Long-time cross-country skiers will find miles of trails filled with challenging ascents and thrilling descents.
Most of all, they’ll find a breathtaking view around every bend in the trail. If you’re new to the sport, you’ll find expert instruction, quality rental equipment, and a fun way to stay fit and enjoy the beauty of winter of Northern Michigan.
Anyone who loves the great outdoors is sure to love the snowshoe trails that winds through the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
One of the trails, Bay View, is just steps from the resort’s Village. There are also several other snowshoe trails just a short drive away.
Park rangers say “Let it snow!” so you can explore Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) on snowshoes this winter! On December 28, there will be a holiday hike (snowshoe hike; weather permitting) at 1:00 p.m. Meet at the National Lakeshore’s Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire. Reservations are required.
The first hike of the regular season will be on Saturday, January 9, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. Then, snowshoe hikes will be offered every Saturday at 1:00 p.m. through March 5, 2016. Meet at the National Lakeshore’s Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire. If you don’t have your own, snowshoes will be loaned at no charge. Participants need only purchase the park entrance pass or have an annual pass to join in the fun. Reservations are required whether you need to borrow snowshoes or have your own. Park ranger-led snowshoe hikes have a limit on the number of participants. Please call 231-326-4700, extension 5010, for details and to make reservations. If you make a reservation, but then need to cancel, please call and let us know so we can contact visitors on our waiting list.
Snowshoe hikes are fun for all ages. Inside the visitor center, park rRangers will first provide 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 park 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 until about 3:00 p.m. 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 park ranger-led hikes are mildly strenuous, yet they proceed at a leisurely pace for only one and a half miles at the most. The National Lakeshore is excited to offer programs such as the snowshoe hikes as a way to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS) in 2016. The goal of the NPS Centennial is to connect with and create the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates.
You can ski, hike, or snowshoe straight from The Homestead into the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore using the Bay View Trail which is accessible from the Village.
Lookout Point on the Bay View Trail gives a panoramic view of Lake Michigan and the surrounding countryside. The trail along the edge of the woods on top of the bluff overlooks fields of wildflowers and former farmland with Lake Michigan in the background.
Here are some photos of backcountry skiing just off the Bay View Trail:
The trail includes the Shauger Hill Hiking Trail and the unplowed Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. It offers views of Lake Michigan and the dunes. For your safety, stay back from the edge of the steep bluff. Pets on a 6′ leash may be taken on the unplowed roadway section of the trail, but the Shauger Hill Trail section is a Designated X-Country Ski Trail and Pets are not allowed on this section of the trail between December 1 and March 31.
Ski to the top of the Lake Michigan Overlook and view the winterscape along the Lake Michigan shore. Be careful where you go, because if you fall, you will end up taking a FAST slide to the bottom of the bluff 450 feet below! Not only is the trip down dangerous, but the hike back up the frozen bluff is nearly impossible.
Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive at Sleeping Bear Dunes via NPS Website
The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is certainly a must-do activity when visiting Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This 7.4 mile self-guided auto tour provides the visitor with insight to the history of the area, a sampling of the vegetative communities found within the park and, best of all, spectacular overlooks of the Glen Lakes, the Sleeping Bear Dunes and Lake Michigan. – >> Read More >>
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