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With snow in the forecast, rangers are beginning to get the park’s snowshoes out so visitors can explore Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) this winter! Ranger-led snowshoe hikes will be offered on Wednesday, December 27 at 1:00 p.m.; Friday, December 29 at 10:00 a.m.; Saturday, December 30 at 1:00 p.m.; and then on Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. from January 6 through March 17. Meet at the National Lakeshore’s Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire. Reservations are required. Please call 231-326-4700, extension 5010, for details and to make reservations.
Snowshoes will be loaned at no charge to participants that do not have their own. These hikes are free, but participants do need a park entrance pass or have an annual pass to join in the fun. Reservations are required whether participants borrow snowshoes from the National Lakeshore or have their own. To cancel a reservation, please call the National Lakeshore so visitors on the waiting list can be contacted to participate in the hike.
Snowshoe hikes are fun for all ages. Inside the visitor center, rangers will first provide an introduction and basic snowshoeing instructions, and then everyone will travel by car to the trailhead or area of the National Lakeshore pre-selected for that day. Once there, the ranger will help participants learn about the park’s unique features and winter’s effect on them by exploring and discovering clues on site. Be prepared and plan to be outside for about two hours. Dress in layers and wear waterproof boots to be most comfortable.
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 only one and a half miles at the most.