For many Michiganders, February marks the beginning of our Winter Blues. It’s about this time when the novelty of the snow begins to wear off and we’re ready to get back to warm weather and RVing! But the snow isn’t likely to go away anytime soon, so we ought to make the most of it – right?
If you’ve never given snowshoeing a shot, now’s the perfect time. Besides the obvious health benefits of being outdoors exercising, this winter activity also gives you the perfect opportunity to get away from the confines of your home and experience the snowy splendor. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, there’s a snowshoe trail fit for you.
The right equipment is essential for a fun day on the trails.
- Snowshoes – The prices can vary greatly depending on the quality of the pair you’re purchasing. But the most important thing to keep in mind is that you have the right size and weight capacity for your body type. Some resorts and outfitters rent out snowshoes, or borrow some from a friend or family member if they live close by.
- Poles – Although, you can certainly get by without them, poles make time on the trails much easier, especially if you’re exploring an ungroomed trail system. They help you keep your balance and gain extra traction when getting up steep hills.
- Warm clothes – Depending on how hot or cold you get, you’d be better off to layer with lighter clothing. Layers are great because you can peel some off as you get farther along in your route. Consider bringing a backpack along, too, so you have a place to put the layers you’ve shed, if need be.
- Bottle of water – Whenever you’re exercising, you want to be sure you have ample water on hand – especially if you’re walking a tough trail or you’re moving at a quick pace. Winter weather is very drying to our systems, despite the low temperatures. If you bring a dog along, make sure you have water handy for them, too.
- A GPS or map – Most trail systems are well marked, but if you’re going off the beaten path, you should consider bringing along a printed map in addition to a cell phone or personal GPS tracker. Just to be safe.
Trails worth exploring:
- Grand Traverse Commons Natural Area, Traverse City – Explore over 140-acres of beautiful, wooded trails in one of Traverse City’s most iconic areas, The Village Commons. What once served as a State Hospital, the renovated Commons offers visitors a large array of locally owned boutiques, restaurants, and wineries. Experience the best of what Traverse City has to offer at this one-stop-shop. Find a map of the trail system here.
- Muskegon State Park, Muskegon – Winding along miles of shoreline and trail ways, this state park is certainly a sight for sore eyes. You can find a detailed map and guide to the trails here. Take your time and traverse these trails over a series of trips. Each trail offers a new experience and level of difficulty so challenge yourself to see them all.
- Maybury State Park, Northville – Maybury offers a scenic escape from the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan area. With almost 1,000 acres of land, you’ll be hard-pressed to see everything. If some of your other hobbies consist of biking, horseback riding, or cross-country skiing, you’re in luck – Maybury has it all! Download a copy of their trail map here.
- Boyne Highlands, Harbor Springs – If you don’t have snowshoes of your own, don’t worry! Boyne Highlands, just north of Petoskey, offers shoe rentals for $25 a day as well as two beautiful, snowshoe-only trails. Gather your family and friends and make a weekend out of it. Stay in one of their gorgeous lodges, and try your hand at one of the many exciting activities the resort offers – skiing, snowboarding, fat-tire biking, cross-country skiing, tubing, and horseback riding.
- Tahquamenon Falls, Paradise – Make your way North over the bridge for a picturesque escape. With miles of trails along the upper and lower falls, you can spend the day exploring without seeing the same thing twice. And don’t forget your camera – you’re definitely going to want to capture some of this beauty! Find a breakdown of the trail system here.
Now that you’ve gotten the hang of it, check out one of these awesome snowshoe events!
- Summit-to-Stein’s Snowshoe Supper, Boyne Falls – Offered every Friday and Saturday through March 11, 2017, snowshoers are welcome to participate in a uniquely special experience. Ride the chairlift to the top of the summit, where you’ll gear up and head out for a guided night hike to your dinner destination. A delicious three-course meal and live entertainment will top off the experience. Reservations are $55 a person. Call 231.549.6854 to reserve your spot!
- Mackinac Island Twilight Turtle Trek, Mackinac Island – Many of us have probably taken the ferry over to island sometime in the summer – but how many of us can say that you’ve toured the island in the winter? On March 4, 2017, from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM, this historic island opens two miles of lantern-lit groomed trails. The event is free to the public.
- Snowshoe Wine & Brew, Traverse City – Every Sunday until March 5, 2017, from 10:40 AM – 12 PM, snowshoers 21 and up are invited to Old Mission Peninsula for a new kind of bar crawl. Park your car at Jolly Pumpkin and hitch a ride over to local winery, Bry’s Estate, to begin your snowshoe adventure. From there you’ll trek to Bowers Harbor Vineyards and then you’ll walk the short distance back to Jolly Pumpkin. Your $20 will cover your shuttle service to Bry’s Estate, five wine samples at each winery, and five beer or spirit samples at Jolly Pumpkin.