Celebrate hump day and get a good work out while you’re at it. Strap on some snowshoes and hike the trails behind Building 50 at the Grand Traverse Commons. Every Wednesday at 6:30 an informal group of outdoor enthusiasts meets for a romp through the woods. All ages and abilities are welcomed. This group is just about celebrating winter and enjoying the great outdoors.

The hike begins at the trailhead in Parking Lot K, behind the hospital. The pace is set to accommodate everyone in the group with stops along the way to count heads and adjust bindings. The trails lead through woods and cedar swamps, over hills and across open fields. At one juncture hikers choose between climbing “Heartbreak Hill” or following a less strenuous path. Those choosing the hill get an extra workout complete with rewards—outstanding views of the night sky and city lights as well as the chance to slide down the sheer side of an abandoned gravel pit. (Do it! It looks scary at first, but it’s a blast.) Either way the group reunites at the base of the pit before the last leg back to the parking lot.

Afterward head on over to Li’l Bo’s—hat hair be danged!—for a burger or a big plate of pasta. You’ve earned it. Don’t overlook the Eggplant Appetizer (featured in Traverse Magazine’s Best Eats 2007).

No snowshoes? No problem. A pair of high boots will do the trick if you stick to the trails (Off-trail you could find yourself in snow up to your waist in places).

Grand Traverse Commons: 400 acres of parkland a mile southwest of downtown Traverse City.
Get there: 6th Street west to Red Drive. Left (south) on Red Drive to Medical Campus Drive. Right (west) on Medical Campus Drive, Lot K is immediately to your left (south).

Lil Bo’s: 540 West Front St, Traverse City, 231-946-6925.

Looking for more chances to snowshoe? Check out these events!

Check out these two Affordable North ideas or see them all here and let the affordable fun begin!

Affordable North: Two-For-One Burgers and a Free Ski

Affordable North: Snowshoe Hike and Dinner in Traverse City

Photo(s) by Jodi Simpson