Snowshoeing can take you places in winter that might not make the top of your summer lists because they’re too crowded or buggy. Winter also reveals new vistas once the forest’s canopy has been drawn aside. Here’s a variety of views and snowshoe trails to inspire your winter adventure.
Good Harbor Beach, Leland | Easy
The road to 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 on the side of the road near the intersection of M-22 and County Road 651. Using your own snowshoes, follow the seasonal 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 eerie 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 Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore pass.
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 at the Art Park trailhead. The Art Park is open year-round during daylight hours and snowshoers are welcome every day. Admission is $5 per person and free for children—deposit in the green donation pipe located just through the gateway structure at the trailhead. Snowshoes are available for rent at Crystal Mountain’s Park at Water’s Edge.
Note: Guided snowshoe hikes are available every Sunday in January—$5 per adult and complimentary for youth 17 and under with paying adult. Reservations are not required. The January 28 tour will be led by special guest guides: Aimé Merizon of the Benzie Conservation District and regional forester Kama Ross. These expert nature guides will demonstrate tree identification and animal tracking for more ways visitors can enhance their Art Park experience. Meet at the Art Park trailhead at 2:30 p.m. and be prepared for current weather conditions. Tours last about an hour and a half.
Pyramid Point, Glen Arbor | Advanced
Pyramid Point is stunning in the summer. Now cover it in snow and you have a totally different, but equally beautiful, landscape. This trail is a bit of a challenge because of a steep hill near the end; you might want snowshoes that are more sophisticated than Grandpa’s old-fashioned tennis-racquet cousins. This is another trail where you’ll need a Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore pass.
Note: Guided snowshoe hikes are offered every Saturday on various trails in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore beginning the first weekend of January. All hikes will begin at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire at 1 p.m. Call the Visitor Center at 231.326.4700, ext. 5010 to make a reservation. Rangers will first provide basic snowshoeing instructions and then everyone will travel by car to a specific trailhead.