The luge is one of the most iconic sporting events at the Winter Olympics, but it’s also one of the most mysterious. Where do you go if you want to become a luger? For Michiganders, the answer may be surprising — the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park.
That’s right! One of only four luge tracks in the United States is located near the shores of Lake Michigan in Muskegon. Formerly known as the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, it’s an all-season attraction that offers so much more than a luge track.
This outdoor theme park of sorts offers a variety of recreational activities designed for people of all ages and skill levels to enjoy. Here’s a deep dive into everything you should know one of the best winter things to do in Michigan.
Muskegon’s Hidden Gem: The Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park
Nestled in West Michigan, Muskegon has long been a haven for people who love the natural beauty of the Mitten State. In the summer, it’s known for pristine beaches and gorgeous weather. In the winter, lake effect snow makes it perfect for building snowmen or going skiing or snowshoeing.
However, many people don’t realize that one of the best attractions in the region is tucked away inside the boundaries of Muskegon State Park. In addition to the park’s many hiking trails and beaches, there’s the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park.
This facility has grown from an outdoor recreational center. It’s perfect for enjoying cold weather activities and is an all-seasons attraction that offers fun for the entire family, no matter what month of the year it is.
Wintertime at the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park
Given that several inches of snow almost always cover Muskegon State Park, the winter season is one of the most popular times to visit the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park. While it’s perhaps most famous for its winding winter luge track, it also features a variety of other activities.
Visitors have the opportunity to ski along groomed cross-country ski trails that wind throughout the state park. These trails are known for being gentle, so they’re the ideal option for people of all skill levels. In addition, the trails are lighted, so you can use them into the late evening hours of dark winter days.
The park boasts more than 2 acres of natural ice, including an ice rink and lighted ice skating trails. Given the size of the ice skating rink, it’s hailed as one of the best places to learn how to skate in the area. In fact, it’s one of the best outdoor ice skating rinks in Michigan.
Also, there are designed areas of the rink for pond hockey, and rental equipment is available for those who want to start a pickup game with other visitors in the park. The lighted trail is a peaceful experience that can be enjoyed during daylight hours or after dark.
There are four distinct snowshoe trails at the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park, all of which offer spectacular views and a thrilling experience. Some of the marked hiking loops are better for beginners, while others are more challenging for those who have more experience with the sport.
Holiday Zip Line
For a very limited time, the park opens up its summertime zip line experience for those who want to “Zip Into the New Year.” This fun experience is typically only available during the final days of December, and it’s recommended that you buy zip line tickets in advance if you are interested in sailing above Muskegon.
Adaptive Winter Experiences
One of the hallmarks of this innovative sports complex is the fact that it offers accessible activities for people with disabilities. During the winter, the adaptive luge track and ice sled experience is available.
The adaptive luge track features modifications for people who have visual or hearing impairments, and special equipment allows people with limited lower body mobility to use the track.
The ice sled experience gives people of all ages with limited lower body mobility the opportunity to glide along the ice skating rink in a fun and safe way.
Summertime Fun at the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park
At one time, the park was the place to be only during the snowiest season of the year. To expand its offerings and give locals an opportunity to stay active all year long, the park added adventurous outdoor activities all year long, including the summer.
Known as the Dune Top Dual Zip Line, this experience begins at the top of a glittering Michigan sand dune. It takes you on a ride over 1,400 feet of white pine forest, allowing you to see the beauty of this region from above.
The fact that it’s a dual zip line makes the adventure even more memorable. You can enjoy a friendly competition with a family member or friend.
Generally speaking, the luge is a wintertime sport. In Muskegon, though, you can enjoy a one-of-a-kind wheel luge experience.
It’s the only track of its kind in North America, and it gives you the chance to ride on a luge sled — only it has been modified to include in-line wheels. The wheel luge track was designed by an Olympian, so it’s sure to be a first-rate experience.
Visitors to the park can enroll in a beginner archery course. It’s the perfect way to learn more about the sport and begin to develop your skills.
Adaptive Summer Experiences
With a commitment to universal accessibility, the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park offers adaptive sports during the summer season as well. The adaptive zip line is equipped with an “easy seat” that can be used by anyone who doesn’t have lower body mobility.
This feature allows them to comfortably enjoy the thrilling ride. Additionally, equipment is available to transport individuals to the top of the dune and to pick them up when their experience is finished.
The park features adaptive hiking equipment too, including an all-terrain track chair that can be used during all seasons on the trails and beaches. This innovative approach to accessibility makes this one of the most welcoming and inclusive outdoor destinations in Michigan.
About the Muskegon Luge Track
The Muskegon Luge Track is really one of the only luge tracks of its kind in the country. For starters, there are only four luge courses in the United States, and this one is one of the few that is created with first-timers in mind.
While other luge tracks are designed specifically for skilled Olympians to practice the sport and hone their skills, this one is created for anyone to use. As a result, it’s appealing to local residents and visitors who simply want to learn more about the sport.
On top of that, the track is the only artificial track that’s made from natural ice and isn’t refrigerated in order to maintain it. It truly provides an authentic experience. Here are a few more facts worth noting about this track:
- Participants are given all of the equipment that they need to safely enjoy the track.
- Participants receive in-depth training before they try out the course.
- Participants may reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour on the track.
- The track includes two different starting areas as well as six curves.
Lodging Near the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park
Visitors from both near and far come to Muskegon to experience this unique outdoor attraction. Because of that, several lodging options are available nearby. The most popular types of lodging near the Muskegon Luge Adventure Park include:
- Hotels — Muskegon is home to several hotels that are located within driving distance of the park, including The Pidge Inn and the Shoreline Inn and Conference Center.
- Vacation Rentals — Muskegon is home to many vacation rentals, largely because there are many Michiganders who own second properties near Lake Michigan. Many people looking to visit the park book homes on Airbnb or VRBO.
- Campgrounds — Camping is another popular option, although most campgrounds aren’t open during the winter. One of the most popular campgrounds in Muskegon is the Muskegon KOA.
The Best Places to Eat Near the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park
The Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park features a heated sports lodge that includes a fireplace warming area and food concessions. If you’re looking to enjoy a meal before you begin your day or after you leave the park, you may want to try some of the local restaurants in Muskegon.
Hearthstone Bistro is a cozy American restaurant that has earned a reputation for having some of the best food in the city. It’s the perfect place to satisfy your hunger after a day of outdoor fun.
Another popular spot to grab a meal is the 794 Kitchen and Bar, which is best described as a casual restaurant with a pub-like atmosphere. If you’re searching for burgers and sandwiches with an innovative twist, this is the place to go.
Nearby Attractions and Things to Do in Muskegon
While it would be easy to spend all of your time outdoors at the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park, keep in mind that there are other things to see and do in Muskegon. Simply soaking up the beautiful views of Lake Michigan from Pere Marquette Park is one peaceful way to spend your afternoon.
Or, you can enjoy a historical experience at the USS Silversides Submarine Museum. Whether you’re staying for a few days or an entire week, you’ll quickly fill your itinerary with family fun and adventure in West Michigan during winter.