Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a magical place to visit in the winter months, with activities for every member of the family and fitness level. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula offers a variety of winter activities for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking to embrace the beauty of the snowy season. Here are the top 10 things to do in the Upper Peninsula in the winter:
With the amount of snow that the Upper Peninsula receives, there are many choices when it comes to cross-country skiing trails. Porcupine Mountains Ski Trails, Wolverine Ski Trails, Pictured Rocks Ski Trails, and Tahquamenon Falls Ski Trails are some of the popular options. Grand Marais Ski Trail Map | Munising Ski Trail Map | Porcupines Mountain Ski Trail Map | Tahquamenon Falls Ski Trail Map| Wolverine Ski Trail Map
Snowmobiling is one of the most popular things to do in the Upper Peninsula. The UP has an extensive network of snowmobile trails, making it a top destination for snowmobilers. You can explore the region’s scenic beauty while riding through the snow-covered forests. There are over 3,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails that offer some of the top riding in the world. Michigan Snowmobile Trail Maps | Western Upper Peninsula Trail Map | Eastern Upper Peninsula Trail Map
Experience the tranquility of the winter landscape by snowshoeing through the many trails and forests of the UP. Snowshoeing trails take you to places you cannot go easily in the warm weather. Copper Harbor offers Estivant Pines Sanctuary and Hunter’s Point Park, which are not groomed and range from easy to moderate. Wolverine Ski Trails also has 6 snowshoe trails. Wolverine Snowshoe Trail Map
As soon as the water gets hard on the bays and inland lakes, ice shanty towns pop up until March. You will find a camaraderie that will bring you back every winter. The Upper Peninsula’s many frozen lakes and rivers provide excellent opportunities for ice fishing. Popular targets include walleye, perch, and pike.
Test your grit ice climbing. Climb Lake Superior ice curtains in Munising and Marquette. Plan your trip for early February and you will be in time for the Michigan Ice Fest where you can watch or compete in ice climbing. Munising Ice Climbing Map Marquette & Central U.P. Ice Climbing Map
There are plenty of options for downhill skiing and snowboarding in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Most of the ski resorts are located in the western half of the Upper Peninsula. A quarter of Michigan’s ski resorts are in the Upper Peninsula. With some of the Midwest’s best snow conditions (200+ inches annually) and offer beginner to expert hills. Experience Upper Peninsula skiing at Marquette Mountain, Big Powderhorn Mountain, Mont Ripley at Michigan Tech, Mount Bohemia, Mt. Zion, Pine Mountain, Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park, Ski Brule, Snowriver Mountain Resort and Voodoo Mountain.
Drive or ride in a dog sled:
Experience the thrill of dog sledding. Nature’s Kennel in McMillan Michigan offers Day and overnight adventures. The owners Ed and Tasha compete in races all around the world. Ed is an eight time Iditarod finisher and of course they both compete and have won Marquette’s UP 200 Sled Dog Race.
Attend one of the many winter festivals in the Upper Peninsula. There are festivals for everyone in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Visit Sault Ste. Marie in late January/early February for the I500 Snowmobile Races. In early January you can head to Tahquamenon Falls for the Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race. In Early December Escanaba offers Christmas In the Village, an antique village all decked out with lights and greenery. Negaunee will once again host the Heikki Lunta Winter Festival in February. Heikki Lunta is a Finish snow god of Upper Peninsula mythology and was created in 1970 as part of a snowmobile race. Michigan Technological University in Houghton hosts a Winter Carnival in February celebrating the large amounts of snowfall the U.P. gets. Michigan Ice Fest in the Pictured Rock area Is all about ice. In Early February professional and amateur ice climbers come together for competitions, training clinics, presentations, tours, social activities and more.
Explore the fascinating ice caves and formations along Lake Superior’s shoreline. Lake Superior Ice Cave Tours offer guided tours out of Munising. You can also explore on your own. There are the Eben Ice Caves in the Hiawatha National Forest. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offers easily accessible ice formation for viewing. Visit Munising Visitors Bureau to discover ice formations to explore near Munising. Be sure to check for safety conditions before venturing out.
Remember to dress warmly, as the Upper Peninsula can experience very cold temperatures in the winter. Additionally, check the current weather and trail conditions before heading out, and follow any safety guidelines for the specific activity you choose to pursue.