Snowmobiling in Michigan

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With nearly 6,500 miles of snowmobile trails and a lot of “lake-effect” snow, Michigan  is  a “snowmobiling heaven”.  Just to give you an idea, let me quote few numbers. The average annual snowfall for some northern Michigan cities is as follows: Alpena – 58 inches, Cadillac – 75, Gaylord – 109, Grayling – 105, and finally, Marquette (in Upper Peninsula) – 149 inches!  So, as you can guess, snowmobiling is a popular winter activity in the state.

If you would like to try snowmobiling yourself, northern Michigan is the place to go. If you are new to the sport, or coming up for a winter vacation to Michigan, and would like to try snowmobiling for yourself, there are plenty of places where you can rent them. The rental is not cheap. It will run you about $200 for a day. If you decide to join the organized tour, it can cost you about $100 per hour.  Additionally, unless you bring your own, you will need to rent a helmet. If you bring your own, check that it meets Michigan DNR requirements.

You can find a snowmobile rental places at different locations throughout Michigan here.

Snowmobiling in Michigan

Snowmobiling in Michigan

There are few things to consider though…

The most important thing to remember is to bring some really warm clothing, like insulated pants, jackets, boots and gloves. When you riding, because of the air moving around you at relatively high speed, it is like being outside on a cold and very windy day. Even though, you are protected to some degree by the windshield, the wind chill will be a  significant factor to consider.

Snowmobiling in Michigan

Map of snowmobile trails in the southern Lower Peninsula (courtesy of MI DNR)

Your snowmobile needs to have a trail permit. If you are going to rent, the rental machine most likely will have one, but just double check. If you are bringing your own machine, you can get one here.

The snowmobile must also be registered, either in Michigan, or your state or province.

Map of snowmobile trails in the northern Lower Peninsula (courtesy of MI DNR)

Map of snowmobile trails in the northern Lower Peninsula (courtesy of MI DNR)

It also would be a good idea to become familiar with Michigan’s snowmobiling rules and regulations.

You need to be aware, that there are special rules limiting snowmobile operating by minors in Michigan. For example, 12-year old cannot cross a bridge or street operating snowmobile. Additionally, minors under 17 must have a safety certificate to ride a snowmobile in the state.

Snowmobiling in Michigan

Map of snowmobile trails in the eastern Upper Peninsula (courtesy of MI DNR)

A lot of additional information can be found on two state websites: Pure Michigan – Snowmobiling  and Michigan DNR – Snowmobiling.

Have fun and keep warm while you are out there. Michigan winters tend to be cold lately.

Map of snowmobile trails in the western Upper Peninsula (courtesy of MI DNR)

Map of snowmobile trails in the western Upper Peninsula (courtesy of MI DNR)

Rich S. is a lifetime photographer and traveler based in Metro Detroit area. He has been traveling the Great Lakes area for over 30 years. Follow his blog about his trips, interesting activities and destinations in the Great Lakes region.


  1. Johnk949

    May 5, 2018 at 4:06 AM

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100 positive. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks ckegebeagcee

    • Rich S.

      May 10, 2018 at 4:06 PM

      If you are not “web savvy”, as you mentioned, it might cost you a little. If you can do most work yourself, it can be fairly cheap. As far as recommendations, I would advise you to search for “starting a blog”, or just “blogging” on Pinterest. You will find there number of articles addressing all aspects of getting into blogging, website creation, resources, topics, etc… Good luck!