24 BEST Spots for Snowshoeing in Michigan
Ever tried snowshoeing in Michigan? What better way to embrace the long Michigan winter season than by heading outside and into the snow?
Instead of staying inside this year, try something new and take in the magic of a Michigan Winter on a pair of snowshoes.
With hundreds of miles of groomed trail systems throughout the state, a snowshoe hike through open fields and national forests of pure Michigan natural beauty is one of the fastest-growing winter activities: perfect for kids and adults alike.
Snowshoeing is a great way to get your family outside adventuring on a Michigan trail.
Last winter we received snowshoes as a family gift, and we were all very excited to explore all the trails Michigan has to offer with a snow-covered view.
Read to discover everything you need to know to get started snowshoeing in Michigan.
About Snowshoeing in Michigan
One of the first things you’ll notice once you step into a pair of snowshoes is how easy it is to get moving.
The new, lightweight shoe shoes are designed to spread your weight more evenly across the ground surface and prevent you from sinking too deep into the snow.
Strap on a pair of snowshoes (even the old-fashioned, wooden-tennis racket-looking ones) and you’ll be surprised how fast you’ll be able to start trekking over the beautiful snowy terrain,
How to Buy or Rent Snowshoes in Michigan
You’ll choose your snowshoes by your weight, not shoe size: the heavier the weight, the larger the snowshoe.
You can also rent snowshoes: some ski resorts, nature centers at county parks, and outdoor recreation activity centers offer equipment rental. Even many sporting goods stores and retail outlets with park trails nearby offer snowshoe rentals.
What to Wear for Your Michigan Snowshoeing Adventures
Now that you’ve got your snowshoes, you’re ready to get ready and start enjoying one of the fastest Michigan winter sports. Here’s what you’ll need to wear:
LAYER UP YOUR CLOTHES FOR SNOWSHOEING
We all know the first rule of the Michigan winter dress code is layering, and it’s no different for snowshoeing. Like any other Michigan outdoor winter activity, your level of exertion will influence how warm you get.
If you really start moving quickly on your snowshoes, you’ll want to be able to peel off a layer or two and still be comfortable enough to keep going. We suggest:
Top – A warm base layer (think thermal undershirt), a mid-layer (sweater or fleece) and, finally, a warm jacket or coat.
Bottom – Water-resistant snowpants with pants or warm leggings underneath. Our kids wore their snowsuits.
Feet – Warm boots with wool or synthetic socks to keep your feet dry and warm during your Michigan snowshoe hike.
You’ll want to make sure you have a backpack to carry extras and still have your hands free.
Pro Tip: Bring some hot cocoa for the kids to enjoy halfway through!
Where to Snowshoe in Michigan
\With miles of trails both groomed and ungroomed, Michigan has vast opportunities to snowshoe in both the Upper Peninsula and in lower Michigan.
Places to Snowshoe in in West Michigan
These West Michigan trails, many just a short drive from the Grand Rapids area, have been our favorite to explore as a family:
Saugatuck Dunes State Park – 6575 138th Ave, Holland, MI 49423
The beach trail offers a 1.5-mile round trip that starts through the forest and ends at the top of the dune overlooking Lake Michigan. Take a small break and enjoy the view of Lake Michigan and possible icebergs forming on the lakeshore’s edge.
Saugatuck is a perfect spot for a weekend, getaway, too. If you’re looking to explore the area, use our Ultimate Guide to Saugatuck for more on what to do in this fun spot. For where to stay overnight, check out the Guide to the Best Hotels and B&B’s in Saugatuck.
Pigeon Creek Park – 12524 Stanton Street, West Olive, MI 49460
This Park has great loops (including some along the Pigeon River) to take in the forest terrain making your snowshoe trail as long or shorter, if needed.
This Park also offers snowshoe rentals, a lodge for refreshments, as well as a sledding hill if you’re looking to take full advantage of a snowy day.
You’re just a few miles from Grand Haven, so when you’re through, you can take a ride to the Grand Haven City Beach and watch the wild, winter waves of Lake Michigan.
Upper Macatawa Natural Area- 1300 84th Ave, Zeeland, MI 49464
This is one of Ottawa County’s largest parks creating lots of room for trails. Follow the Dutchman’s Creek over the bridge into the wetlands and through the forest to enjoy the serene views of the many different landscapes.
