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Snowmobiling in the Porcupine Mountains: A ride guide

Welcome to snowmobiling heaven. The Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County offer some of the best snowmobiling in the upper Midwest (and some would say anywhere). Comfortable lodging properties and incredible trails make this a perfect snowmobile getaway destination. New to the trails? Here’s what you need to know.

How would you describe snowmobiling in the Porcupine Mountains?

In a word, awesome. People travel a long way to experience the western Upper Peninsula’s trails because the experience is simply incredible. Ride up to scenic Lake of the Clouds for breathtaking winter views. Along the way, you’ll skirt Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes. Other rides will take you across historic bridges (near Mass City), up a hill with the dramatic view (near Rockland) and through a dense forest teeming with wildlife—keep an eye out for white-tailed deer and bald eagles. On some clear nights, the Northern Lights offers a dramatic show.

What are the trails like?

Think “highway of snow.” The groomers here do an incredible job and when the snow flies, the trails are wide, smooth and silky. There are more than 350 miles of groomed trails to explore in Ontonagon County, so the opportunities for adventure are almost endless.

Please note that Michigan residents and nonresidents alike need to purchase a snowmobile trail permit when snowmobiling on public lands. Learn more here.

Will there be snow when I arrive?

We can’t control the weather—but most of the time we don’t have to. Thanks to lake-effect snow from Lake Superior, the area receives up to 200 inches of snow on a given year!

Will I be able to get my truck and trailer through all that?

Always check the weather, but you should be fine—our snowplow drivers are pros, and they do an excellent job keeping the roads clear. Lodging properties will have plenty of space waiting for you to unload and park. When you’re here, you can leave the trailer parked and travel pretty much anywhere by sled.

How can I stay on track?

There are lots of great trail apps out there, but we recommend you also pick up a paper map while you’re here–they are sold at gas stations and many other local businesses. Here’s an updated map of the trails in the region. Your lodging property will be happy to suggest some routes in the area, and when you are on the trail, you see lots of signs—the trails are very well marked. If you get turned around, don’t hesitate to ask another rider—snowmobilers up here are generally very friendly and happy to get you pointed in the right direction.

Are there places to fuel up along the trail?

The western U.P. is home to plenty of gas stations, but there’s also lots of wilderness, too. It’s a good idea to fuel up when you see a gas station, so you have plenty of gas for your adventure.

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Note: Please travel safely and responsibly when you are visiting the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County. Some businesses and facilities may have modified hours or procedures; please contact them directly for information. See Michigan’s latest coronavirus orders here.

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Find everything you’ll need for your next trip to the Porcupine Mountains, including lodging, info on local attractions, and much more.