Michigan: Trails Galore

Located amidst four of the Great Lakes that generate plenty of white stuff for winter fun, Michigan is among the top snowmobiling states by any measure. The state ranks in the top three in the country with more than 200,000 registered sleds. Snow accumulation has topped 14-feet on the Keweenaw Peninsula at the western end of the Upper Peninsula (UP), and has exceeded 10-feet in western parts of the lower peninsula of Michigan.

Over 6,200 miles of mapped, maintained and interconnected snowmobile trails provide great riding from December 1 to March 31, with maintenance by more than 150 groomers operated by the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and local snowmobile clubs. Superior rider support includes easily accessible lodging, restaurants, gas stations, dealers and repair shops, souvenir shopping and après-snowmobiling entertainment including casinos.

The heavily forested UP is interlaced with woods trails, fire roads and rail-trails that provide access to attractions like the Lake of the Clouds scenic overlook near Silver City, ice running on Lake Gogebic and Tahquamenon Falls, America’s second highest waterfall east of the Mississippi. The Lake Gogebic area is an especially popular area, with just cause – great trails, lodging options and food and entertainment line the lake and fill the greater region. The Bill Nichols Trail in the western UP features the Firesteel bridges that carry snowmobilers literally through the treetops! At the eastern end, the famous Soo I-500 enduro race in Sault Ste. Marie runs on the first Saturday of February. And the Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum on US Route 2 in Naubinway showcases the world’s best collection of rare snow machines in its recently completed new building. Its annual winter show and ride is scheduled for February 14-15, 2014, with side-by-side snowmobiles featured. Bring your Ski-Doo Elite, Innovar Sno Coupe, Alsport Tracker, Luv Bug or other side-by-side sled to enjoy the Valentine weekend right beside your significant other while you are out on the trail.

Lower Michigan offers extensive high quality riding on well-maintained trails through settings ranging from woodlands to shorelines. Cadillac, Gaylord and Grayling are some of the favorite areas. And the lower peninsula is also a hotbed of snowmobile racing.

Michigan honors all snowmobile registrations, so visitors only need a modestly-priced trail pass that’s available online, from DNR Operations Service Centers, or from hundreds of trail permit agents across the state. Ride Michigan and see why it is one of our favorite destinations.

For more information, visit Michigan Snowmobile Tourism at michigan.org/travel/outdoors.

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