Chapel Road is flooding in a few places. For the 3.5 miles northwest of H58 the road is only passable with a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle. All other vehicles are sure to be stuck. With the wintery forecast, conditions will deteriorate.
NPS photo by Gregg Bruff
Of that 33,000 acres, the only places you cannot snowshoe are probably obvious - on roads open to vehicular traffic and on the park's 20 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails. The entire remainder of the lakeshore is there for you to enjoy via snowshoeing or skiing.
One good thing about snowshoes is once you have gone about half way, turn around and follow your tracks back to the car! Barring a blizzard, your record of tracks is pretty easy to follow home.
The benefits of snowshoeing are many, including the opportunity for solitude in a relatively deserted environment. If you strike out in the park on an old road or logging trail, the only sound you may hear is the beating of your own heart and the wind in the pines.
Though wildlife is pretty scarce in winter, tracks of otter, red squirrel, American marten, fisher, deer, grouse, raven and snowshoe hare are often seen.
The park does not mark any specific snowshoe trails, with the exception of occasional winters when a trail is marked on Sand Point.
Your Safety Comes First!
As you can imagine, winter is one of the best times to be completely prepared!
An unexpected slip into a creek, the loss of a tarp in a blizzard, a broken snowshoe binding can quickly spell disaster. The old scout adage of “Be Prepared” is the best medicine.
The lakeshore staff encourage you to carefully plan your winter excursion into the park. Here are a few helpful suggestions.
Having considered all of this, remember that winter is one of the most incredible seasons at the lakeshore. You will likely see very few people, a lot of animal tracks, and will be able to enjoy a type of solitude unknown at other times of the year. Happy trekking!
Did You Know?
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore shares a visitor center with the Hiawatha National Forest. The interagency visitor center was dedicated in 1988, and serves over 40,000 people annually. Other federal interagency visitor centers are located in Alaska, Utah, California, and Idaho. More...