Great Northern Michigan site for just about everything! - My North
Cross Country and Snowshoe Trails (listed by distance from the Applesauce Inn Bed and Breakfast)
Grass River Natural Area (partially groomed) Located between Alden and Bellaire on Antrim County's Chain of Lakes, the Grass River Natural Area comprises 1,325 acres along the pristine Grass River, with 7.5 miles of trails winding through upland forests and along raised boardwalks above floating sedges. It’s a favorite haunt for winter birds and mammals, and snowshoes are one of the best ways to see it. The Natural Area entrance is on Alden Highway (Co. Road 618), 4 miles northeast of Alden. Shanty Creek Resorts(groomed) This 4,500-acre ski and golf resort maintains 21 kilometers of trails through forests of snow-laden hardwoods and pines that connect its two ski villages, Schuss Mountain and The Summit. (Much of Shanty’s trail system is used in the annual White Pine Stampede ski race in early February.) A trail pass costs $9-$12, and snowshoes can be rented for $16. Skegemog Swamp Natural Area(not groomed) An extensive wooden boardwalk winds through a beautiful cedar swamp and crosses a small creek as it makes its way to the observation tower at the wild and scenic east end of Skegemog Lake. From the boardwalk you may view all manner of birds and other wetland wildlife. Bald eagles nest in the area and the observation tower provides a good vantage point to catch them perching or fishing along Skegemog Lake. Antrim Creek Natural Area(not groomed) The Antrim Creek Natural Area is comprised of 156 acres with nearly one mile of shoreline on Grand Traverse Bay. It supports an incredible array of natural diversity including hardwood forest, forested wetland, conifer swamp, shrub thicket, meadow, wet meadow and coastal dune. It supports a wide range of flora and fauna including federal and state listed threatened plant species. Visitors can enjoy hiking the marked trails, swimming on the beautiful beach, cross-country skiing and bay fishing! Sand Lakes Quiet Area(groomed) One of the most popular natural areas in northwest Michigan. Over 10 miles of hiking, biking and cross-country ski trails. Hiker trailhead located at Guernsey Lake State Forest Campground. Skiing trailhead 5.5 miles SE of Williamsburg via M-72 & Broomhead Road. An extensive 11-mile trail system winds around many scenic little lakes dotting the preserve, allowing visitors to explore the lakes and surrounding area on foot, skis, bike, or horse. This serene site is part of the Pere Marquette State Forest. Motorized vehicles are prohibited, so wildlife is abundant. Vasa Trail(groomed) Located in the Pere Marquette State Forest, the Vasa Pathway features a series of loops (3K, 5K, 10K, 25K) that offer users a variety of challenges from easy to difficult. The Vasa Pathway is maintained and groomed for cross country skiing by TART Trails under an agreement with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Grand Traverse County. The Vasa Pathway is used by cross country skiers, runners, hikers, mountain bikers, walkers, and naturalist's year round. It is the home of the North American Vasa cross country ski race and the annual Iceman Cometh mountain bike race also uses a portion of the trail.
Directions to the trailhead: US31 to Bunker Hill Rd, RIGHT on Bartlett, LEFT into trailhead parking area. The trail is marked with wayfinding signs. Grand Traverse Commons Natural Area(not groomed) The 19th century designers of the former Northern Michigan Insane Asylum set aside hundreds of acres of meadow, forest and steep bluffs where inmates of the institution could refresh their spirits and restore their peace of mind. Today the former asylum with its castle-like buildings is the Grand Traverse Commons, a mixed use development on the city’s West Side, with over 300 acres of trails that can easily be accessed from six different trailheads. For maps and information, ask your Innkeepers. Old Mission Point(not groomed) At the tip of the narrow Old Mission Peninsula, about 18 miles from Traverse City, the charming little Old Mission Lighthouse stands above a vast rocky shoal, surrounded by a 513-acre park crisscrossed by 7.5 miles of trails through forests and upland meadows. The trails can be accessed at several points, but the most scenic trailhead is at the lighthouse itself. Take Center Road (M-37) to the very end of the peninsula. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore(not groomed) One of the area’s most beautiful landscapes becomes even lovelier in winter, when the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore becomes the haunt of snowshoers and cross-country skiers. The park’s 13 trails range from 1.5 miles to 14.7 miles in length, and offer opportunities for hikers of all ability levels. Visit the Lakeshore Visitors Center in Empire for a park pass (about $15.00)
On Saturdays during January and February, snowshoers can also explore the trails with a National Park ranger. Guided hikes begin at 1 p.m. at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire. For information and maps, or to make a reservation for a guided hike, call the Visitor Center at 231-326-5134, ext. 328.