Discover the serenity of snowshoeing in the Upper Peninsula
In the winter, our wilderness snows run deep. One of the oldest, least expensive ways to get through it is on snowshoes. It is one of the easiest sports to learn and can be enjoyed from childhood to retirement years. It is also a sport that will bring you to some of the most scenic and tranquil places in the U.P., including frozen waterfalls, Great Lakes beaches and historic lighthouses. Come see why we love snowshoeing in the U.P.!
Where to rent or buy snowshoes | What to wear | U.P. snowshoeing etiquette | 12 favorite snowshoeing trails | Tours and places to visit | Annual events
Where to rent or buy snowshoes in the U.P.
If you don’t own snowshoes or want to try snowshoeing before you buy, there are plenty of places to rent them in the Upper Peninsula. Here are places you can buy and/or get rentals.
Western Upper Peninsula
Down Wind Sports | Houghton
Michigan Tech Recreation | Houghton
Mt. Zion Recreational Complex | Ironwood
Mount Bohemia Adventure Resort | Lac La Belle
Central Upper Peninsula
Brampton Bike & Ski | Gladstone
Down Wind Sports | Marquette
Down Wind Sports | Munising
Grand Marais Outfitters | Grand Marais
Iverson Snowshoes & Furniture | Wetmore
Maple Lane Archery & Ski Center/Ski Area |Skandia
Mr. Bike, Ski & Fitness | Escanaba
Superior Outfitters | Marquette
Wind Rose North Limited | Menominee
Eastern Upper Peninsula
Drummond Island Resort & Conference Center | Drummond Island
Dunham’s Sports | Sault Ste. Marie
What to wear and bring snowshoeing
Winter temperatures in the U.P. are usually comfortably cold between November and April. Locals recommend dressing in layers. For your under layer, start with a thermal undershirt, then add a heavier flannel shirt, sweater or sweatshirt and pants or leggings. For your outer layer, wear a warm winter coat or jacket, water-resistant snow pants or bibs, a hat that covers your ears (a Stormy Kromer is perfect) and mittens or gloves. On your feet, start with wool or synthetic socks, followed by warm boots and your snowshoes. Bring a backpack, and include sunscreen and sunglasses, your mobile phone, a compass, extra socks, first aid kit, water, non-freezable and high-energy snacks, a headlamp, a knife and matches. Carrying adjustable poles is also recommended by local snowshoers.
Snowshoe etiquette in the Upper Peninsula
If you are new to snowshoeing, we recommend that you stick to designated snowshoe trails. More advanced snowshoers can blaze new trails across fields, along Great Lakes beaches, through woods and on frozen lakes.
When snowshoeing on trails, read the trail markers carefully.
If you share a trail with cross-country skiers, do NOT step on the groomed ski tracks. Yield the right-of-way to skiers and grooming machines.
Avoid snowmobile trails.
Keep an eye out and listen for motorized vehicles and trail groomers headed your way or coming from behind. Move off the trail to let them go by.
12 favorite places to snowshoe in the Upper Peninsula
There are hundreds of miles of designated trails and thousands of wilderness acres to blaze new ones between Ironwood and Drummond Island. Here are some favorite destinations that beginners and the hardiest mountain-climbing snowshoers will return to again and again.
Western Upper Peninsula
- Copper Harbor Trail System, Copper Harbor. Blaze snowshoeing trails to amazing vistas of Lake Superior and through gorgeous old-growth forests. Or follow the marked snowshoe trails near the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.
- McLain State Park, Houghton County. Enjoy a trek through the woods, or see icy formations along Lake Superior’s rocky shoreline.
- Michigan Tech University Recreation Area and Nara Trails, Houghton. With over 50 miles of trails to explore, this is a popular destination near campus. For a real cardio workout, challenge yourself to the hilly Pilgrim Community Forest.
- Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Ontonagon. With 200+ inches of annual snowfall, it is no wonder snowshoers rave about the Porcupine Mountains Ski Area. Snowshoe alongside three groomed ski trails with loops of various lengths — all are naturally beautiful! Winter trail map
Central Upper Peninsula
- Eben Ice Caves, Eben Junction. The ice curtains along Lake Superior are breathtaking. Tip: bring ice cleats for your boots, too.
- Little Bay de Noc Trail, Gladstone. Five miles of snowshoeing along the Bay between Van Cleve Park and Terrace Bay Hotel.
- Kitch-iti-kipi, Palms Book State Park, near Manistique. It’s a short walk, but do visit Michigan’s largest natural spring this winter. It rarely freezes, so you can take the raft across the teal water and look into its ethereal depths.
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Grand Marais to Munising. Lake Superior churns up some heavy snowfalls, closing many of the park’s roads. It’s the perfect excuse to snowshoe along the North Country National Scenic Trail or see such sites as Munising Falls.
- Presque Isle Park, Marquette. Miles of trails through central woods or to some of the most scenic Lake Superior overlooks.
Eastern Upper Peninsula
- Drummond Island. Spend hours snowshoeing on 12 miles of designated trails or blaze your own!
- Mackinac Island. There are 70+ miles of hiking trails you can snowshoe, including 8.2 miles along the perimeter of the island via M-185.
- Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Paradise. Walk alongside the groomed cross-country ski trails or enjoy the serenity of snowshoeing in the backcountry. The highlights of this adventure are seeing the frozen Upper (Michigan’s version of Niagara Falls) and the Lower Tahquamenon Falls.
- Bishop Baraga Shrine of the Snowshoe Priest | Between L'Anse and Baraga | First bishop of the U.P. | Shrine statue towers six stories over the Keweenaw Bay
- Marquette Country Tours | Marquette | New to skiing in the U.P.? A professional guide will show you the best cross-country skiing trails around Marquette.
- Marquette Recreational Tours | Marquette | Tours based on ability level; fun for all ages.
Annual snowshoeing events in the Upper Peninsula
- December | Ho. Ho. Snowshoe | Mt. Bohemia Adventure Resort, Lac La Belle | Magical chairlift ride and lantern-lit snowshoe hike | Rental snowshoes available
- Early January | Lantern-lit Ski & Snowshoe | Blueberry Ridge Pathway, Gwinn | 1.7-mile lighted loop | Limited number of snowshoes available to borrow (free)
- Mid-January | Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — FREE Entrance into National Parks | Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
- January, February & March | Twilight Turtle Trek | Mackinac Island State Park | Lantern-lit snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trek
- January & February | Lantern-Lit Snowshoe Hike | Van Riper State Park, Champion | Limited number of snowshoes available to borrow (free)
- January & February | Guided Snowshoe Hike (Advanced) | Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Ontanogon | Limited number of snowshoes available to borrow (free)
- January & February | Guided Snowshoe Hike (Beginner) | Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Ontonagon | Limited number of snowshoes available to borrow (free)
- January & February | Lantern-Lit Trail Hike | Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park | Limited number of snowshoes available to borrow (free)
- February/Every Saturday | Guided Snowshoe Hike | Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Paradise | Limited number of snowshoes available to borrow (free)
- February/Every Saturday | Lantern-lit Snowshoe Hike | Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Paradise | 1-mile trail lit by over 70 kerosene lanterns | Limited number of snowshoes available to borrow (free)
- Mid-February | 906 Polar Roll Winter Adventure Race, Angry Bear 10K Snowshoe Run | Ishpeming