Celebrate ‘Shoe Year’s Eve’ at MI State Parks and Recreation Areas
For anyone looking for an unusual and inexpensive way to
celebrate New Year’s Eve in Michigan, the Department of Natural
Resources and Environment offers “Shoe Year’s Eve,” a great
opportunity to grab the GPS, explore thousands of acres of scenic
state land by snowshoe, and then relax in a cozy cabin nestled
among some of Michigan’s most beautiful natural destinations.
“This has become a ‘don’t miss’ annual tradition with my
friends,” said DNRE recreation programmer Maia Stephens. “For
years, we’ve donned our headlights, snowshoed the campground at
night, enjoyed a potluck in the cabin, and then warmed our toes by
campfire. No crowds, no dangerous driving – just a chance to relax,
reflect and reconnect with those who mean the most.”
And There’s More…
Stephens said for those who have already made plans to ring in
the new year, there is plenty of time and ample opportunity to
enjoy other great winter experiences at Michigan’s state parks and
“You’d like to build your own snowshoes? Ski by lantern light?
Enjoy a serene, guided winter hike? Michigan’s state parks have all
that and more,” said Stephens. She cited more than 50 cabins (some
that are “ski-in” only), yurts and lodges that are available
throughout the winter and offer a quiet getaway, as well as several
campgrounds for those who want a unique winter camping experience
complete with modern amenities.
“Snow or not, our state parks offer plenty of opportunities for
guests to enjoy Michigan’s winter magic and great outdoors during
this special time of year,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNRE’s
Recreation Division. “Groomed ski trails, old-growth forests,
riverside cabins … these are just a few of the wonderful
recreational opportunities you can take advantage of during the
With the offering of the Recreation Passport (which replaced the
annual motor vehicle permit Oct. 1), Stephens said now is the
perfect time to get outdoors at Michigan state parks. “The
Recreation Passport is just $10 when Michigan residents renew their
license plates through Secretary of State,” she explained. “The
Passport is your ticket to visit all 98 state parks and recreation
areas as many times as you want, for the duration of your
A list follows of scheduled snowshoe, cross-country skiing and
other winter events at Michigan state parks and recreation areas.
To check the latest up-to-date event listings, get a list of
groomed ski trails, and available winter lodging, visit
The Department of Natural Resources and Environment is committed
to the conservation, protection, management, and accessible use and
enjoyment of the state’s environment, natural resources, and
related economic interests for current and future generations.
Learn more at www.michigan.gov/dnre.
Ski, Snowshoe and Other Winter Events Scheduled at Michigan
State Parks and Recreation Areas
Dec. 11-March 26 – Hartwick Pines State Park (Grayling)
Depending on what outdoor activities folks are looking for, from
building snowshoes to guided winter hikes, Hartwick Pines offers it
all. For more information, call (989) 348-7068.
Dec. 11-12: Snowshoe Lacing Workshop
Jan. 8: Guided Snowshoe Hike, 1 p.m.
Jan. 15: Cross-country Skiing by Lantern Light, 6-9 p.m.
Jan. 15-16: Snowshoe Lacing Workshop
Jan. 22: Guided Snowshoe Hike, 1p.m.
Jan. 29: Cross-country Skiing by Lantern Light, 6-9 p.m.
Feb. 5: Guided Snowshoe Hike, 1 p.m.
Feb. 12: Cross-country Skiing by Lantern Light, 6-9 p.m.
Feb. 19: Guided Snowshoe Hike, 1 p.m.
Feb. 26: Cross-country Skiing by Lantern Light, 6-9 p.m.
Feb. 26-27: Snowshoe Lacing Workshop
March 5: Guided Snowshoe Hike, 1 p.m.
March 26: Maple Syrup Day, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 18 – Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Enjoy a snowshoe-making workshop on Dec. 18, or take advantage of
lantern-lit cross country skiing and snowshoeing every Saturday in
February! For the competitive snowshoer, on Feb. 20 Tahquamenon
Falls will host a snowshoe event sponsored by Great Lakes
Endurance, part of the Braveheart series 5K, 10K and 20K races. For
more information, call (906) 492-3415.
Late December-Feb. 28 – Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State
Recreation Area (Ontonagon)
Take in the scenery at one of Midwest’s few remaining large
wilderness areas on lantern-lit skiing/snowshoeing outings,
beginning over the Christmas holiday and every weekend through the
end of February. Contact the park headquarters to confirm dates and
times, (906) 885-5275.
Saturday, Jan. 15 – Sleeper State Park (Caseville)
Guests can try their hands (or feet!) on a lantern-lit,
cross-country ski and snowshoe event from 6-10 p.m. A 1.5-mile
trail will be lit by lanterns, with bonfire, beverages and snacks
provided. For more information, call (989) 856-4411.
Friday-Saturday, Jan. 21-22, and Feb. 4-5 – Sleepy Hollow State
Sleepy Hollow State Park gets in on the snowshoe-making fun, with
classes in January and February. For more information, call the
park at (517) 661-6217, or contact Clyde Risdon at the Risdon Rigs
Saturday, Feb. 5 and 19 – P.H. Hoeft State Park (Rogers
Visitors can enjoy the northern Michigan scenery during two
lantern-lit ski events. For more information, call (989)
Saturday, Feb. 12 – Brimley State Park
Brimley State Park will offer a snowshoe-building class starting at
9 a.m., where participants will learn to build Alaskan-style
snowshoes near a cozy winter fireplace. Marshmallows will be
available for roasting, and visitors are welcome to bring their own
hot dogs or other campfire-cooked food for a fun winter picnic.
Because space is limited, reservations must be made by Jan. 21,
with full payment received by Feb. 4. The cost of the kits is $159
for the neoprene-style lacing and $149 for the ballistic nylon
lacing (the latter requires varnishing at home prior to use). For
more information, call Charlie Maltby at Brimley State Park, (906)
Saturday, Feb. 12 – Port Crescent State Park (Port Austin)
Port Crescent State Park, at the tip of Michigan’s “thumb,” offers
visitors the chance to get a close-of view of this area’s winter
wonderland on a lantern-lit, cross-country ski event. For more
information, call (989) 738-8663.
Saturday, Feb. 19 – Bewabic State Park (Crystal Falls)
Visitors are invited to take part in the park’s cross-country ski
event in the heart of the Iron County Heritage Trail system, from
6-8 p.m. Refreshments and a bonfire will be available to skiers
before and after the trip along roughly 2.5 miles of lighted ski
trails. For more information, call (906) 875-3324.
Saturday, Feb. 19 – Wells State Park (Cedar River)
Guests are invited to chill out at the park’s lantern-lit ski
event, and then warm up at the trailhead and warming fires in the
historic trailside shelters along the way with hot cocoa and good
conversation. Snowshoe rentals will be available. For more
information, call (906) 863-9747.
Saturday, Feb. 26 – Cheboygan State Park
The park, with beautiful views of the Lake Huron shoreline, will
host its popular lantern-lit ski tour. For more details, call the
park at (231) 627-2811.