a couple snowshoeing on trail
  • Snowshoeing has been around for ages. It began as a way to get from one place to another when snow kept people from traveling. Today, snowshoeing is viewed as more of a fitness and recreational activity for many outdoor adventurists. 

    You can snowshoe anywhere on state land that is open to the public. If you are using trails groomed for cross-country skiing, please walk next to the groomed ski tracks.

    Before you go

    • Decide which trails you want to visit first. 
    • Check out the snowfall accumulation for the trail and then examine the tracks on the trail to see if they are groomed for cross-country skiing or snowmobiling. If they are groomed, walk next to the groomed part of the trail.
    • Make sure you have the right gear and plan ahead for the weather. Nothing can shorten your trip faster than cold fingers or wet toes. 
    • Stay dry, stay hydrated and layer your clothes. A non-cotton base layer, mid layer and outer layer will keep you the most comfortable. 

    Etiquette

    • Snowshoersare asked to travel to the side of the groomed cross-country ski tracks in order to avoid damage.
    • Know the terrain and trail conditions before riding.
    • Don’t block the trail – stay alert for other trail users.
    • Speak to other trail users, pass on the left and alert others before passing.
    • Leave no trace – pack it in; pack it out

    Tips for newbies

    • Most outdoor outfitters can help you find the right fit. The size depends on your height, weight and conditions. 
    • Snowshoeing is a fairly inexpensive sport to get started. You need snowshoes, some warm, waterproof clothing that you can layer and other basic safety items for any outdoor activity.
    • Ski poles are optional but tend to give you a better workout. 
    • Snowshoeing is a relatively simple sport. Walking in snowshoes is very similar to walking in any other shoes, but with a little bit wider stride so that you avoid stepping on the frame of the snowshoes. If space allows, do a U-turn instead of backing up. If you do not have that much room, carefully place one foot back and steady it before picking up the other foot so as not to lose balance. Sidestepping is the easiest way to climb a hill. 
    • You do not have to be in top shape to snowshoe; however, it helps to be somewhat active since it is an intense workout. So, make sure you bring water!  

    Rent

    If you are curious about snowshoeing and aren't ready to make an investment quite yet, there are many local outdoor outfitters or ski areas that rent. You can also visit Arrive Outdoors, our latest These Goods are Good for Michigan partner, to rent snowshoes and other winter weather gear. 

  • Parks and trails with snowshoe opportunities

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