Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling in the Keweenaw

Explore more scenic vistas and picturesque trails as you ride along the coast of Lake Superior and atop ancient mountain ridges. On average the Keweenaw receives over 270 inches of snow annually. From meticulously maintained trails to adrenaline-packed experiences through the pines and along Lake Superior shoreline, there’s no shortage of sledding adventures. With over 230 miles of snowmobile trails and award-winning restaurants and lodging along the way, the Keweenaw is a snowmobiler’s dream destination!

Where to Go Snowmobiling in the Keweenaw?

The Keweenaw Peninsula has more than 230 miles of snowmobile trails running from southern Houghton County all the way to Copper Harbor.  The Keweenaw’s trail system visitors access to thousands of acres of Upper Peninsula wilderness and Lake Superior in addition to many of the region’s communities like Houghton, Hancock, Calumet, and others.

Snomobiling across the Portage Lift Bridge in the Keweenaw

Keweenaw Snowmobile Trails

There are so many incredible side loops and backcountry jaunts. Start your planning by downloading or requesting a copy of a Keweenaw snowmobile trail map. Note that the Keweenaw snowmobile trail system is made up of state-owned and privately-owned trail segments.  It’s through good trail stewardship and private-public partnerships that the Keweenaw is able to offer a world-class snowmobile experience.

Download the snowmobile map here!

Request a paper copy here!

Keweenaw snowmobile web map

Our Recommended Snowmobile Experiences

Here are just a few of our favorite excursions.

  • Trail #3 from Mohawk takes you up and over Brockway Mountain. A beautiful route with plenty of places to stop and stretch your legs. Enjoy a Vollwerth’s footlong hot dog grilled to perfection at The Cliff View Bar & Cabins, head further north and stop by The Phoenix General Store, a Copper Country landmark. The Phoenix General Store serves up ice-cold beverages and a wide variety of snack foods. Check out the old coolers, over a century old.
  • Take “Mandan Trail”/Trail #134 out to High Rock Bay where Lake Superior awaits. This trail is a still-in-use logging road that opens to snowmobile traffic generally in early January. Trail #132 is a popular trail that treats you with spectacular overlooks of Lac La Belle. It’s arguably one of the best trails in terms of unparalleled views and beautiful terrain. While in Lac La Belle don’t forget to stop in the Bear Belly Bar & Grill for something to eat. They have an amazing Steak Caesar Salad and delicious two-handed sandwiches. Don’t feel quite like jumping back on the sled right away? Head over to the brand-new Nordic Spa at Mount Bohemia. Did you know Mount Bohemia is home to the largest hot tub in the Upper Peninsula?
  • The Bill Nicholls Trail passes through the Twin Lakes/Toivola area and Krupps Resort is right there awaiting your arrival! They have some of the best pasties! The Bill Nicholls Trail is over 40 miles and runs parallel for several miles alongside M-26. Several lodging establishments and places to grab a bite to eat are right on the trail.
  • Running on the south side of the Portage Canal the Bill Nicholls Trail becomes walking distance away from downtown Houghton. Plenty of places to park right off the trail including under the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. Go check out the recently reopened Library Restaurant & Brewpub—it’s amazing! Order the famous tostado pizza at the Ambassador Restaurant, stop in The Downtowner for a game of pool or to watch a hockey game on one of the large flatscreens. Want to pick up a souvenir to bring back home? Chickadees, Apple Blossom Mercantile, and Michigan Made are just a few stores carrying really great gift ideas located in this beautiful downtown.

Snowmobilers enjoying a trail ride in the Keweenaw Peninsula

Snowmobile Rentals

If you need to rent a snowmobile, look no further. Not only do these family-owned and operated businesses provide snowmobile rentals, they have years of experience and valuable insight, and a passion for all things snowmobiling.

 Snowmobiling on the trails in the Keweenaw

Trail Conditions

Stay up to date on current trail conditions, trail closures, and the weather forecast. Keweenaw Trail Reports is a great source for all things related to snowmobiling in the Keweenaw. Keweenaw Convention & Visitor’s Bureau updates trail conditions and provides downloadable trail maps regularly.

What Do I Need to Snowmobile in the Keweenaw?

  • If the snowmobile is owned by a nonresident, before operation in Michigan, a snowmobile must display a valid registration from the operator’s home state or province, or be registered in Michigan.
  • A person who desires to operate a snowmobile in this state shall obtain a snowmobile trail permit sticker. The snowmobile trail permit sticker shall be valid for a period of one year, which begins October 1 and ends September 30 of the following year. You can purchase a trail permit at a DNR customer service location, online with the Michigan Snowmobile & ORV Association, or through eLicense., or use this map to find a local retailer to purchase licenses and permits.
  • The trail permit sticker shall be permanently affixed to the forward half of the snowmobile directly above or below the headlight.
  • Snowmobile trail permits are available from snowmobile dealers, DNR offices, and retail license agents throughout Michigan.  The Keweenaw Convention & Visitors Bureau is proud to offer this service to you.
  • All persons operating or riding on a snowmobile must wear a Department of Transportation approved crash helmet.
  • All snowmobiles must display a lighted headlight and taillight at all times during operation. However, the headlight shall not be covered with a lens cap of any color.

Who Maintains the Trails?

The Keweenaw Snowmobile Club is a nonprofit organization responsible for grooming and maintaining 233 miles of snowmobile trails that run from Toivola (about 15 miles south of Houghton) to the northern tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. They have a fleet of five state-of-the-art groomers and a select team of dedicated and experienced trail groomers that are out on the trails sometimes twice a day. They average 35,000 groomed miles each season. That’s one-and-a-half times around the world!

The Valley Sno Drifters is a nonprofit group that maintains the “Dreamland Trails” (Trail #122). These are beautiful backwoods trails in the Lake Linden area. They go right by The Dreamland Bar & Restaurant located on Bootjack Road. These spectacular tree-lined trails really showcase the beauty of the Keweenaw.

 

About the Author: Amber Van Karsen is a Keweenaw resident, local history enthusiast, and freelance author.

Sources:

Keweenaw Snowmobile Club; Michigan DNR; M&M Powersports; Keweenaw Trail Reports

 

 

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