Time To Make Tracks
By Beth Milligan | Jan. 20, 2020
The air is cold, the flakes are flying, and the woods of northern Michigan are the least crowded you’ll ever see them. In this week's Northern Express - sister publication of The Ticker - writer Laurel Sutherland shows you how to take advantage of the weather and hop on your classic or (where allowed) skate skis and glide onto a gorgeous winter trail.
The three-mile Kettles Trail loop is a new, easy-to-access Nordic ski venue. It opened in fall 2019, adding about 100 miles of hiking trails to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. As a bonus, the trail is in a snowbelt, which means frequent fresh powder. Those looking for something closer to downtown Traverse City can stop by Hickory Hills, whichs offer more than 5k of accessible Nordic ski trails — for both classic and skate skiers — and also now boasts a 1k lit loop for convenient and safe night skiing.
Looking to hit the road to explore more of the region? Check out Forbush Corner Nordic ski resort near Grayling, which has the largest fleet of Nordic grooming equipment in the Midwest. It offers miles of impeccably groomed trails for skate and classic skiers of any skill level. In Indian River, Wildwood Hills Pathway is wildly popular among northern Michigan classic skiers, with a heavily forested trail system that runs along ridges and gentle ascents. In the Manistee/Cadillac area, meanwhile, Big M Cross Country Ski trails offer 35km of classic ski trails through the heart of the rolling hills of Manistee National Forest. Though the ski area is partially machine groomed, it’s made up almost entirely of narrow, natural ski trails that jog through mature hardwoods and pines.
Read more about these and other cross-country trails - plus upcoming cross-country events and races - in this week's Northern Express, available to read online and on newsstands at nearly 700 spots in 14 counties across northern Michigan.