Calling All Trailblazers

Trail BlazingAre you in the mood for speed, exhilaration and excitement? Go ahead, rev up those engines and head for Michigan's snowmobile trails. With nearly six million acres of state and federal lands and hundreds of miles of private trails, Michigan offers snowmobilers plenty of options to enjoy the great outdoors this winter.

Michigan is known by snowmobilers nationwide for its unique combination of abundant and dependable snow, exciting terrain and extensive trail network. More than 6,100 miles of designated snowmobile trails are located throughout the state in six state forests, three national forests and many acres of privately owned lands. Michigan is one of only three states that offer a large system of interconnected snowmobile trails.

Before you head out be sure to check snow trail conditions. Never been on a snowmobile but want to try it this winter? There are several snowmobile rental companies throughout the state. One of the best ways to get started in the sport is with Michigan's nearly 140 snowmobile clubs for group trips, safety classes and special events. Some clubs have private clubhouses to warm up before and after the ride. Contact the Michigan Snowmobile Association for details.

For snowmobile registration, permits, safety tips, and a Michigan snowmobile guide, visit the Michigan DNR snowmobile information page.

Cool things to see and do places to stay and good eats off the trail in Michigan's Upper Peninsula: 

Things to Do... 

Falling Rock Cafe and Bookstore
Books old, new and out of print crowd the shelves of this Munising shop. Grab a mug of custom roasted Great Lakes Coffee and browse through local jewelry, photography and other art. Enjoy live music on Wednesday and Saturday evenings.  

Lakenenland Sculpture Park
A stop at this free sculpture park on snowmobile trail 417 between Marquette and Munising surprises with 4050 scrap metal sculptures, a roaring fire with visitors huddled about and hot cocoa in the trailside shelter.  

Marquette Mountain
Several runs, including 600-foot verticals, backcountry area and the appropriately named Free Fall Trail, cater to every level of skier and snowboarder. Attentive staff get first-timers down the slopes in no time. 

Great eats off the trail - Courtesy of Midwest Living MagazinePlaces to Eat... 

Brownstone Inn
The roadside stone cottage provides a rarity in Au Train (12 miles west of Munising): An affordably delicious restaurant with variety. Opt for the Laughing Whitefish Salad or a juicy Brownstone Burger for lunch. Step it up at dinner with a bacon-wrapped tenderloin or chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese, cream cheese honey ham, sundried tomatoes and basil. 

Casa Calabria
Cheesy lobster ravioli and traditional Gorgonzola salad topped with tenderloin give this Marquette restaurant the rights to their title: best Italian in Marquette County. Order up dishes family-style or choose a pizza or sandwich from the extensive menu. 

Sydneys Restaurant
Aboriginal stencil designs, boomerangs and Aussie memorabilia bring a little bit of Australia to Munising. Stop in for the dinner buffet brimming with chicken, ribs, whitefish, soup and salad. 

Places to Stay...  

Holiday Inn Express
The panoramic views of Munising Bay, Grand Island and Pictured Rocks from these rooms are hard to beat. Conveniently located off of Highway M-28 and snowmobile trail 417, this Munising hotel offers an indoor pool, complimentary breakfast and sled rental. 

The Landmark Inn
This Inn has history as the crown jewel of Marquette, but its nostalgic atmosphere is not short of modern amenities such as high speed internet, cable television and access to Northern Michigan Universitys fitness center with a pool, saunas and indoor climbing. 

Superior Motel
Pine touches and North Woods decor create a homey retreat in Munising. The friendly staff is welcoming and helpful with plenty of maps and brochures on hand for travelers. Take a piece of the UP home with souvenirs from the on-site gift shop.