Posted by: Kath Usitalo | January 13, 2011

Snow Much Fun

Exploring the old growth forest at Hartwick Pines State Park

Snow! Finally, in mid-January, a beautiful blanket of the white stuff covers the ground.

Makes me want to strap on the snowshoes or cross-country skis and head to Hartwick Pines State Park, just north of Grayling. The largest state park in the Lower Peninsula is also home to the largest stand of old-growth white pines in the Mitten. 

Last year at this time I went on a snowshoe hike through the woods on a sunny Saturday afternoon; it was a beautiful, quiet, peaceful outing.

The park has a limited number of pairs of snowshoes for free loan on the day of its snowshoe hike; don’t worry if you’re a novice—the staff will help you get started. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. Another hike is scheduled for 1-3 .m., Saturday, January 22. Reservations are requested; call 989-348-2537.

Learn to snowshoe at Hartwick Pines State Park

The Hartwick Pines cross-country ski trail is lit by lanterns for Saturday evening outings, 6-9 p.m., January 15 and 29.

In the Eastern Upper Peninsula, Tahquamenon Falls State Park hosts snowshoe hikes and lantern-lit night cross-country skiing each Saturday in February at the Upper Falls. You can also walk a trail to see the waterfalls.

Through February at Ludington State Park you can take a guided, 90-minute afternoon snowshoe walk at 3 p.m. or bring a flashlight for the Moonlight Walk at 7 p.m. Loaner snowshoes available on a first-come basis; guides can assist newbies.

This weekend kicks off the Saturday series of guided snowshoe hikes on the dunes at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon. The hikes step off at 10:30 a.m. each Saturday through February 26, and there will be a 7 p.m. moonlight hike on Friday, February 18. Snowshoes are available for rent, and reservations for all are required; call 231-798-3573..

State Park activities are free with park admission; residents can buy an annual “passport” for just $10. Vehicle permits for non-residents are $8/day and $29/annual.

At Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore you can take a snowshoe hike with a Park Ranger, 1-3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through January and February.

A limited number of snowshoes are available for loan to those who make a reservation for the hike; call 231-326-5134, ext. 328.

Normal park admission applies ($10/week; $20/annual) but this Saturday through Monday, January 15-17, admission is free in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Of course, all snow events are weather dependent.

Visitor Info Click: Pure Michigan

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