A Ski Trail in the Heart of Town
Sometimes you just want to ski all day. And sometimes you just want a quick Nordic workout before heading out for dinner or turning in for the night. Urban trails are for the latter. Trail systems right in the middle of the city where you live or are staying for the weekend. Skiing and snowshoe opportunities not more than five minutes from your motel room. Here are our favorites:
One of the best in-the-heart-of-town skis is Gaylord’s Aspen Park. Only four blocks from a K-Mart, this 100-acre city park features rolling terrain of hardwoods and hemlocks, 2 miles of trails groomed for classic Nordic skiing and trailside lights for night skiing. Located between Petoskey and Harbor Springs, a short drive from resorts and hotels in either town, is Petoskey State Park with a groomed 1.5-mile loop that at times puts you near the frozen sculptures stacked along Little Traverse Bay.
They have been downhill skiing at Hanson Hills Recreation Area in Grayling since 1929. The city-operated facility not only offers affordable downhill skiing but also snowboarding, tubing, snowshoe trails, and more than 35 kilometers of groomed Nordic ski trails along a hilly and wooded terrain.
In Traverse City they call the hills and trails perched above the western neighborhoods “the big Hickory.” Hickory Meadows and the Hickory Hills Ski Area lie adjacent to each other and offer more than 8 kilometers of trails including a kilometer lit for night skiing. Likewise, in Charlevoix adjoining North Point Nature Preserve and Mt. McSauba Recreation Area can be combined for short ski with access to Lake Michigan and almost a mile of lit trail for a night skiing.
In the Upper Peninsula, there’s seemingly a groomed trail in the middle of most towns. Our favorites are Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming and Michigan Tech Trails in Houghton. Al Quaal has 20 kilometers of groomed for ski trails that includes the Teal Lake Trail, a scenic 4-kilometer intermediate loop that is lit for night skiing. The Michigan Tech Trails is an amazing 35-kilometer system that begins on campus across from the Student Development Complex and during the winter is groomed daily. With Houghton’s average snowfall of 250 inches, the ski season this far north begins in early December and continues well into April and sometimes May.
Mt McSauba Road
Charlevoix, MI 49720
Phone: (231) 347-0991
Web site: http://www.landtrust.org
2475 M-119 Hwy
Petoskey, MI 49770
Phone: (231) 347-2311
239 Commerce Blvd.
Gaylord, MI 49735
Phone: (800) 345-8621
09223 McSauba Rd
Charlevoix, MI 49720
Phone: (231) 547-3267
Web site: http://www.cityofcharlevoix.org/city-departments/TheCityofCharlevoix-ParksandRecreationMt.McSauba.html
Traverse City, MI
Region: NorthwestHickory Meadows is a classic urban trail system that is perched high above city neighborhoods but bounded on three sides by even taller hills. It offers 2 miles of unpaved paths that wander over hills, across meadows and through woodlands. Overall the hiking is easy but the park is located at the foot of the Hickory Hills Ski Area where the ambitious can finished their outing with a 230-foot climb to the top of Hickory Hill itself. In the summer, Hickory Meadows is a popular destination for hikers, dog walkers and families looking for an easy outing on their mountain bikes. In the winter cross-country skiers arrive to follow the well-marked trail system along skier-set tracks.