16 Best Michigan Snowmobile Trails

With its ideal location and winter weather, Michigan attracts snow lovers every year and is a great place to go snowmobiling. Especially the Upper Peninsula, which has exceptional snowmobile trails and a whole infrastructure on where to go and how to get the right information before heading to Michigan. More than 200,000 snowmobiles are registered in Michigan, which shows how popular the sport is in this area and how likely you are to find excellent clubs (there are 110 of them!) and maintained routes. So you may be wondering what the best Michigan snowmobile trails are.

What are the best places to go snowmobiling in Michigan? Here are some favorites:

  • Upper Peninsula
    • Paradise
    • Marquette
    • Munising
    • Sault Ste Marie
    • Lake Gogebic
    • Brimley
    • Drummond Island
    • Grand Marais
  • Lower Peninsula
    • Allegan County
    • Gaylord
    • Sanilac County
    • Cadillac
    • Cheboygan
    • Rose City
    • New Buffalo
    • Deckerville

Michigan’s love of snowmobiling makes it an ideal place to practice the sport. From detailed Michigan snowmobile trail conditions reports and dedicated clubs maintaining a great network to a vast array of miles of trails going through gorgeous scenery, snowmobiling in Michigan truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Let’s have a look at the top trails and some other useful facts.

Upper Peninsula Michigan Snowmobile Trails

Michigan Snowmobile Trail

The Upper Peninsula has more than 3,000 miles of snowmobiling trails with ideal riding conditions throughout most of the winter season, not to mention the breathtaking views. The state parks and lakeshore are, of course, the primary destinations, but you can also add on some extra trips like visits to ice caves (Eben Ice Caves or Grand Island Ice Caves).

Here are our top destinations for snowmobiling in the Upper Peninsula.

Paradise

What a great name for a snowmobile network! 10 miles away from Tahquamenon Falls State Park, where you can visit one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi, Paradise welcomes riders with hundreds of miles of trails. Start in Paradise where you can get food and gas, and make your way up north to the Whitefish Point Lighthouse!

Marquette

There are six groomed trails in this area, and it is well-known for excellent snow quality. All winter sports are embraced here – lookout for the UP 2020 Sled Dog Race, among other highlights. Check out this interactive snowmobile trail map for ideas of where to go.

Munising

Munrising calls itself the “Snowmobile Capital of the Midwest,” and for a good reason: Alger County’s 10 trails cover over 300 miles and are some of the most scenic you will have the opportunity to ride. Connecting Shingleton, Grand Marais, Manistique, Rapid River, and Marquette, you’ll find endless options for snowmobile riding.

Sault Ste Marie

Each year, Sault Ste Marie becomes the epicenter of snowmobiling with the world’s largest snowmobile race covering 500 miles on a 1-mile track. The Annual International 500 Snowmobile Race brings professionals from around the world to Sault Ste Marie, but you don’t have to wait for the race to come and enjoy this network of trails.

Lake Gogebic

One of the so-called “best kept secrets” of UP Michigan snowmobile trails can be found in Ontonagon and Gogebic Counties around Lake Gogebic in the western Upper Peninsula. Hundreds of miles of trails whiz through the forests here, and you’ll find an average of 200 inches of snowfall, which means you’re guaranteed to enjoy powdery snow.

Brimley

This place is on the eastern side of the Upper Peninsula, on Lake Superior’s shores at Whitefish Bay’s southern end. Stay in Brimley and explore miles of trails connecting you to Sault Ste Marie to the north-east, enjoying some fantastic lakeside views and top-quality snow.

Drummond Island

This easternmost side of UP Michigan is another excellent snowmobiling destination with a superb snowmobiling infrastructure. Use this map for inspiration and spend an unforgettable few days here.

Grand Marais

The Grand Marais area is east of Munrising in the Central UP and right by Lake Superior’s shores. The Grand Marais Sno-Trails Association grooms these trails, and they’re dedicated to keeping them in excellent shape for all riders to enjoy.

Lower Peninsula Michigan Snowmobile Trails

Snowmobile Michigan Trail

Although UP Michigan snowmobile trails are the more famous, the Lower Peninsula is covered in lots of lovely trails through fantastic scenery, too. Snow conditions are excellent here as well, and the snowmobile clubs are just as dedicated to keeping the trails in top shape.

Head to these areas for your next snowmobile trip.

