“Over the river and through the wood” is more than an old song lyric in the Western Upper Peninsula; it’s an invigorating way to explore the region’s tufted snowy hills and deep river valleys. Do it the old fashioned way with Winterwind Sleigh Rides in Ironwood. A team of Percheron draft horses will pull you through forest and meadow on an authentic logging sleigh. You’ll stop along the way for a glowing bonfire and finish up the 45-minute ride with hot mulled cider in a cozy northwoods barn.
South of Ironwood, glide over 60 kilometers of meticulously groomed trails (for skating and striding) at ABR Trails. With 1,100 acres of varied terrain along the Montreal River, this facility has everything you need—rentals, lessons, wax benches, showers, saunas, even slopeside lodging. There’s a separate 10-kilometer network of snowshoe trails, too.
Another great snowshoe trail winds along the Black River, from near Bessemer north to the river’s mouth at Lake Superior. Access the trail from the Black River Scenic Byway to tromp along the often-frozen waterfalls of this tumultuous river. Stay nearby at the rustic Bear Track Cabins hidden under the hemlocks.
You can also count on reliably deep and regular snows in the Keweenaw Peninsula. Nordic skiers will find well-marked and groomed trails at the Tech Trails in Houghton, Maasto Hiihto in Hancock, and the Swedetown trails in Calumet. Get maps and information on all these trails and others at Keweenaw Trails.
For fearless downhill enthusiasts, head a bit farther north to Mount Bohemia for some of the most challenging backcountry-style terrain—lots of trees, little grooming—in the Midwest.