Michigan has a lot of places to explore on a snowmobile. There are various trails scattered across the state and its upper peninsula, some well-known and others not as much.
I’m Chaz, a snowmobile enthusiast with over 25 years of experience riding all over North America. I’ve had the chance to explore trails in Michigan several times, and I have a few snowmobiling friends from there.
In this article, I’ll show you some of the best snowmobile trails in Michigan. All of the trails you’ll read about are worth visiting when you’re in the state during the winter.
Get your gear together, and let’s get cruising.
Table of Contents
If you have never been to Michigan before, the state is technically made up of two peninsulas. The Upper Peninsula, more commonly called the U.P., is attached to northern Wisconsin and jets out into the great lakes.
Some of the best trails in the state can be found in the U.P., so I’ll start this list by looking at that location.
Marquette is a snowmobiler’s mecca. The town is located pretty much dead center on the U.P., with Lake Superior’s shores making for a memorable backdrop for your snowmobiling adventures.
There are over 400 miles of trails to explore in the surrounding area, and the region gets over 150 inches of snow on average. The extensive trail network here is well managed, with several groomed options that allow access to the surrounding areas.
Trail 417 will give you access to Lakenenland, a weird sculpture made of random junk that makes for a unique experience. You can also access Mt. Marquette from Trail 417, a good viewpoint that reaches a height of 1,200 feet.
2. Sault Ste Marie
If you like snowmobile racing, Sault Ste Marie is the place to be in Michigan. Every year, the International 500 race occurs here, and the town turns into an excitement-filled winter wonderland.
This race is like a Nascar event in the snow, with some of the best riders in the world flocking here to zoom around the mile-long trail. It’s not your standard trail and instead is a circular track. But it’s one of a kind and worth experiencing.
If you’re not part of the race, it might be challenging to get on the trail, but the atmosphere in town is electric, and there are plenty of other trails in the surrounding area to explore.
Paradise is another fantastic location on the U.P. that gives riders access to many awesome snowmobile trails. There is a vast network of access in the area, and you can leave right from town and be into the wilderness pretty quickly.
Take Trail 8 right outside of town, and it will link you up with Trail 452. 452 covers a circular stretch of the eastern U.P. and can keep you busy for a good day or two. Tahquamenon Falls State Park is also worth checking out, and the trails will take you to its doorstep.
Here’s a good map of the snowmobile trails surrounding Paradise.
There are ten trails in the Munising area that cover a stretch of over 300 miles. This is one of the most beautiful stretches of the U.P., and if you want good photo opportunities and a sense of the natural wonder of the area, this is the place to ride.
The area is located within Alger County, and the local municipality here grooms and maintains the trail network to keep them in order all winter long. This means you can expect good trail conditions and easy riding nearly all the time.
If you picture Michigan’s shape on a map, you’ll most likely envision the Lower Peninsula. This is the larger section of the state and even though it sits further south, it still has plenty of good snowmobile trails.
Gaylord gets some of the most snow in the state, making it an excellent place for winter sports and snowmobiling in particular. You can expect an average of almost 200 inches a year here, much of it caused by the ‘Lake Effect’ created by the great lakes.
The town sits in the center of a network of trails the span nearly 500 miles. Trail 7 will connect you all the way to the U.P. and can make for a fun adventure. Trail 4 is a little more mellow and good for sightseeing around the area.
Learn more about the snowmobiling trails in Gaylord here.
On the northern end of the lower peninsula, you’ll find Cheboygan. This is another snowmobile trail hub that sits on the banks of Lake Huron. It’s part of the network of trails that stretch down to Gaylord, so it makes for a nice stop along the way or a destination all unto itself.
There are more than 80 miles of groomed trails in the area. Black Mountain Recreation Area has some great options, and you can check out a map of that here. SM9 is a trail that runs right through town and continues toward the bridge to the U.P.
Cadillac is the southernmost location on the list but still has plenty of trails and gets good snow. There are over 200 miles of groomed access here, with plenty of other ungroomed areas to explore as well.
Within Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park, there is a 92 mile stretch of trail for snowmobilers to access in the winter. Just be careful of cross country skiers and other riders when you are out cruising.
Michigan has a vast network of snowmobile trails to explore. Even though the state is separated into two different peninsulas, you can ride between the two – though it might take you several days to do so.
Whether you are looking for a multi-day adventure or simply want a scenic winter afternoon getaway, the trails and areas mentioned on this list can provide all of that and more.
Have you ever ridden a snowmobile in Michigan? What trails did you ride on? Let us know in the comments below!