NPS photo / Shaun Hughes
Walking in a Winter Wonderland ...
Winter at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore brings solitude and beauty to the northwoods. This is your winter wonderland for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice climbing, winter camping, ice fishing, and snowshoeing.
From late November through mid-April, the Upper Peninsula is blanketed with snow. You will hear all sorts of predictions: “Munising gets 200 inches of snow a winter!” and “The annual snowfall in Grand Marais is 300 inches!”
Fact is, the lakeshore does not receive as much snow as it did a few decades ago. According to the National Weather Service in Marquette, the current average for Munising is somewhere between 140 and 144 inches while the average for Grand Marais is similar.
Near Melstrand in the middle of the park, their average is probably higher - possibly due to that area not being as protected by Grand Island from northwesterly driven lake effect snowfall.
Speaking of averages, the National Weather Service uses a 30 year average when they use that term. In some locations, snowfall is measured by citizen weather observers and records are incomplete for all of the years.
Residents of Munising often note significant differences between in town and up on the hills outside of town. Snowfall often depends on the track of the storm and local conditions.
So, when people ask how much snow the national lakeshore receives, we usually say “a lot” and leave it at that. But thanks for asking!