Things To Do in the Upper Peninsula in the Winter

Things To Do in the Upper Peninsula in the Winter

The East Branch of the Escanaba River The Escanaba River. Credit: Flickr.


When people think winter in Michigan, many people think uninhabitable, cold landscapes where the only activities available involve staying indoors, especially if you’re in the Upper Peninsula.

The truth could not be further from that misconception – there’s plenty to do in the U.P., no matter the season. This blog will detail some of the many things you can do in the U.P. in the winter.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Of course, there is plenty of skiing and snowboarding available throughout the U.P. Dozens of ski resorts and hundreds of miles of cross-country ski trails await you.

With over 40 ski areas, Michigan has a plethora of options for everyone from beginner skiiers to the most advanced snowboarders. The U.P. is home to 10 downhill ski and snowboard areas and 7 cross-country areas.

There are two ski jumps in the U.P. if you’re feeling adventurous, or you can enjoy the view and watch others jump.

For a day off the slopes, you can visit the US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in Ishpeming, the birthplace of organized skiing, and check out the skiing artifacts and collections found there.


Marquette, MI. Credit: Flickr.

In a place that gets up to 200 inches of snow every year, there is no better place to learn snowshoeing than the Upper Peninsula. You can find traditional snow shoes made from white ash crafted by artisans in Wetmore or check out snowshoeing trails at the Fumee Lake Natural Area.

There are 7 snowshoeing areas to choose from in the U.P. Snowshoeing is a great way to experience the tranquility of the forests and the natural beauty of Michigan.


Michigan has one of the most extensive interconnected snowmobile trail system, and the Upper Peninsula is home to more than 3,000 miles of groomed winter trails, perfect conditions for snowmobiling.

SnowGoer Magazine has rated the Upper Peninsula as the Best Overall Area in America for snowmobiling year after year. The Annual International 500 snowmobile race and the Michigan Snowmobile Festival are two great events for snowmobile enthusiasts.

The Escanaba area boasts both snowmobiling and non-motorized trails.

Credit: Flickr.

Ice Climbing or Ice Sailing

Escanaba is also a hub for ice sports with the Big and Little Bays de Noc. Take a hard-water boat onto one of the frozen bays and use the wind to sail across the frozen water.

The Upper Peninsula as a whole is great for ice climbing because of the ice curtains that form naturally in the winter. Climb intimidating ice-covered cliffs or just watch – you’re sure to be amazed.

Ice Fishing

For a more relaxing experience, ice fishing is a great experience in the U.P. Whether you decide to simply sit on an overturned bucket, or construct an elaborate ice shanty, you can fish for more than 150 species of fish found in Michigan. Just remember to get your fishing license and you’re set to go.

Dog Sledding and Skijoring

Dog sledding, and the related sport skijoring, where a person on skis leads a pack of dogs, are popular in the U.P. In Marquette, the Noquemanon Trail Network is a perfect place to take your four-legged friend out on the trails.

Watch a dog sled race in Marquette during the UP 200, in Calumet at the CopperDog 150, at the Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race or at the Kalakska Winterfest.


The Upper Peninsula Luge Club in Negaunee is the home to the only full-length natural luge track in the country, with a drop of over 280 feed and half a mile long.

The bottom section of the track is open to visitors of all ages so anyone can learn how to race down an icy luge track.

The truth is, with so many things to do in the U.P., you could spend your whole winter outdoors. No matter your interests, whether you’re looking for a day of extreme sports or a day of exploring nature, everything is right at your fingertips when you are in the U.P.