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 offers 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.
KEWEENAW SNOWMOBILE TRAILS
There are so many incredible side loops and backcountry jaunts. Start your planning by downloading or requesting a copy of the Keweenaw Snowmobile 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. Here’s a list of spots to park your sled trailer while you’re riding.
Download a Copy of the Keweenaw Snowmobile Trail 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 tasty tavern ribs or a creamy chicken bowl from the Glacia Tavern in Mohawk. 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 variety of snack foods. Check out its antique coolers. Stop at the Mariner North in Copper Harbor for a warm dinner. Get gas at the Copper Harbor Fuel Stop or a tasty treat and some coffee.
- 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 to spectacular overlooks of Lac La Belle. It’s arguably one of the best trails in terms of unparalleled views and beautiful terrain. Need fuel or a delicious takeout meal? Head to the Bear Belly Pit Stop while in Lac La Belle.
- The Bill Nicholls Trail passes through the Twin Lakes/Toivola area and runs parallel for several miles alongside M-26. Several lodging establishments await and places to grab a bite to eat are right on the trail. As you pass through South Range, be sure to stop at the 1902 Bar and Grill for delicious pizza and local beer. Get a hearty burger or a warm pizza before resting in your cozy place to stay at the ParkView Lodge and Grill in Toivola.
- Running on the south side of the Portage Canal the Bill Nicholls Trail becomes walking distance away from downtown Houghton. There are plenty of places to park right off the trail including under the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. Go check out the Library Restaurant & Brewpub—it’s amazing! Order the famous tostado pizza at the Ambassador Restaurant, then head to the Keweenaw Brewing Company for a craft Keweenaw beer. Stop in Bill's B&B Bar for popcorn, pool and sports games.
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.
Stay up to date on current trail conditions, trail closures, and the weather forecast.
- For real-time trail grooming updates download the Groomer Tracker App! Sign up for the Keweenaw trail system with a portion of the fees shared to support our local trail grooming club!
- The Keweenaw Snowmobile Club is a great source for all things related to snowmobiling in the Keweenaw. Check their Facebook page for important trail updates.
- Visit Keweenaw 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 Explore MI Outdoors or through DNR 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.
- 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.
Support the organizations that make recreation in the Keweenaw possible. Learn more here.
Wondering where to park your snowmobile trailer while you are out riding the Keweenaw trail system? There are several places near the trail that graciously allow riders to leave their vehicles. If it’s a business parking lot, make sure to stop inside and let them know you are there.
- Twin Lakes – Krupp’s Resort 32260 M-26, Toivola, MI 49965, Go inside to pay.
- South Range – There is a large parking lot across from the VFW by the ball field available for trailer parking.
- City of Houghton – Lakeshore Drive under the Portage Lift Bridge (along the trail)
- Laurium – George Gipp Ice Arena 200 Isle Royale St, Laurium, MI 49913
Park in the back on the right (East Side), AWAY from the building. You can also park North of the rink, just before the trailhead and sewer overflow. Do not park in front of the chainlink fence.
- Trailer Staging Area in Eagle Harbor - Eagle Harbor Cutoff Road Trailhead.
About the Author: Amber Van Karsen is a Keweenaw resident, local history enthusiast, and freelance author.
Keweenaw Snowmobile Club; Michigan DNR; M&M Powersports; Keweenaw Trail Report