They call the Western Upper Peninsula “Big Snow Country” for good reason. Lake effect snow from Lake Superior dumps large amounts of the white stuff in Gogebic and Ontonagon Counties. More than 200 inches is the annual norm, and roughly 300 inches has fallen in more than one recent winter.
The historic Ironwood Railroad Depot trailhead is the western gateway to the entire Upper Peninsula, but there are many other access points like the trailhead at scenic Sunday Lake near Wakefield. And with a web of more than 2,000 miles of trails that are groomed seven days a week, you won’t run out of new scenery in a couple of days, either. These trails present a variety of riding from easy cruising on rail trails to gently rolling pathways across semi-open ground to unplowed logging roads to the intimate seclusion of deep woods trails twisting through the Ottawa National Forest.
Winding through the scenic bluffs in the Bessemer area should not be missed, and there’s ice running on famous Lake Gogebic with easy access to businesses in Bergland and nearby Marenisco. Some town and county roads are posted for snowmobile use, enhancing convenience for riders, but always stay on marked snowmobile routes. Trail condition reports are available at 800/522-5657.
The Lake of the Clouds overlook of Lake Superior headlines many scenic opportunities. Located just 10 miles from Silver City, you’ll want to be there at the break of dawn for the most spectacular view. Bond Falls, just off Trail 3 between Watersmeet and Bruce Crossing, is another can’t-miss trail break. Take your time for this one as there are six different viewing locations along a 600-foot boardwalk. And if you want to head further north, don’t miss the very unique riding experience of the Bill Nichols Trail with snowmobile bridges literally through the tree tops.
A wide variety of lodging is available, with hotels, motels, resorts, lodges, country inns, cottages and B&Bs at your service, most with direct trail access. Many of them offer additional amenities like trail permit sales, gas and oil, heated repair areas, fireplaces, saunas and spas, gift shops and more. Dining spans the spectrum from homespun pizza palaces to sophisticated steak houses and is readily available in close proximity to your lodging or out on the trails. Some pit stops, like the Hoop ‘n Holler Tavern and the Root Cellar, are widely known. But others, like JW’s Southern Barbecue, offer culinary delights not usually associated with snowmobiling. Many taverns offer live music on weekends, and other indoor recreation is available at the Lac Vieux Desert Casino in Watersmeet, the southern gateway of the western U.P.
Snowmobile dealer support and rental services are available, too.
Come see why the west of the U.P. is the best of the U.P. For more information, visit explorewesternup.com or call 800/522-5657.