Upper Peninsula, Michigan

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Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is snowmobile heaven. With plenty of snow off the surrounding Great Lakes, 2,500-miles of well-manicured trails, some amazing scenery and a well-established web of snowmobile support services, the UP has everything that a rider could want.

Over 200 inches of snowfall blankets the Upper Peninsula, with higher totals in some localities, like the 270 inches or more that falls annually on the Copper Harbor area at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Trail types in the UP include flat and nearly level rail grades that allow you to cover a lot of ground quickly, logging roads that offer a more leisurely paced ride and narrow twisties that snake through the woods.

The Lake of the Clouds overlook of Lake Superior is a prime example of some of the scenic opportunities. Located just 10 miles from Silver City in the western UP, you’ll want to be there at the break of dawn for the most spectacular view. And don’t miss the unique experience of the Bill Nichols Trail with its bridges that carry riders literally through the tree tops. While you’re up on the Keweenaw Peninsula, drop in at the famous Gay Bar, the only watering hole in the tiny hamlet of Gay. You can also visit Mt. Avon in Baraga County, the highest point in Michigan, with the summit accessible by a foot path off Trail 14 just east of L’Anse. Further south, Bond Falls, just off Trail 3 between Watersmeet and Bruce Crossing, is another can’t miss trail break, with six different viewing locations along a 600-foot boardwalk.

Over in the middle of the UP, you can get another fabulous view of Lake Superior and Grand Island from the famous Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Trail 422 just a bit northeast of Munising. Then head south on Trial 7 and explore the vast Hiawatha National Forest that stretches all the way to the south shore of the UP. On the shore of Indian Lake near Manistique, Palm Brook State Park features Big Spring, Michigan’s largest fresh water thermal feature. Visitors can board a large wooden cable raft for a self-guided tour of the mammoth spring that stays at 45-degrees (F) all year-round.

When the day’s ride is done, settle into a comfortable room at one of the many outstanding hotels and resorts that dot the UP. A wide variety of outstanding dining is readily available inside or in close proximity to your lodging as well as out on the trails. Many taverns offer live music on weekends, and other kinds of evening entertainment including casinos, movie theaters and bowling alleys are available, too. Snowmobile dealer support is widely available, and some offer rental units and gear if you choose to fly in and rent to ride. Modestly priced Michigan trail permits are required for all out-of-state sleds, and are readily available at many businesses.