Snowshoe These Favorite Trails from Benzie to Sleeping Bear Dunes to the Upper Peninsula

Snowshoeing can take you places in winter that might not make the top of your summer lists because they are crowded or too buggy. Winter also reveals new vistas from atop snowshoes, now that the forest's canopy has been drawn aside. Here's a variety of views to inspire a snowshoe adventure. (Please remember to snap some photos for our photo of the day on MyNorth.com)

Good Harbor Beach, Leland >> Easy

The road to the Good Harbor Beach, south of Leland off of M-22 is closed in winter, but the snow plow has pushed the snow back just enough to park a car or two at the intersection. Using your own snowshoes, follow the road into the park. The walk in is downhill through the trees, protected from the wind. That protection disappears once you come out onto the dunes and the shoreline, but the ice sculptures of Lake Michigan are worth the bite of her blowing offshore winds. And if it's quiet, the erie landscape will make you feel like you're on another planet.

Note: Even though you'll be parked along M-22, you'll need a permit to be in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. For more info on those fees, visit http://leelanau.com/dunes/park/fees.php

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Deer Yard Guided Snowshoe Hike, Ontonagon >> Easy

Old-growth forests blanketed of the Porcupine Mountains blanketed in snow. Join the Michigan state park naturalist on February 13 at 1 p.m. at the Whitetail Cabin Parking Lot for a guided snowshoe hike. The park naturalists can provide snowshoes–so there's no excuse. All experience levels welcome. 1.5 hours This program is free of charge and of course weather dependent. To learn more about this snowshoe hike, contact the state park at 906-885-5275.

Note: you'll need a Michigan Motor Vehicle Permit for the state parks which is $24 annual or $6 daily for residents. (non-residents $29 and $8.)

Moonlight Snowshoe the Dunes of Doom to Pyramid Point, Glen Arbor >> Advanced

Seeing Pyramid Point bathed in moonlight alone might be a new way of seeing this popular spot, now cover it in snow and you have something really different. On Saturday, February 27, 2010 it will almost be a full moon, and (fingers crossed) with a clear night you should get some spectacular views. This trail is a bit of a challenge; you might want snowshoes that are more sophisticated than Grandpa's old fashioned tennis-racquet cousins. So it comes as no surprise that Backcountry Outfitters has organized this trek. To join the fun, meet at Boone Docks in Glen Arbor at 8:30 pm (Backcountry Outfitter staff is going early for dinner). Then drive to the parking lot and head-out to Pyramid Point. This is a strenuous hike down and back up the dunes and through the forest ridge. There is no additional cost for this event unless you need to rent snowshoes ($10). Call 231-941-1100 for reservations.

This is another trail where you'll need a permit to be in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. For more info on those fees, visit http://leelanau.com/dunes/park/fees.php

Michigan Legacy Art Park, Thompsonville >> Moderate

Discover the sculptures at Michigan Legacy Art Park in Thompsonville this winter, half covered in a blanket of snow. Bring your own snowshoes and begin the trail at the Art Park trailhead. Marked by ribbons, this new trail veers away from the groomed cross country ski trails at the amphitheater and gives hikers a fresh perspective of the art and landscape. The Art Park is open year-round during daylight hours.  Admission is $3 per person or $10 per household and it can be deposited in the donation pipe a few feet up the trail.  Snowshoes are available for rent at Crystal Mountain's Park at Water’s Edge, 800.968.7686 ext. 7000 michlegacyartpark.org

More Snowshoe Trails, Trips & Tips

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