• Looking out at the lake

    Sleeping Bear Dunes

    National Lakeshore Michigan

Ski and Snowshoe

Sleeping Bear Dunes offers outstanding cross country skiing and snowshoeing on a variety of trails and terrain. A list of trails and links to trail maps can be found on the bottom of this page. The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is groomed for both classic track and skate skiing. Other ski trails are not groomed but are usually well tracked by previous skiers.
 
Winter view of Lake Michigan from the bluffs

Winter view of Lake Michigan from the bluffs

Kerry Kelly 2004

Winter is an excellent time to explore the Lakeshore, especially with a National Park Ranger on snowshoes! Snowshoe hikes are offered every Saturday during winter beginning the first weekend of January. All hikes will begin at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center on Highway M-72 at the edge of the village of Empire at 1:00 p.m. Call the Visitor Center at 231-326-4700, ext. 5010 to make a reservation. If you make a reservation but then need to cancel, please call and let us know so we can contact visitors that are on our waiting list.

Rangers will first provide basic snowshoeing instructions and then, everyone will travel by car to a specific trailhead. Along the trail, the ranger will share interesting facts about the park's unique features. Be prepared and plan to be outside until about 3:30 p.m.

 
Putting on snowshoes is easy

Putting on showshoes is easy.

Kerry Kelly 2004

Not only is snowshoeing easy, fun, and good exercise, it is also an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages. The ranger-led hikes are mildly strenuous, yet they proceed at a leisurely pace for approximately one and a half miles. This allows you to look for signs of wildlife or evidence of ancient glaciers or to simply experience a winter wonderland.

 

#

Name

Distance

Terrain

Vegetation

Comments

1

Old Indian

2.3-3.7 miles
2 Loops

Flat to gently rolling with a few sections of steep hills

Evergreens and hardwoods

Designated ski trail.
Trail leads to a view of Lake MI

2

Platte Plains

4.6-15.1 miles
Several loops

Mostly flat

Pine-oak-aspen

Designated ski trail.
3 views of Lake MI

3

Empire Bluff

1.5 miles
Round Trip

Hill

Beech-maple, fields, dune plants

Not a designated ski trail.
Overlook on high bluff over Lake MI

4

Windy Moraine

1.5 miles
One Loop

Hilly

Beech-maple, old fields, pine plantation

Designated ski trail.
Views of GlenLake, Lake MI, and Dunes

5a

Shauger Hill

2.4 miles
One Loop

Hilly

Beech-maple

Designated ski trail.
Crosses Shauger Hill Rd and Scenic Drive

5b

Scenic Drive Ski Trail

1.4-8.3 miles
Several Loops

Hilly

Beech-maple

Not a designated ski trail.
Unplowed Scenic Drive and Shauger Hill

8

Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail

4.25 miles, one way linear trail.
Several Loops

Flat

Mostly wooded beech-maple and some cedar. Small areas of open dunes

Groomed ski trail.

10

Alligator Hill

2.7-9 miles
Several Loops

Hilly

Beech-maple, fields, pine plantation

Designated ski trail.
Several loops, Overlook of Lake MI and Glen Lake. Horses are permitted.

11

Bay View

1.5-7.5 miles
Several Loops

Hilly

Beech-maple, fields, pine plantation

Designated ski trail.
Panoramic view of Lake MI and countryside

12

Pyramid Point

2.7 Miles Round Trip

Hilly

Beach-maple forests & fields

Not a designated ski trail.
Trail leads to a high outlook over Lake MI.

13

Good Harbor Bay


2.8 miles
One Loop

Flat, wet in places


Wooded, some dunes

Designated ski trail.

Did You Know?

Piping Plover

The Piping Plover is an endangered species that makes its home on the wide open beaches of Lakes Michigan and Superior. Several nesting pairs have made the shores of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore their home. Their nesting areas have been marked so they will not be disturbed.