Allegan County

Allegan is an excellent base for your snowmobiling trips across the 98 miles of groomed trails in this county. Snow conditions are usually ideal, while Allegan has fantastic events all year round. On the Kalamazoo River banks, this historic destination features sights such as the Old Iron Bridge built in 1886. Check out Allegan County Snowmobile Club’s website for information on the trails and the events calendar.

Gaylord

Located in Northern Lower Michigan’s Snowbelt, Gaylord is probably one of the most popular snowmobiling destinations in the Lower Peninsula. They get around 180 inches of snowfall every year, ensuring the trails are some of the best. The trail infrastructure here is fantastic, with connections to the Upper Peninsula and also allowing you to explore different communities all around the Lower Peninsula.

Sanilac County

All snowmobile trails in Sanilac County are on private land and very well maintained. There are 100 miles of trails you can ride and plenty of other activities and places to visit, like Port Sanilac Lighthouse and Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve.

Cadillac

Cadillac’s trails connect north to south over 200 miles of groomed snowmobiling trails. Check out the White Pine Trail, 92 miles long on its own, in Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park, among others!

Cheboygan

This part of Michigan has 500 miles of snowmobile trails and connects to Gaylord areas as well. The Black Mountain Recreation Area is a particularly interesting section of trails, extremely popular with snowmobile enthusiasts.

Rose City

Head to Rose City for some more exceptional trails maintained by the Ogemaw Hills Snowmobile Club. Their website has some great suggested itineraries, under and over 100 miles long, starting from the trailhead at Frank Alley Memorial Park.

New Buffalo

The area around New Buffalo, MI, has a well-marked snowmobile trail originating at M-239 and Wilson Road running to the Indiana/Michigan line, maintained by the Snowbusters Snowmobile Club. There, you can connect with other trail systems running through beautiful rural areas. There are multiple rallying points for riders and a roster of events you can find out more about here.

Deckerville

Get in touch with Thumbs Up Snowmobile Club to find out all about these additional excellent trails north-west of Port Sanilac, connecting with Sanilac County trail systems.

Frequently Asked Questions About Snowmobiling in Michigan

Snowmobile Mackinac Island Michigan

When do Michigan snowmobile trails open?

State-designated trails official open on December 1st and are usually accessible up to March 31st. They are groomed as soon as there is enough snow on the ground.

Do I need a snowmobile trail permit to ride in Michigan?

To get a Michigan snowmobile trail pass, make sure you have a registered snowmobile and then purchase a snowmobile trail permit. Find out how you can get a permit here.

Is there an official speed limit for snowmobiles in Michigan?

There is no specific snowmobile speed limit, but you will need to see every trail’s specific limits locally. For example, if you ride on a road, you should follow that road’s speed limits.

The normal speed limit for unposted roads – where you’ll often be riding – is 55 mph. Finally, there may be other speed limits around lakes, locally advertised.

Where can I find a map of snowmobile trails in Michigan?

There is a range of good interactive online maps you can refer to when you plan your trip. In addition to tourist boards for your starting location, check out Michigan state’s official maps here and the other maps available here.

Finally, the Department of Natural Resources maintains a great list of maps. And you can check out Snowmobiling Michigan for a Michigan snowmobile trail maps app.

How can I find out about snowmobile trail conditions and snow reports?

Several websites offer useful information on snow and trail conditions. This one has details by region and a detailed view of maps that you can zoom into for more clarity. There is also an excellent Michigan snowmobile trail report run by the Michigan Snowmobile & ORV Association.

Michigan Snowmobile Trails – Some of the Best Conditions Out There

So, what are the best places to snowmobile in Michigan? To summarize, here they are once again:

  • Upper Peninsula
    • Paradise
    • Marquette
    • Munising
    • Sault Ste Marie
    • Lake Gogebic
    • Brimley
    • Drummond Island
    • Grand Marais
  • Lower Peninsula
    • Allegan County
    • Gaylord
    • Sanilac County
    • Cadillac
    • Cheboygan
    • Rose City
    • New Buffalo
    • Deckerville

Michigan and especially the Upper Peninsula, offer unbeatable snow conditions throughout the winter season, which are guaranteed to allow you to ride a snowmobile through fantastic scenery and great trails. The snow quality rightly makes Michigan an ideal destination for your next snowmobiling trip in addition to the extensive trail network and dedicated clubs that maintain them and organize extraordinary events and competitions.

Kris Peter

Adventure seeker and off-road enthusiast. I love the thrill of going off-road and taking on the elements.

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