Sleeping Bear Dunes Attractions: Start your New Year’s holiday off with this simple checklist of resolutions you’re sure to enjoy, and maybe even keep, while snowshoeing at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore): Spend more time with family and friends.  Check.  Get some exercise.  Check. Learn something new. Check. Connect with nature. Check. Explore your very own national park. Check.

A Park Ranger will personally lead snowshoe hikes throughout the National Lakeshore every Saturday this winter. The first hike starts on Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 1:00 p.m.  Enjoy snowshoeing in a winter wonderland of forests, fields, beaches and historic sites.  Look for fresh tracks in the snow, learn about the lives of the people that settled this area, and breathe some fresh winter air. Meet at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Visitor Center in Empire. If you do not have your own, snowshoes will be loaned out at no charge. Should there not be enough snow for snowshoeing, Park Rangers will still lead interpretive hikes each Saturday throughout the winter.

Inside the Visitor Center, Park Rangers will first provide basic snowshoeing instructions and then everyone will travel by car to the trailhead or area of the National Lakeshore pre-selected for that day. Once there, the Park Ranger will help participants learn about the park’s unique features and winter’s effect on them by exploring and discovering clues on site. Be prepared and plan to be outside until about 3:00 p.m. Dress in layers and wear waterproof boots to be most comfortable.

Not only is snowshoeing easy, fun, and good exercise, it is also an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages. The Park Ranger-led hikes are mildly strenuous, but proceed at a leisurely pace for approximately one and a half miles.  

Since the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park Service has a supply of snowshoes for use within the National Lakeshore, participants need only purchase the park entrance pass or have an annual pass to join in the fun. Reservations are highly recommended. Park Ranger-led snowshoe hikes are limited to 30 participants. 

For more information and to make reservations, please call the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at 231-326-5134, extension 328. You may also visit their website at or visit their Facebook and Twitter sites.

Find more on Sleeping Bear Dunes and Northern Michigan attractions on our event calendar!