Dive into a Munising winter adventure, 4 ways to find your happiness
MUNISING, MI – There’s a big difference between people who have learned to tolerate Michigan’s long winters and those who embrace them. For outdoor enthusiasts who welcome the colder months with arms wide open and faces leaning back to catch the next wave of lake-effect snow, Munising is a place of natural winter adventure.
Located along the northern edge of the Upper Peninsula and bordered by Lake Superior, Munising attracts thousands of visitors each winter who want nothing more than to play in the snow. Snowmobilers, cross-country skiers and ice climbers all come to this area near Picture Rocks National Lakeshore to find their share of winter happiness.
But make no mistake: The winter crowd drawn to the state’s wild north shore is definitely different than the summer tourists, said Cori-Ann Cearley, president of the Munising Visitors Bureau. There’s a relaxed, friendly attitude among those who take to the snowy trails that make strangers make friends fairly quickly, which she equates to the shared hard-playing attitude of the winter holiday crowd.
“There’s a camaraderie among people who come here in the winter,” Cearley said. “It’s a very different group of people, with a very different interest group (than summer visitors).”
“I know people who have met people here and come back year after year to be together, some for 25 years.”
Whether you’re a sled ready to steer your snowmobile around the next bend in the forest or a quiet sports fan who gravitates to cross-country skis and snowshoes, Munising can be a winter playground.
“There really is something that suits almost everyone,” Cearley said.
Some of the most popular activities, according to the Munising Visitors Bureau:
Located in Algiers County, the Munising region has over 300 miles of groomed trails. The decor alone is worth the trip. The trails pass through stands of hardwood and fir forests, frozen waterfalls and ice caves. Due to its location, Munising is a great place to make a “home base” for a multi-day trip, Cearley said.
“Our trail system is laid out with plenty of places to stop and grab a bite to eat or warm up.”
Snowmobile trail design and signage are known to be easy to follow. “It’s very clearly signposted and easy to get around. I think that’s one of the big advantages,” she said.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
For the latest conditions and trail maps, visit MunisingSnow.com.
Do you want to rent a snowmobile once there? To verify Munising Snowmobile Rental.
There are a handful of hotels and other accommodations that cater to winter vacationers. Check here.
Ice caves and ice climbing
Whether you want to dive into the challenging sport of ice climbing or simply wander indoors and explore the frozen curtains of waterfalls and ice caves, Munising has plenty of places for that chilly adventure. Most of Munising’s ice caves can be reached on foot or by a short snowmobile ride. For all recommended spots, check here. Two addresses not to be missed:
- The Eben Ice Caves are located 15 miles west of Munising in the Rock River Canyon Wilderness. They are part of the Hiawatha National Forest. These ice caves are actually an area of tall vertical ice walls that form when water seeps through rock and then freezes. It’s a great place to explore.
- Feeling really adventurous? If conditions permit, visit the ice caves at Grand Island National Recreation Area. Grand Island sits in Lake Superior, located just half a mile off the coast of Munising. If the ice is thick enough, you can snowmobile to the island and pass caves, lighthouses, and frozen waterfalls. It is an ideal place for a day trip.
Cross-country skiing at Valley Spur
Despite its popularity among snowmobilers, Munising has its own fanbase among the ‘silent sports’ crowd. Whether your perfect day includes gliding for miles on cross-country skis or hiking a snowshoe trail, you’ll find an abundance of trails waiting for you here.
Valley Spur is a must-visit destination for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing enthusiasts. Located about 8 km from Munising, it has a 27 km network of groomed trails. To get started, choose one of 10 loops that wind through the Hiawatha National Forest, all with varying degrees of difficulty.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
Want to discover other cross-country skiing or snowshoeing spots around Munising? Here is a list.
Winter hiking and trekking
Check out the Munising Bay Trail Network: During the summer, this trail network is a hotspot for mountain bikers and runners. In winter, it attracts snowshoe enthusiasts and hikers. For maps, go to https://www.mbtn.org/trails
Bruno’s Run is a pretty perfect place for a snowshoe adventure. The scenic nine-mile loop offers rustic beauty. Here is a description: “The trail meanders along a multitude of small lakes imprinted in this relatively young glacial plain, taking adventurers into gently rolling country. Further on, the trail goes through foothills, along lookouts and through valleys. For more information on Bruno’s Run, check out this US National Forest site.