Ludington State Park – 8800 M-116, Ludington, MI 49431
This park has a little bit of everything from sand dunes, miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, over 20 miles of trails, and endless activities in every season. The iconic Big Sable Point Lighthouse is here, and it’s especially picturesque against the stark winter landscape.
With the short days, the winter brings the park offers Lantern Lit snowshoeing in January and February, a must-do if you’re in the area.
There’s so much to do in Ludington, so check out our guide to the Top Things to Do in Ludington for more fun ideas.
PRO-TIP: Michigan State Parks offer guided snowshoe hikes (weather permitting) throughout trails in Michigan during the winter months. Contact the visitor centers at each state park for more information. You can also pick up trail maps.
Places to Snowshoe in the Upper Peninsula
Porcupine Mountains Ski Area
With more than 200 inches of snow annually, you’ll find endless miles of trails to explore at Porcupine Mountains State Park that take you through age-old forests and along remote lakes.
Noquemanon Trail Network
You’ll find endless miles of snowshoe trails in the giant playground that is Marquette in the winter, including the more than 75 miles of non-motorized trails.
In Marquette, you can rent snowshoes from Downwind Sports.
Dead River Falls, Marquette, MI
This 1.5-mile loop trail just outside of Marquette, Michigan takes you along the Dead River where you’ll see 3-4 waterfalls with drops of about 15 feet.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
You can rent snowshoes here and hike the almost 50,000 acres of pristine wilderness to the Upper and Lower Falls. Discover more about Tahquamenon Falls here.
Places to Snowshoe in the Northern Lower Peninsula
The Platte Plains Trail in Empire, Mi has loops ranging from 3 -6 miles, where you’ll take in gorgeous Sleeping Bear vistas. We also like the Empire Bluff trail, which leads to a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands.
Besser Natural Area in Alpena
You’ll find a 1-mile trail that leads through the “ghost town” of Bell at this scenic area in northern Michigan near Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay.
You’ll find almost 5 miles of groomed trails at this farm-turned cross-country ski hub in Frederic, just outside of Gaylord.
You can explore the stunning grounds of Black Star Farms Winery just outside of Traverse City and take in the woods, orchards, and vineyards of this stunning estate while beautifully blanketed in snow. There are rentals available, here, too.
Northern Michigan Ski Resorts with Snowshoeing
You’ll also find snowshoe rental available at these Michigan ski resorts:
- Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls area
- Treetops Resort in Gaylord
- Crystal Mountain near Frankfort (Be sure and follow the trail through the Michigan Legacy Art Park)
- Nubs Nob in Harbor Springs
- Shanty Creek Resort
- Boyne Highlands Resort
Places to Snowshoe in Southeast Michigan
Belle Isle Park in Detroit – Belle Isle State Park, in the middle of the Detroit River, offers trails with beautiful views of the Detroit skyline and neighboring Canada.
Holly Recreation Park – We like the 2.5-mile Lakeshore Trail near McGinnis Lake.
Maybury State Park in Northville – Lots of looping trails (six miles worth) or gently rolling terrain at this park in western Wayne County, including a lake loop.
Rolling Hills Park near Ann Arbor – More than three miles of groomed trails at this popular metro park just outside of Ann Arbor.
Pontiac Lake Recreation Area Lake Loop – This Oakland County Park offers miles of groomed trails.
Michigan Winter Fun: Snowshoeing and MORE
Michigan offers four unique seasons, and each season brings a new adventure. While some people dread the winters, as a seasoned Michigander I have learned to embrace them.
Michigan snowshoeing is one of our favorite winter things to do…what’s yours? We’re always up for a new winter family adventure and would love to hear! Please use the comment section below to let us know if you’ve tried snowshoeing Michigan or about other favorite family winter activities.
West Mitten Mom Lisa Brouwer hits the west Michigan Trails with her family.
About the Author~
Lisa Brouwer, aka “West Mitten Mom,” is a West Michigan Mom of two little explorers, Braelynn and Brady. She and her husband, Brennen have been married for 5 years and live in Zeeland, MI, and love to spend their time anywhere outside exploring beautiful Michigan.
Lisa runs the website Westmittenmom.com and the popular Instagram account @westmittenmom. She has been featured on Fox17 West Michigan for her tips for family-friendly things to do in west Michigan and beyond. She also partners with local businesses to promote kid-friendly outdoors activities in Michigan. You can also follow her on Facebook at @westmittenmom.
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