A Guide to Snowmobiling in Michigan

The opportunities to experience a Pure Michigan Snow Day are endless, but with more than 200,000 registered snowmobiles in the state, according to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, and some of the top ranked trails in the nation a day on the sled is a perfect way to explore the winter scenery.

With more than 6,500 groomed snowmobile trails that stretch from the Keweenaw Peninsula all the way down to Michigan’s southern border, there is ample opportunity for a snowmobile adventure. Along the way you can speed across frozen lakes (be sure to check conditions first), wind through deep forests and stop in snowmobile friendly communities for a hot meal and good company. To get you started with planning your snow day adventure, below are some of the best snowmobile destinations all across the state!
 
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Photo Courtesy of Andy Peninger

 Upper Peninsula

A journey on snowmobile across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula should be on every snowmobile enthusiasts bucket list. There are more than 3,000 miles of groomed trails in the UP alone, many featuring epic views and ideal riding conditions. Get a new perspective of destinations like Tahquamenon Falls State Park and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore from the seat of your sled or make your way to Eben Ice Caves or Grand Island Ice Caves to explore this unique winter phenomenon.
 
Western Upper Peninsula:

Marquette:
  • Marquette is home to a vast trail system, containing 6 groomed trails, and some of the best Pure Michigan snowfall you will find! With lodging options in close proximity to the trails and a plethora of dining options for fuel, including Michigan Made, you will see why Marquette should be on every snowmobiler’s radar.
Paradise: Eastern Upper Peninsula:

Munising:
  • Named a top winter family getaway, Munising is the “Snowmobile Capital of the Midwest!” Alger County’s groomed snowmobile trial system includes 10 trails and covers 300 miles. Not only are the trails vast, they are incredibly scenic with gorgeous forests covered in fresh snowfall. The area also provides plenty of lodging options for an extended winter getaway.
Sault St. Marie
  • The stunning Sault St. Marie is home to over 100 miles of snowmobile trails that connect riders to Newberry, Paradise, Strongs, Pickford, Cedarville AND St. Ignace for an unforgettable eastern Upper Peninsula adventure. The city is also home to Michigan’s premier snowmobile race, International 500 at the 1-500 Snowmobile Race Track.
 
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Lower Peninsula

The Upper Peninsula isn’t the only place for renowned trails. Learn why snowmobilers from all over come to Michigan’s lower peninsula for prime conditions and groomed trails.
 
Northern Lower Peninsula:

Gaylord:
  • Gaylord Michigan is a winter sport paradise because of its location in Northern Lower Michigan’s Snowbelt. The area averages over 180 inches of snowfall annually making for some of the best snowmobiling conditions you can find. In addition to fluffy lake-effect snowfall, you can choose from more than a dozen Gaylord-area lodging options to enjoy days on the trail.
Cadillac:
  • Cadillac has a vast trail system with over 200 miles of groomed trails. The trail system connects north and south, perfect for days on the sled. Trails include the White Pine Trail at Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park. The linear trail is 92 miles long with an 88-mile section open from Cadillac to Grand Rapids.
Southern Lower Peninsula:

Sanilac County:
  • Sanilac is home to 100 miles of meticulously groomed trails, all on private land. Enjoy the “Thumbs Up Snowmobile Trail” and experience the beauty and snowfall of an eastern Michigan winter! When in the area, be sure to enjoy a visit to Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve and the picturesque Port Sanilac Lighthouse.
Allegan County:
  • With glorious lake-effect snowfall, Allegan County’s 98 miles of trails include perfect conditions for a snowmobile adventure. Riders from all over the Midwest venture to Allegan for its prime conditions and beauty. Be sure to check out Allegan’s historic streets and take advantage of the many events the city hosts year round!
 
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Photo Courtesy of Mike Burnett

Snowmobiling Clubs

When it comes to good company, snowmobiling is a sport the whole family can enjoy. Or join one of the 110 snowmobiling clubs throughout the state and your family becomes a whole lot larger.  With fun names like Twisting Trails Sno Braves out of Twin Lakes and the Cheboygan Trailblazers, these clubs provide a social atmosphere, coupled with safety in group rides.
 
The International Snowmobiler Manufacturers Association recommends snowmobile beginners join a local club to learn safety precautions and sled advancements as well as enjoy the social aspects associated with club rides and functions.

Snowmobiling is a fantastic experience for riders of any age or skill level. If you decide to venture out into Michigan's pure beauty, it is sure to be a winter adventure to remember. For more information on snowmobiling safety, visit www.gosnowmobiling.org and for more information on snowmobiling clubs and trail conditions across Michigan, visit www.msasnow.org.
 
Visit http://www.michigan.org/snowmobiling to plan your Pure Michigan snowmobiling snow day.