If you can walk you can snowshoe. It doesn’t matter if you’re 5 years old or 50, snowshoeing is one of the easiest ways to get outside in the winter and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has no shortage of places to explore. There are frozen waterfalls, quiet wooded areas, and the moon-like frozen shores of Lake Superior to keep you busy. Here at Down Wind Sports we have a large selection of rental snowshoes for you to try, and if you decide it’s something you really enjoy we will reimburse you for the rental if you decide to buy.
Marquette Area Snowshoeing
Eben Ice Caves
With the huge amounts of snowfall the the Upper Peninsula receives our snowshoeing season begins early! One of our favorite snowshoe destinations is the Eben Ice Caves of Rock River Canyon Wilderness Area. Located near Eben Junction, this hike meanders through a wooded area for about twenty minutes to where the snowshoer will access the ridge of the canyon. Follow the ridge a short distance where you will come upon the top of the ice caves. Follow the trail around to the base of the caves where you can walk behind this impressive ice sheet!
Yellow Dog Falls
The Yellow Dog River runs wild through Marquette County and has many small waterfalls and rapids. Yellow Dog Falls is one of the larger and more accessible features on the river. The river steadily descends on it way down to Lake Superior, and there are at least seven drops of varying sizes. Many are only a few feet in height. At Yellow Dog Falls the river drops over 20 feet in a short distance. This feature is distinctive because of the large boulder that splits the falls in two. The falls are located off of County Road 510. Just south of the bridge over the Yellow Dog River there is a small parking area on the east side. There you will find a trail to the main falls, which are about 1 mile downstream.
The true enjoyment of this trail comes from traveling through a deep mix of hardwood and pine decorated by massive rock outcrops. Wildlife can be frequently seen on the trail. The higher degree of difficulty in the climb can be very self-satisfying and another attraction of this walk is solitude. The view from the summit is spectacular with Sugar Loaf Mountain and Lake Superior in the distance. Note the summit can be cold, windy and icy in the winter!
Houghton Area Snowshoeing
Hungarian Falls is one of the most popular snowshoeing destinations in the Keweenaw. There are actually two main sets of falls with the largest being ~60ft from top to bottom. The hike in is relatively short and the scenery is spectacular. You start at the bottom of a seasonal road on 6th Street in Tamrack City, then follow the snowmobile trail to the left until you pick up the footpath on the near side of the bridge across the ravine. From there you will follow the ridge to the top of the largest set of falls. To make this a loop, just find a place to cross the river, then follow the opposite ridge down until you run into the bridge. This trail is well traveled and getting lost is almost impossible.
Mt. Lookout is located about 35 minutes north of Houghton on the Keweenaw Peninsula just outside the town of Eagle Harbor. The trail starts next to the Nature Conservancy sign just outside of town along the Eagle Harbor Cutoff Road. From the trailhead to the top is about 6km. This is a great hike through the quiet of the woods ending with panoramic views of the Keweenaw and Lake Superior. Definitely a little off the beaten path, but a favorite of ours for sure.
Breakers is the name for the small park located at the end of Canal Road here in Houghton. Canal Road follows the waterway the separates Houghton and Hancock all the way to Lake Superior. At the end is a small parking lot and the perfect spot to start exploring the wild and crazy ice formations that happen when you combine strong winds, water and cold weather. Depending on how far you are willing to travel there are many small waterfalls and seeps that create large curtains of ice on the sandstone cliffs that are about 1 mile south of the parking lot.
For more information about snowshoeing in the U.P. please stop by one of our stores!