Here Are 7 of the Best Ways to Explore Michigan Trails

If you ask anyone who calls Pure Michigan home, they’ll tell you there aren’t enough days in a lifetime to explore all of the amazing things the state has to offer. From beaches, lakes, cities, farms, and trails, the Great Lakes state offers an escape unlike any other.

Today, we share some of the many activities you can do while exploring Michigan’s expansive trail system.

1. Hiking

Hiking offers the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with nature and makes for a wonderful family experience. Many of Michigan’s state parks and recreation areas offer designated hiking trails and Michigan Hiking and Backpacking Clubs provide opportunities for group and family hiking experiences.  You can literally hike across the state while exploring more than 200 miles on the Shore-to-Shore Trail that connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. Strap up your hiking boots and go!


Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @JordanHart

2. Biking

Pedal through Michigan’s lush forests and gentle hills on more than 1,300 miles of bike trails across the state. Ride among vibrant wildflowers and swaying trees or enjoy the relaxing breezes as you pedal along scenic lakes and streams. Many trails offer amenities such as restrooms, picnic areas and informational signage. Whether recreational or mountain biking, Michigan has a tour for every cyclist’s interest and comfort level.


Photo Courtesy of the Flint River Corridor Alliance

3. Off-Roading (ORV and ATV)

Rev up your engines and venture out on more than 3,100 miles of ORV trails. Michigan ORV trails run the gamut from twisty, single-tracks to rocky hill climbs to soggy mud bogs, daring dirt bikes, quads and dune buggies to stir up the dirt. If you’re an ORV enthusiast, the Silver Lakes Sand Dunes are a can’t-miss!


Photo Courtesy of Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau

4. Snowmobiling

Can you hear the engines roaring? Whoosh in and out of 6,000 miles of maintained, interconnected trail systems while experience the beauty of a Michigan winter. With an expansive trail system that includes many hidden gems in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan is a snowmobiler’s paradise.


Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @AndyPeninger

5. Equestrian

What better way to enjoy the beauty of Pure Michigan than sitting high atop your favorite horse? Let’s saddle up and ride across towering bridges, wander through converted railroad trails and stride along hundreds of rivers and streams. No matter what level of rider you are or whether you’re looking for a short loop or an extended adventure, Michigan has the perfect trail with riding stables and horses to rent.


Photo Courtesy of Facebook fan Jenni Ritzler Johns

6. Snowshoeing

Snowshoe through the woods, breathing air filled with smells of the forest, hearing nothing but the sound of your own footsteps. Snowshoeing in Michigan offers outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers a respite among picturesque trails and terrains. A silent sport, snowshoeing offers a unique opportunity to meld into your surroundings and feel what ancient cultures must have experienced as snowshoeing is one of the oldest forms of transportation.


Photo Courtesy of D. Kenyon

7. Cross-Country Skiing

Enjoy the peace and tranquility of Michigan’s more than 3,000 miles of cross country ski trails. Distance yourself from the world’s fast pace as the hush of snow-covered landscapes sets the tone for a contemplative, yet invigorating, winter pastime. Cross-Country skiing, along with snowmobiling and snowshoeing, is a great way to get out of the house to avoid the winter blues.

What do you love most about Michigan trails? Share with us by commenting below!

Pure Michigan’s Wonderful Winter Activities

Jesse Land, a native Yooper, runs the U.P. travel site “Things to do in the U.P.” ( Today on our blog, he shares his favorite winter activities to enjoy in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Are you looking for things to do in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the winter? Well, look no further! Following are a few excellent winter activities that range from a mildly adventurous spectator sport to something even the most daring outdoorspeople will enjoy!

Experience the Pine Mountain Ski Jumps

The Pine Mountain Ski Jumps are truly an event to behold, and something I believe everyone should take in at least once in their lifetime. Each February, thousands of spectators cluster around the base of Iron Mountain’s Giant Pine Mountain ski jump to watch some of the best jumpers in the world compete in this Continental Cup tournament.

Charcoal grills and bonfires abound in what could be Michigan’s largest tail gating event, as the jumper’s soar several hundred feet through the air with each try. And with the newly completed Pine Mountain stairs, watching the jumpers whoosh by at over sixty miles an hour will be easier than ever.

The hillside stairs are open to the public during the event so it’s quite easy to get closer to the action that you may have thought possible. All in all, you’ll likely leave the event muttering something along the lines of “who knew we had something like this right here in Michigan?”

Ski or Snowshoe at Fumee Lake Natural Area

Michigan is full of wonderful opportunities for cross country skiing and snowshoeing, with many of them not far from our respective backyards. One such place is the Fumee Lake Natural Area.

Fumee Lake offers a variety of trails, but the most popular are the “Little Fumee Lake Loop” and the “Big Fumee Lake Loop.” As their names imply, both trails circle one of the area’s two lakes, with the little loop measuring 1.35 miles and the big loop coming in at about 5.2 miles.

Because the 1,808 acre natural area only allows silent sports, you can find peace and quiet there all winter long.  In fact, it’s not uncommon to spend a few hours on the Fumee Lake trail system and not see another soul.

Go Ice Climbing at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Did you know that some of the best ice climbing in the world is right here in the Upper Peninsula? Yes, that’s right, I said ice climbing! Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore may be a thriving destination for tourists in the summer months, with families packing the lakeside campgrounds and sunset boat cruises, but in the winter the area is certainly no less beautiful.

Giant walls of ice form along many of the area’s rock faces (as well as on Grand Island), and the much photographed waterfalls of Pictured Rocks freeze over, becoming some of the most excellent and easily accessible ice climbs in the Midwest.

And fortunately, the barriers to entry for this crazy cool sport may not be as difficult as you’d think! Just call Down Wind Sports’ Marquette location at (906) 226-7112 and book one of their “Ice Climbing 101” trips. The cost is $99 per person and includes instruction and gear rental.

Ski Big Powderhorn Mountain

Our friends at do an excellent job of describing each of Michigan’s wonderful ski locations, so I’m going to borrow their description of Big Powderhorn Mountain…

“Located in the western Upper Penninsula of Michigan, Big Powderhorn Mountain is ranked as one of the Top 5 Resorts in the Midwest.  Combine an average of 17 plus feet of natural snowfall, a good mix of well maintained terrain and you have an exceptional winter getaway.

Big Powderhorn offers a variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders alike, with an excellent mix of trails for the novice to advanced.  With its Bavarian style village, Big Powderhorn boasts such features and amenities that are only found at larger western resorts.  Ticket and rental prices vary depending on the time of year.  However, check with the resort before planning your trip as promotions and great deals are offered throughout the year.”

In summary, as you can see, Michigan is host to a myriad of awesome winter activities. And these are just the tip of the iceberg! To learn more things to do in the Upper Peninsula, “like” my “Things to do in the U.P.” Facebook Page and plug into the action!

A native Yooper, Jesse Land lives in Iron Mountain and enjoys hiking, biking, boating, and camping with his family. He runs the U.P. travel site “Things to do in the U.P.” (