Each winter, the Northern Michigan outdoors transforms into an inviting snow-covered playground. The beautiful terrain and an extensive trail network make the area a favorite for Northern Michigan snowmobile riders. With trails connecting Cadillac to Frankfort, Manton to Mackinaw City, and St. Ignace to Marquette, sledheads can go out for an afternoon trip or a weekend getaway.
For those who love powder, here are some of the best Northern Michigan snowmobile trails, rentals, and hubs in five counties in the Northern Lower Peninsula.
The county is home to sprawling national forest, a rolling topography that boasts some of Michigan’s highest hills and ridges, beautiful inland lakes, and a stretch of rivers. The gorgeous terrain makes for some spectacular snowmobiling.
- White Pine Trail: Stretching 92 miles from the north end of Grand Rapids to Cadillac, the trail connects more than 15 communities. It’s open to snowmobiles once it has 6 inches or more of snow.
- Lost Pines Lodge, Harrietta
- Crossroads Grill, Harrietta
- Coyote Crossing, Cadillac
- Bucksnort Saloon, Mesick
With miles of freshwater shoreline, gorgeous beaches, inland lakes, rivers, forest land and farmland, Grand Traverse County is a beautiful destination for riders.
- Blue Sky Snowmobile Rentals, Traverse City
- Snowblitz Snowmobile Rentals, Traverse City (delivery available to Mancelona, Cadillac, Kalkaska)
- Boardman Valley Trail: The beautiful 80-mile network goes through cedar and pine forests and along the Boardman River.
- Jordan Valley Trail: Explore over 130 miles of trails near Shanty Creek and the village of Bellaire.
Antrim County offers a mix of Great Lake shoreline, turquoise inland lakes, hardwood hills, rolling farm meadows and winding valleys. When covered in snow, the landscape is stunning.
- Mancelona Motel, Mancelona
- Blue Bear Trail: The Blue Bear takes riders near Alba and south into Kalkaska County.
Otsego County is filled with pines, hardwood forests, and inland lakes offering plenty of beautiful riding opportunities.
- Alpine Snowmobile Rentals, Gaylord
- DerMiner’s Parkside Market Snowmobile Rentals, Gaylord
- Benjamin’s Beaver Creek Resort, Gaylord
- North Central State Trail: Running from Gaylord to Mackinaw City, the trail stretches north for 62 groomed miles through the forest, farms, and villages. It’s open to snowmobiling December 1 through March 31.
The county is filled with outdoor recreation opportunities and beautiful terrain. With access to Gaylord State Forest Area, Pigeon River Country State Forest Area, inland lakes, and Lake Huron shoreline, you’ll find plenty of places to ride to.
- North Eastern State Trail: The 71-mile trail goes from Alpena to Cheboygan. It goes through several communities and near state parks though it is remote in other areas.
- Black Mountain Lodge, Cheboygan
Locals know best. For a look inside snowmobile small towns like Cadillac and Mancelona, read “Waypoint, Sledder Highway,” which was originally published in the January 2014 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.
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