Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winter Trails Michigan

Winter Trails Michigan: The best cross-country ski and snowshoe trails by William Semion. 2001

Most of the trails in this guidebook are in Northern Michigan (which is logical given how much more winter they get) but it does include West Michigan.

West Michigan Ski Trails

1. Kalamazoo Nature Center Trails
"Summer hiking trails serve double duty in winter for cross-country skiiers. Due to variable snow conditions, it's wise to call ahead before planning your trip." Ungroomed, admission fee.
Location: 700 North Westnedge Avenue, about 12 minutes north of downtown Kalamazoo.

2. Yankee Springs State Recreation Area Trails

"The hills of southwestern Lower Michigan harbor some surprisngly good cross-country skiing, and this recreation area-- the state's euphemism for spots that offer more recreation opportunities than do state parks-- is one of the best places to find them." Groomed and single track set, warming lodge.
Location: 2104 Gun Lake Road, Middleville. US 131 to exit 61. A-42 east about 8 miles to park. Trailhead near Long Lake outdoor Center. [Yankee Springs website]

3. Pigeon Creek Park Trails

"Just outside of one of West Michigan coastline's most charming towns is one of the finest areas open for public use in southwestern Lower Michigan." Groomed, lighted, family friendly, rentals available, trail use free.
Location: 12524 Stanton Street West Olive, MI 49460.
Entrance on Stanton Rd, 3 miles east of US 31. [Pigeon Creek Park website]

4. Muskegon State Park Trails

"The community that once was known as the Queen City for its lumber which helped build America's West in the 19th century, is now known, among other things, as the location of one of the nation's only luge runs, within this 1,350 acre park on the northern side of Muskegon Lake. The parks dunes hold numerous hiking trails, some of which double as a cross-country ski range. As a result of the big dunes that have been piled up behind the beaches, some of the ski trails are fairly rugged."
Groomed, lighted, trail fee, sports lodge.
Location: From US 31 take North Muskegon exit and take White Road to Giles Rd. West on Giles to Scenic Drive. Turn south to park. [Muskegon State Park website]

5. Mackenzie Cross-Country Ski Trail, Manistee National Forest

"Set in the beautiful rolling hardwood hills of West Michigan, Mackenzie Trail is nearest to both downhill runs and one of northern Michigan's major resort towns." Groomed.
Location: 12 miles west of Cadillac. From Cadillac, take MI 55 to Caberae Rd. North 2 miles on Caberfae. Entrance on 38 Road or at base of Caberfae Peaks instruction hill.

6. Cool's Cross-Country Farm Trails [apparently closed in 2002]
"Cool's Cross-Country Farm has been a family enterprise for more than 20 years and is one of the few true destination cross-country-only resorts in Michigan"
Location: outside Reed City

7. Big M Cross Country Ski Area Trails, Manistee National Forest
"A booming local downhill ski area until the early 1970s, when someone overbuilt it and it went bust, the Big M has hosted legions of dedicated cross-country skiers since 1984, when the Manistee Cross-Country Ski Council [Big M website] cut most of the trails that now exist. The result is a great collection of paths that cut through the hardwood highlands east of Lake Michigan.
Groomed, warming shelter, donation requested.
Location: Off MI 55, 14 miles east of Manistee. M55 to Udel Hills Road,then 3.5 miles south.

8. Crystal Mountain Resort Trails

"Crystal prides itself on making young families feel at home, whether it's in a slopeside lodge room, the village homes in the woods, or one of the hot condos perched amid the trees along the western edge of the property."
Groomed, trail fee, downhill ski resort with lodging,pool.
Location: Thompsonville, on MI 115 between Cadillac and Traverse City. [Crystal Mountain website]

9. Sand Lakes Quiet Area Trails
"This is one of the most popular ski areas in the region, yet it also feels like one of the most remote, depending on where you are on the system." Ungroomed.
Location 15 miles east of Traverse City. From MI 72 head southward at the signs on Broomhead Rd, about 6 miles to the parking lot. [Pere Marquette State Forest]

This book was unavailable from Amazon or Barnes & Noble when I looked, but you may be able to find it at your local library.

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