This winter, bundle the kids up and head outside. These seven Northern Michigan sledding hills and ski slopes range from gentle descents to hair-raising verticals. Whether you’re taking the kids for the first time, looking for a lit hill for nighttime fun or need loaner equipment, you’ll find it here. Remember to wear a helmet, especially if you’re shredding the jumps, and hold tight!
With wide open areas and no trees in the middle of your path, this is a great spot to take your beginning sledders, but it’s also steep, and those who love to go fast can get some serious speed. (Note: The Dune Climb is the only place in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore where you can sled.)
The park on Arbutus Road has a perfect hill for easy riders; it’s not too steep but has enough trees at the bottom to make things exciting. There’s plenty of parking, hiking trails and playground equipment.
Winter Sports Park | Petoskey
This hill works well for little ones (if you go halfway up) and is good spot for beginner skiers and snowboarders, too. And if you get tired of being a speed demon, for $5 you can rent ice skates and glide along the 170×300-foot rink that’s resurfaced daily. A warming house with a fireplace, restrooms and concessions make this a premium spot to spend a snowy day or night (the place is lit!).
McSauba is also lit for night sledding, plus parents can chill with their Wi-Fi gadgets in the viewing lounge. It’s a bonus that it happens to look out over Lake Charlevoix.
Kiwanis Hill | Harbor Springs
This hill boasts some of the best vertical, along with sled-shredding jumps along the edge of the woods, great walking trails that circle the property and a warming hut available for rent (dirt cheap rent, we might add). Located just blocks from downtown at the end of Arbor Street.
Avalanche Mountain Preserve | Boyne City
Loaner sleds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The hill is plenty big enough to elicit screams on the way down, and the warming house will let you stay all day without fear of frostbite. Once you’re tired of sledding, head over to the ice rink for more fun (skates are free!).
Find a Nearby Resort in the Ski Directory
Don’t mind paying a few bucks and happen to hate the walk back up the hill? Check out the tubing facilities at resorts like Shanty Creek, Treetops, Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands. Tow ropes will pull you back up these extreme sled spots, where helmets are a must.