – There are nine miles of marked snowshoe trails at the upper and lower falls, with a trailhead beginning at the upper falls. The lanterns cast a soft glow and act as directional beacons, so be prepared with a headlamp or flashlight if you prefer more light. Warm up around a bonfire and enjoy refreshments after your adventure. Free snowshoe rental.
Fumee Lake Natural Area near Iron Mountain – Fumee Lake offers a variety of trails, ranging between one mile and seven miles for the hardiest snowshoe enthusiast. Earning high marks are the popular Little Fumee Lake Loop and the Big Fumee Lake Loop. Plan your time to circle either of the lakes for lovely views of this secluded area.
Marquette-area abounds with snowshoeing options
Noquemanon Trail Network – This extensive trail system offers four comfortable options from beginners to the more experienced:
- Baby Lake Trail is known as short and scenic – an ideal choice for beginners
- Teal Lake Trail offers intermediate terrain, with approximately 2.5 miles of trails, with lighting for evening activity
- Olympic Trail and Deer Lake Trail challenge with more advanced terrain and longer routes
Iron Ore Heritage Trail – History buffs will delight in this trek. The Iron Ore Trail connects five Upper Peninsula mining communities through 47 miles of interpretative trail. Snowshoe along abandoned railroad corridors that were used to bring lumber to furnaces and forges and iron ore to the Lake Superior Harbor. This multi-use trail is open to the public year-round.
North Country National Scenic Trail – This segment of trail is part of a scenic and historic trail system spanning across seven states that connects 18 trail towns. Maintained in collaboration with the National Park Service, several miles of North Country trail stretch along the shores of Lake Superior, with access to nearby parks and frozen falls in the Marquette area.
Van Riper State Park in Marquette County – Van Riper’s loop is 1.25 miles long, winds underneath towering trees and skirts the edge of the Peshekee River. The park offers regular snowshoeing along the lighted trail which loops at the rustic Peshekee Cabin. Cozy up with coffee, hot chocolate and other treats in the warming hut or at an outdoor fire pit.
Lantern-lit snowshoe hikes, historic tours, soup samplings, beer releases and more!
Communities across the U.P. celebrate the silent sports all winter long. Check local listings for special cross-country ski and snowshoe events where you can warm up and wind down at local restaurant and pub events after enjoying the trails.