Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) is gearing up for winter. This holiday season, ranger-led snowshoe hikes will be offered on Wednesday, December 26 and Friday, December 28 at 1 p.m. The regular Saturday snowshoe hikes start on January 5 at 1 p.m. and continue each Saturday through March 23.

Everyone will meet at the National Lakeshore’s Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire. Reservations are required. Please call 231.326.4700, extension 5010, for details and to reserve your spot. If there is not enough snow, a winter hike will be offered.

Snowshoe hike at Treat Farm

Snowshoes will be available for free to participants who do not have their own. The hikes are free, but participants need a park entrance pass or an annual pass to join in the fun. Note, reservations are required whether participants borrow snowshoes from the National Lakeshore or have their own. To cancel a reservation, please call so visitors on the waiting list can be contacted.

Snowshoe hikes are fun for all ages. Inside the visitor center, rangers will first provide an introduction and 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 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 for about two hours. 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 ranger-led hikes are mildly strenuous, yet they proceed at a leisurely pace for 1.5 miles at the most.

—Press release provided by the National Lakeshore

Northern Michigan Outdoors

Photo(s) by National Lakeshore