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Park rangers say “Bring on the snow!” so visitors can begin to explore Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) on snowshoes this winter! On Wednesday, December 28 and Saturday, December 31, there will be holiday snowshoe hikes (or winter hikes if there is not enough snow) at 1:00 p.m. Meet at the National Lakeshore’s Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire. Reservations are required.
The first snowshoe hike of the regular season will be on Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. Then, hikes will be offered every Saturday at 1:00 p.m. through March 11, 2017. Meet at the visitor center in Empire. If you don’t have your own, snowshoes will be loaned at no charge. Participants need only purchase the park entrance pass or have an annual pass to join in the fun. Reservations are required whether you need to borrow snowshoes or have your own. Ranger-led snowshoe hikes have a limit on the number of participants. Please call 231-326-4700, extension 5010, for details and to make reservations. If you make a reservation, but then need to cancel, 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 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 until about 3:00 p.m. 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.