“There is something in snowshoeing’s simplicity and closeness to nature that speaks directly to an increasing number of people who seek to live with nature, rather than subdue it.” — Bill Osmond, The Snowshoe Book
If downhill skiing isn’t your pace and you want to get outside in the wintertime, snowshoeing might be just the activity for you. Michigan’s wide network of trails, state parks, lakeshore, and recreation areas offer myriad options as to where to make your trek.
Snowshoeing is something anybody can try at any age. Then it’s up to you as to how much of a sweat you want to work up and how challenging a walk you want to take. Just make sure to wear layers so that you can be at a comfortable temperature throughout your excursion.
Night hike by lantern
Imagine the silence of the night, the stillness of the trees, the gentle rustle of the snow beneath your feet. Though you can see around you thanks to the lanterns lighting your way, your other senses are heightened because of the darkness. These state parks offer lantern-lit snowshoe hikes at least once during the winter months: Mitchell State Park, Leelanau State Park, Ludington State Park, Waterloo Recreation Area, Island Lake Recreation Area, Hartwick Pines State Park, Fayette Historic State Park, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Van Riper State Park. Check the Michigan DNR calendar for specific details.
Scale the dunes
The sand dunes take on a whole different appearance when covered in snow, but they are still climbable in snowshoes. Sand dunes at Ludington State Park, Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, and Silver Lake offer a unique challenge for outdoor enthusiasts – and unique views that are worth the effort.
Walk to an island
Power Island (Basset Island) in West Grand Traverse Bay near Traverse City is accessible when the bay freezes over. If you’re lucky enough to be up north when this happens, then start your journey from the boat launch at Bowers Harbor on Old Mission Peninsula. It takes a few hours to walk the seven-mile round trip, so plan accordingly. The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay first needs to officially announce that the bay is frozen, which means that the ice has reached Power Island and has stayed that way for 24 hours. Make sure the temperature on the day you want to go is above freezing, too.
Visit the waterfalls
The Upper Peninsula is well-known for its majestic waterfalls, and they are popular destinations in the summertime. But they are worth seeing in the winter, too, when some of the falling water turns into curtains of ice. The Marquette and Houghton areas are two of the most popular destinations, including Eben Ice Caves, Yellow Dog Falls, and Hungarian Falls.
For additional information about equipment essentials, some ideas for trails to explore, and snowshoe events across the state, read our sister article, “Snowshoe Michigan.”