Vasa Pathway - Traverse City, Michigan

16 Fantastic Northern Michigan Cross Country Ski Trails With Gorgeous Views

If you’re ready to strap on a pair of skis and head out to do some cross-country skiing, Northern Michigan is a beautiful place for that. In fact, the Lower Peninsula has many options when it comes to cross-country skiing. We’ve made a detailed list of some of the hottest Northern Michigan cross country ski trails to get you started with planning your next winter adventure.

Cross Country Ski Trails Around Petoskey Michigan

Nub’s Nob

Nub’s Nob is located in Harbor Springs Michigan, just north of Petoskey. The resort has three separate peaks and 248 acres of skiable terrain. The best part is that you can ski here even if the weather hasn’t brought enough snow.

There are 315 snow-making guns across the resort property, ready to create the very best cross-country skiing conditions. The award-winning snow-making covers 97% of the ground. Only the glade tree runs aren’t covered.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire - Northern Michigan Cross-Country Ski
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore | photo via @karfar

The Highlands at Harbor Springs

Also in Harbor Springs, The Highlands offers more than 35 km of trail systems that are groomed and ready for you. The trails stretch across more than 3,000 acres of land. Whether you want to learn to ski or hone the skills, this family-friendly area boasts beautiful views in a serene and peaceful setting.

This ski resort opened during the 1955 to 1956 skiing season and was founded by 10 businessmen who were local to the area. It was renovated in the 1960s, and the Main Lodge includes a dining room with a cocktail lounge and a heated outdoor pool and hot tub.

Boyne Highlands, Harbor Springs - Northern Michigan Cross-County Ski, Cross-Country Skiing In Michigan, Winter In Northern Michigan
Boyne Highlands | photo via Brandi O’Granning

Boyne Mountain Resort

Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls, a little south of Petoskey, offers skiers a 2-km trail called Pancake with mostly flat terrain and a 4.5-kilometer trail dubbed Vistas with moderately hilly terrain. The resort has advanced ski trails too, like the 2-km Innsbruck.

These are just a few of its 14 Northern Michigan cross country ski trails that you could traverse, which total 35 km. Whether you want to ski through pine forests or technical terrain, Boyne Mountain Resort has every option.

Charlevoix Mt McSauba Ski Hill

With 10 runs, four rope tows, and a 2-km lit and groomed cross-country ski trail, you can’t go wrong by heading to the Charlevoix Mt McSauba Ski Hill, west of Petoskey. Ski Magazine has rated it one of the top three small ski areas in the United States, and it offers affordable rates for family-friendly adventures.

This winter playground has 80 acres of ungroomed trails as well. Equipment rentals are available, and EMT-certified ski patrol members oversee the property for your safety. Additionally, the resort has a warming cabin and plenty of snow-making capabilities for the best conditions throughout the season.

Hanson Hills Recreation Area, Traverse City - Northern Michigan Cross-Country Ski
Hanson Hills Recreation Area | photo via @simplyfromannarbor

Central Northern Michigan Cross Country Ski Trails

Otsego Resort

Located in Gaylord Michigan, the Otsego Resort offers an amazing area for not only cross country skiing, but snowboarding, tubing, and snowshoeing as well. This resort offers the highest point of elevation in the famous Michigan Snow Belt, which makes for top-notch skiing opportunities.

There are 6.2 miles of marked cross-country ski trails that include 32 runs and five chairlifts along with a high-speed quad and one handle tow on Nordic and Alpine trails. With a professional ski instructor on-site, along with a ski patrol and short lift lines, this is a great place to take the entire family or a group of friends who share your love of cross-country skiing.

If Mother Nature does not want to cooperate by bringing enough snow, that’s no problem. The resort has advanced snow-making machines so that you can always enjoy the very best conditions.

Otsego Resort, Gaylord - Northern Michigan Cross-Country Ski
Otsego Resort | photo via @spenceschultzz

Hanson Hills Recreation Area

Hanson Hills Recreation Area is located in Grayling Michigan and offers skiers meticulously groomed trails with several levels of difficulty. There is even a special trail designed for skiing with your dog, so you can take your furry family member with you.

This ski area is considered one of the state’s hidden gems since it offers very affordable rates and a family atmosphere. There are more than 35 km of groomed Nordic ski trails, including a “classics only” wilderness trail that’s nearly 9 km long.

Hanson Hills Recreation Area, Grayling - Northern Michigan Cross-Country Ski
Hanson Hills Recreation Area | photo via @trudelutt60

Cross Country Ski Headquarters

The Cross Country Ski Headquarters near Higgins Lake in Roscommon offers more than 11 miles of trails that are suitable for all skill levels. The trails are groomed each morning so you can ski on fresh tracks.

Special rates are available for families and children, and the Stone Turtle Day Lodge offers indoor restrooms, a fireplace and sun deck, and a wax bench. A ski shop, ski lessons, and equipment rentals are located on the property of this family-friendly resort too.

Cross Country Ski Headquarters, Roscommon - Northern Michigan Cross-Country Ski
Cross Country Ski Headquarters | photo via @megan.lynn.grant

Cross Country Ski Trails Around Traverse City Michigan

Shanty Creek Resort

Shanty Creek Resort is located near Bellaire and offers 28 km of track-set trails. The groomed trails crisscross through four different villages, which creates a unique experience.

