Play detective and get up close and personal with nature like never before this winter. From a guided hike to three of our favorite family-friendly trails, these snowshoe adventures are for all.

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A short and sweet snowshoe hike ideal for your sweets-loving short stuffs, the February 11 hike at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park in Mackinaw City invites families to follow resident naturalist Kyle Bagnall in a search for signs of winter wildlife: singing snowbirds, frosty tracks, cozy hidey-holes, and—if you’re, uh … lucky—fresh scat! With two hours to cover two miles along the creek and through the North Woods, young Sherlocks will have plenty of time to poke around and play, but there’s a good incentive to keep ’em trekking: a post-walk bonfire in a forest clearing where s’mores await. Admission is by donation. Meet in the parking lot by 2 p.m., and BYO snowshoes (or boots, if no snow).

3 More Winter Stomping Grounds to Explore

Jeff Lamont Preserve: First-timers love this .15-mile hike near Northport because its flat trail slips alongside magical stands of hemlock and cattails—and allows pets on leashes.

Oden Preserve: Hard to believe this old-growth forest on Crooked Lake could have been razed for a 34-unit subdivision, but thanks to Little Traverse Conservancy, it’s now a 50-acre wetland wonder-land with a 1-mile loop.

Pyatt Lake: This lovely little .75-mile loop of wooded dune and swale on Old Mission Peninsula holds a secret lake (and cool overlook).

Pyatt Lake

Photo by Dave Weidner