Michigan is a beautiful state during the winter, and it offers some of the best places to cross country ski in the country. Cross country skiing in the Upper Peninsula is not only a fun activity that you can do alone, with friends, or even with your family, but it is a great opportunity to connect with nature while getting some exercise.
Michigan offers about 3,000 miles of gorgeous trails for cross country skiing and some of those miles stretch across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Cross country ski trails can be found in national and state forests, state, county, and local parks across the Upper Peninsula. Trails lead to waterfalls, ice caves, and picturesque overlooks. Trails are clearly marked with directional markers and levels of difficulty. During the summer, several of these paths may be utilized for mountain biking and hiking.
Below is a detailed list of some of the best places for cross country skiing in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Cross Country Skiing on Mackinac Island
Throughout the winter months, the entire north and east sides of Mackinac Island are available for cross-country skiing and even have ski lessons as well as ski equipment rental to offer.
There are always five to ten miles of groomed cross country ski trails on any given day for cross country skiing that are parallel tracks with varying degrees of difficulty levels and open paths as well for skate skiing.
Twilight Turtle Trek
There is even a popular cross country ski and snowshoe event that happens annually, complete with beautiful trails lit up with lanterns. The event is called Mackinac Island Turtle Trek and takes place throughout January, February, and March and offers two miles worth of light-twinkling paths for you to ski on.
Upper Falls Winter Activities at Tahquamenon Falls
From snowshoeing and hiking to cross-country skiing, there are plenty of fun winter activities to do at Tahquamenon Falls during the winter months. The groomed trails that are located around the Upper Falls are always pretty easily accessible and are even very well-marked.
Since the entrance to the park, as well as the parking lot, is very well maintained throughout the winter season, you will have easy access to the main trailhead.
Algonquin Cross-Country Ski
The Algonquin Ski Trail is located in the Eastern Upper Peninsula and is headed up by the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). It is a beautiful, groomed trail that offers plenty of trees, wildlife, and snow-covered hills.
It opens in November and the last day of grooming is around February 25th every year. It is located in the Lake Superior State Forest and is a community trail.
The nine-mile pathway was constructed by DNR in 1987 and sports lighting throughout so you can ski at nighttime. The first loop offers 1.6 miles of illuminated trail that provides plenty of fun for adults and children as well.
The ABR Ski Area is not only a full-service ski touring center that is located in Ironwood, Michigan, but it offers miles of trails across varied terrain for cross country skiing. The path offers plenty of scenic views along with the Montreal River and a cabin is located on the site as well as a retail ski shop.
Equipment rentals are available as well as ski lessons in the paths are groomed daily with state-of-the-art grooming equipment. This Upper Peninsula cross-country ski trail opens daily at 9:00 AM from November until the first day of April.
Peek-A-Boo Hill Ski Trail
The Peek-A-Boo Hill Ski Trail is situated near Cedarville, Michigan, and is under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. A group has garnered some more of this property recently and is set to become larger in the future but currently offers is 5.5 kilometers of groomed trails in the Cedar Forest.
The Les Cheneaux Nordic Ski Club maintains the paths for visitors during the winter months. This is a great place to learn to ski or to hone your skills and is definitely family-friendly with plenty of beautiful scenery to take in as you cross-country ski.
The Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan contains about 100 km of groomed cross country trails across many locations. Both Michigan Tech and Swedetown feature lighted trails for evening skiing and offer others that are groomed for both skate skiing and classic Nordic skiing.
Michigan Tech, Swedetown, Chassell, and Maasto Hiihto/Churning Rapids participate in a joint annual membership program.
Swedetown Trails is located near Calumet, Michigan, and offers 35 kilometers of groomed ski trails. There are five kilometers of trails that are very well lit so you can take advantage of some night skiing while visiting the Swedetown Recreation Area.
This area encompasses a total of 1,900 acres of rolling hills and woodland that are groomed for many different types of adventures throughout the trails. There is even a gorgeous Chalet on the property that offers restrooms, so these trails are definitely family-friendly and fun for skiers of all skill levels.
Mount Bohemia Cross Country Ski Trails
The Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan receives an average of 273 inches of snow every year. Mount Bohemia features 12 kilometers of cross-country skiing in addition to the Midwest’s largest back-country glade and only triple black runs.
More Ski Trails in the Keweenaw
Additional Keweenaw trails locations include:
- Chassell Classic (Chassell)
- Keweenaw Mountain Lodge (Copper Harbor)
- Michigan Tech (Houghton)
- Churning Rapids/Maasto Hiihto Trails (Hancock)
- Swedetown (Calumet)
- Copper Harbor Pathway (Copper Harbor)
- Eagle Harbor Ski Trail (Eagle Harbor)
- Twin Lakes State Park (Toivola)
- McLain State Park Trails (Calumet)
- Nara Nature Park (Houghton/Chassell)
- Fort Wilkins State Park (Copper Harbor)
Wolverine Nordic Ski Trails
Wolverine Nordic Ski Trails in Ironwood has 24 kilometers of ski trails, including various loops for classic and skate skiing. There are 14 kilometers of marked snowshoe trails and seven kilometers of snow bike trails.
Lake Effect snow tends to arrive earlier, pile deeper, and remain longer in this location than it does elsewhere in the Midwest. Trails for all skill level of classic skiing, snowshoeing, and snow biking are available on the rolling terrain.
The historic wooden ski jump structure that was part of the club’s early operations can be seen from the warming chalet. During the ski season, the chalet is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and serves cookies and hot chocolate.
