“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 handsome 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 outstanding 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 wonderfully 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.
For the ultimate downhill action, head a bit farther north to Mt. Bohemia for some of the most challenging backcountry-style terrain—lots of trees, little grooming—in the Midwest.
For the “sport” of shopping, check out the growing gallery scene in Calumet. The Vertin Art Studio & Gallery showcases the work of more than 70 artists in a showcase of its own: the century-old Vertin Department Store building, a cornerstone of this once-bustling copper-mining community. Today, the gallery sprawls across the large main floor, and artists’ studios occupy the upper levels. Another must do gallery that you'll want to make time to check out is in town is Ed Gray Studio-Gallery.