The Great Lakes Winter Trails Council calls Northern Lower Michigan “The Heart of Cross Country Skiing in the USA” for good reason. The top of the “Mitten” is a Nordic ski destination thanks to the trails, classes and equipment available at several resorts and independent X-C ski locations. This is the home of Cross Country Ski Headquarters near Roscommon, nationally recognized experts in the sport that opened in 1974. You’ll find 10 miles of groomed trails, an extensive selection of winter wear and skis in the shop, and good food to enjoy around the warming stone fireplace. Check the calendar for details on Learn to Ski Free introductory classes, Silver Streak Week January 17-21, and special food events.
The Grayling area is home to the Hanson Hills Recreation Area with hills for skiing and snowboarding as well as more than 35 km of X-C trails groomed daily. Nearby, Forbush Corner in Frederic offers three levels of groomed trails, from the easy “Pancake” to the Perimeter 12 km route and challenging 7 km “Rollercoaster” and 1 km “Screamer.”
Corsair Ski Trails cross the Huron National Forest near Lake Huron in the Tawas area. Enjoy scenic outings on 56 km of groomed, interconnecting trails, or head to the Highbanks area for backcountry touring on ski or snowshoe.
For a full-service X-C ski getaway check out the cross country skiing at resorts in both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
While the Western Upper Peninsula is known for its downhill ski hills and nickname of Big Snow Country for the 200 inches of white stuff that falls each season, there’s also great X-C skiing and snowshoeing across the U.P. This is the place to get off the groomed trails and make your way through spectacularly quiet and scenic beauty of this remote territory.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore along Lake Superior grooms 21 miles of trails near Munising and Grand Marais, and snowshoers are welcome to explore most of the park’s 33,000 acres. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan is open year round, and offers X-C skiing on several designated but ungroomed trails. Snowshoers can venture on their own or take ranger-guided hikes on Saturday afternoons. In addition, many Michigan State Parks offer trails for X-C skiing and snowshoeing.