Along with promoting a healthy cardio workout in a very beautiful setting, this resort gives you the chance to stop for warmth during your excursion. Lodging, dining, and entertainment for all ages are available as well.

Shanty Creek Resort, Bellaire - Northern Michigan Cross-Country Ski
Shanty Creek Resort | photo via @gracewinsdesigns

Vasa Pathway

The Vasa Trail is nestled just east of Traverse City Michigan with a trailhead in Williamsburg. It’s a wonderful mecca for skiers of all levels or to simply work out or relax.

This premier cross-country ski trail features state-of-the-art grooming technology and offers amazing views of white pine trees amid the peaceful and serene backdrop. Also, it’s the home of the North American Vasa Cross-country Ski Race.

Vasa Pathway, Williamsburg - Northern Michigan Cross-Country Ski
Vasa Pathway | photo via @tarttrails

Mt. Holiday

Mt. Holiday is a ski resort located on the eastern edge of Traverse City. It has an abundance of trails for cross-country skiers. The facility offers lessons and works to teach each person who comes to the facility proper ski etiquette. Ski equipment can be rented at the resort if needed.

Mt. Holiday, Traverse City - Northern Michigan Cross-Country Ski
Mt. Holiday | photo via @mtholiday

Hickory Hills Ski Area

Hickory Hills Ski Area is located on the western edge of Traverse City. The public ski resort sits on 125 acres and has 13 runs. More importantly, it has 4 km of Northern Michigan cross country ski trails to explore and a 1-km trail with lights for skiing after dark.

An added touch at this ski area is the vintage ski lodge. It hosts many popular events and is home to the Grand Traverse Ski Club. The area also has its own ski patrol.

Hickory Hills Ski Area, Traverse City - Northern Michigan Cross-Country Ski
Hickory Hills Ski Area | photo via @minorthernsoul

Leelanau Trail

Throughout the winter, the Leelanau Trail is groomed for cross-country skiing. This amazing ski area is located on the northwest edge of Traverse City along the shore of Grand Traverse Bay. It’s a 17-mile stretch for skiing, as well as snowshoeing, fat-tire biking, and skate skiing.

The picturesque forests, nearby farms, lakes, ponds, and vineyards offer gorgeous views while you spend time honing your skiing skills. This trail is regularly groomed by TART Trails volunteers from the Cherry Bend trailhead to the Fourth Street Trailhead over 191 acres of beautiful land.

More Cross Country Ski Trails in Northern Michigan

Negwegon State Park

In Harrisville, you could enjoy the Northern Michigan cross-country ski trails at Negwegon State Park. The more than 4,000-acre undeveloped area is open for hiking during the summer. During the winter, though, all of the trails are open for cross-country skiing. Just keep in mind that the trails aren’t groomed.

Negwegon State Park, Harrisville - Northern Michigan Cross-Country Ski
Negwegon State Park | photo via @michael92279

Black Mountain Recreation Area

On the Lake Huron side of Northern Michigan, the Black Mountain Recreation Area in Cheboygan has more than 30 miles of trails for cross-country skiing. The trails range from easy to difficult and have been designed for traditional diagonal skiers and skate skiers.

With the right conditions, you could see Lake Huron as you glide under the pine trees. You can access the pathway loops from four separate parking lots.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is situated in Empire Michigan, west of Traverse City on the shore of Lake Michigan. It has more than a handful of trails, including the partially finished but very scenic 22-mile Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.

However, advanced skiers might prefer the more challenging 9-mile Alligator Hill. The Sleeping Bear Dunes ski trails are designated for cross-country skiing. This family-friendly area is suitable for skiers of all skill levels.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire - Northern Michigan Cross-Country Ski
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore | photo via @this_is_my_fathers_world

Caberfae Peaks

Within the Manistee side of the Huron-Manistee National Forests, Caberfae Peaks is a ski and golf resort located in Cadillac. It has more than 10 miles of trails with different loop combinations and varying levels of difficulty. The trail system is easily identified by blue diamonds and signs to point you in the right direction.

The most well-known trail might be the MacKenzie Cross Country Ski Trail. The trails are regularly groomed, and there’s no fee to use them. In addition, cross-country ski equipment is available to rent.

Caberfae Peaks, Manistee - Northern Michigan Cross-Country Ski
Caberfae Peaks | photo via @vincentm90

Continue Your Winter Fun on Other Ski Trails in Michigan

Do you want even more cross-country ski trails? Consider some of the best Mid-Michigan cross country ski trails. There are a lot of awesome cross country ski trails in West Michigan too.

If you’re looking for something other than cross-country skiing, Northern Michigan has a ton of other things to do in winter. You can try your hand at an Olympic sport, attend a winter festival, or snowmobile.

One Comment

  1. You missed a wonderful X-C resort south of Gaylord, MI near Frederick, MI. named Forebush Corners. A large number of machine groomed trails offer interesting diversity in terrain at a variety of distances and levels of difficulty. The resort gets good annual snowfall, but does have two trails fully equipped with snow guns.

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