Miners Memorial Heritage Park
The Miners Memorial Heritage Park is built on the reclaimed site of iron mines that supplied the metal for America’s industrial revolution in the late 1800s and early 1900s!
The moonscape left by the closure of the mines known as the “caves” in the mid-twentieth century was reclaimed by nature and is now 165 acres of woodlands, trails, and year-round community activities near Ironwood, Michigan.
In the winter months, Miners Trail is groomed for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
Fayette State Historic Park
Glide around this old ghost town on the Garden Peninsula, where you can observe buildings that were once iron-smelting facilities and kilns. A 1.5-mile trail along the bluff gives vistas of Lake Michigan and the white cliffs that tower over Snail Harbor, among the five miles of cross-country ski trails. To visit the park, you’ll need an annual Recreation Passport or a day permit.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
23 miles of groomed cross-country ski tracks are set among a 60,000-acre wilderness along the shore of Lake Superior. The trail pass contains a customized lift ticket that provides cross-country skiers with quick access to the trails on the alpine ski area’s backside. Children under the age of 12 ski for free. Trailside cabins, equipment rentals, a ski store, a warming lodge, two trailside warming shelters, and a café are all available at the park.
Noquemanon Trail Network
The Noquemanon Trail Network is a 45-kilometer network of trails with numerous trailheads. Some have described the Noquemanon trails as “one of the most beautiful courses I’ve ever skied,” “never dull,” and “deceptively tough.” The Noquemanon trails range from gently rolling hills and flat lake crossings to demanding climbs and adrenaline-pumping descents.
More Trails for Cross Country Skiing in the Upper Peninsula
In addition to the Upper Peninsula cross country ski trails highlighted above, the following are the most popular trails for cross country skiing in the Upper Peninsula, arranged by county:
ALGER COUNTY (Munising, Grand Marais, Christmas, AuTrain)
- Bruno’s Run
- Buckhorn Ski Trail
- Grand Marais Ski Trails
- Hiawatha Ski Trail
- McKeever Hills
- Munising Ski Trails
- Cross Country Ski Trails in the Pictured Rocks from Grand Marais to Munising
BARAGA COUNTY (Baraga, L’Anse)
- Pinery Lake Ski Trails
CHIPPEWA COUNTY (Sault Ste. Marie, Paradise, DeTour)
- Algonquin Ski Trails
- Paradise Pathway
- Pine Bowl Pathway
- DeTour Pathway
- Drummond Island Ski Trails
DELTA COUNTY (Escanaba, Gladstone, Rapid River)
- City of Escanaba
- Escanaba River State Forest
- Fayette State Park
- Gladstone Sports Park
- Days River Pathway
- Rapid River Ski Trails
DICKINSON COUNTY (Iron Mountain, Norway, Sagola)
- Fumee Lake Natural Area
- Gene’s Pond
- Iron Mountain City Park
- Lake Antoine
- Lake Mary Plains
GOGEBIC COUNTY (Bessemer, Ironwood, Lake Gogebic, Wakefield, Watersmeet)
- ABR Ski Trails
- Lake Gogebic State Park
- Milje’s Ski Trails
- Mt. Zion
- River Falls Trails
- Sylvania Wilderness
- Wolverine Hill Trail
HOUGHTON COUNTY (Houghton, Hancock, Chassell, Calumet)
- Chassell Classic
- Maasto Hiihto
- McLain State Park
- Michigan Tech Trails
- Old Grade Trail
- Swedetown Pathway
IRON COUNTY (Iron River, Crystal Falls)
- Lake Mary Plains Pathway
- George Young Recreational Complex
- Bewabic State Park
KEWEENAW COUNTY (Copper Harbor)
- Copper Harbor Pathway
- Fort Wilkins State Park
LUCE COUNTY (Newberry)
- Canada Lakes Pathway
- Lake Superior State Forest
- Natural Area Pathway
- Tahquamenon Falls State Park
MACKINAC COUNTY (Mackinac Island, Curtis, Les Cheneaux Islands)
- All Mackinac Island roads and trails are open to cross-country skiing.
- Curtis Area Trails
- Les Cheneaux Area
- Sand Dunes Ski Trail
- St. Martin Cross-Country Ski Trail
- Manilak Resort Ski Trail
- Sprang Road Ski Trail
MARQUETTE COUNTY (Marquette, Ishpeming, Negaunee)
- Al Quaal Recreation Area
- Anderson Lake Pathway
- Black River Pathway
- Blueberry Ridge Pathway
- Cleveland Location Trails
- Kivela Road Park Ski Trail
- Longyear Ski Trail
- Maple Lane X-C Ski Area
- Marquette Fit Strip
- National Mine Biathlon Area
- Negaunee Township Touring Trail
- Nequemanon Trails Network
- Presque Isle Park Trails
- Silver Creek Trails
- Snowtrac Trails in Ishpeming
MENOMINEE COUNTY (Cedar River, Menominee)
- Cedar River Pathway
- Henes Park Trail
- J.W. Wells State Park
ONTONAGON COUNTY (Ontonagon, Mass City, Bergland)
- Gogebic Ridge Trail
- Ottawa National Forest
- Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
SCHOOLCRAFT COUNTY (Manistique, Seney, Germfask)
- Ashford Lake Pathway
- Indian Lake Cross-Country Ski Trail
- Northern Hardwoods Cross Country Ski Area
- Seney National Wildlife Refuge