Piles of snow blankets Michigan’s Upper Peninsula every year, providing countless outdoor opportunities in a wintry wonderland. Although Munising is considered “the snowmobile capital of the Midwest,” the area also offers pristine cross-country ski and snowshoe trails that people of all skill levels can enjoy. Don’t have gear? Down Wind Sports and South Bay Outfitters, both in downtown Munising, got you covered.
Valley Spur is a favorite Alger County destination for cross-country skiers and snowshoers in the winter. The 27-mile trail system is groomed daily or as needed for both skate and classic ski from December through March. Valley spur consists of 10 loops varying in level in the Hiawatha National Forest and provides a variety of beautiful and serene scenery. Most of these loops are used for mountain bike and hiking trails in the summertime.
The Snowman Snowshoe Trail at Valley Spur is a 1.8-mile loop of moderate difficulty. Since the course can be challenging at times, it helps to have crampon style snowshoes, but it’s not mandatory.
Valley Spur is located off M-94 approximately 5 miles west of Munising. A trail map is posted in the lodge at the trailhead, throughout the trail system and is also available online.
Bruno’s Run Trail may be reached from the north or the south via Forest Highway 13. The trail may be accessed from both Widewaters and Pete’s Lake campgrounds as well as from Forest Highway 13 at Moccasin Lake and Forest Road 2173 at Grassy Lake.’
McKeever Hills Cross-Country Ski Trail
McKeever Hills Cross-Country Ski Trail offers loops for all skill levels, including many downhill runs. The trails are only periodically packed and tracked. Six miles of trail pass beside several lakes and through various forest types.
The route is open daily during daylight hours from December through April, depending on snow conditions. No trail fee is required. Trail loops are packed and groomed once a week or as conditions allow. Trail segments are well-marked starting at the trailhead and at each trail junction.
Hiawatha Slopes in Chatham
Hiawatha Slopes Ski Hill is in the woodland hills of Rock River Township, about 15 miles from Munising. The ski hill is easily accessible as well as a cost-effective winter activity for all ages.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offers two groomed and tracked cross-country ski trail areas with multiple loops. One is near Munising on the park’s west end and the other is near Grand Marais on the eastern end of the park.
The park’s trails range from easy to difficult and wind more than 20 miles through a breathtaking landscape of diverse habitat with each trail offering a variety of loop lengths for a gentle day ski or quick workout. All lakeshore trails are designed for diagonal stride only – skating is not permitted. Although you can’t snowshoe on the groomed cross-country ski trails, the remainder of the park is available for you to enjoy via snowshoeing. There isn’t a fee for using any of the trails, but donations are accepted.
Bruno’s Run is a 9-mile loop perfect for hiking and mountain biking in the warmer seasons and snowshoeing during the winter. Although the trail is not groomed in winter for cross-country skiing, it allows skiers to travel a path less beaten. The trail winds its way past a host of small lakes imprinted in this relatively young glacial plain, taking adventurers over gently rolling country. Further along, the trail runs over foothills, along overlooks and through valleys.
Sledding is free on the east slope, while skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyed on the western slope for a $5 tow rope use fee. Seasonal passes for singles and families are also available.
All photos are courtesy of the Munising Visitors Bureau unless otherwise noted.