Best Places to Snowmobile in Southeast Michigan and Beyond

Tackle these sanctioned snowmobile spots – including the Holly Recreation Area and Sleepy Hollow State Park. Check out our list of Michigan snowmobiling trails to explore in 2017-18.

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Michiganders don’t need to travel far to experience the winter wonderland thanks to this list of best places to snowmobile (we also have an list of cool places to ski and snowboard, if that’s more your thing!). These sanctioned snowmobiling trails in metro Detroit and beyond will introduce you to the unencumbered outdoor beauty of the Lower Peninsula. The trails are open to snowmobilers with their own snowmobiles.

Be sure to check the websites for the latest trail updates. All routes require a 4- to 6-inch accumulation of snow. Note that many of these trails are either located in state parks or take riders through public parks, so it’s important to keep an eye open for pedestrians and other motor vehicles and stick to the trails. Helmets are a must. When possible, avoid crossing frozen bodies of water. All snowmobile trails in Michigan are open from Dec. 1 to March 31, annually, snow accumulation permitting. The trails listed are open 24/7 unless otherwise specified on the respective websites. Michigan Snowmobile Permits are required of all riders, and all state parks require recreation passports.

Alcona Snowmobile Trail System

  • County: Oscoda and Alcona counties
  • Phone: 989-739-0728 (Huron Shores Ranger Station)

This 45-mile long trail has one Forest Service operated trailhead located north of Glennie near the Jewell Lake Campground, where you can find temporary toilets for snowmobilers. Parking is located outside of Barton City, also the closest city for gas, at the ball field. The linear route links to the Iosco and Oscoda counties’ snowmobile trails and takes riders through a primarily wooded area with rolling to slightly hilly terrain.

Bald Mountain Recreation Area

  • Address: 1330 E. Greenshield Road, Lake Orion
  • County: Oakland County
  • Phone: 248-693-6767
  • Recreation passport required

Eight miles of groomed cross-country and snowmobiling trails take riders through a picturesque winter wonderland right here in southeast Michigan. The rugged terrain turns the park into a destination-worthy sledding spot, too, and several lakes permit fishing once the ice thickens.

Bluegill Boat Launch

  • Address: 4045 Coldwater Road, Flint
  • County: Genesee County
  • Phone: 810-736-7100

Entrances are on Coldwater Road at Center Road and on Genesee Road south of Stanley Road. The area is open for snowmobiling when the terrain’s frozen and there’s at least a 3-inch accumulation of snow. Remember that snow accumulation isn’t an indicator of frozen terrain. The area around the lake is off limits to sleds but available for ice fishing.

Buell Lake County Park

  • Address: 14098 N. Genesee Road, Clio
  • County: Genesee County
  • Phone: 810-736-7100

This 213-acre park is open for sleds when the terrain is frozen and there’s at least a 3-inch accumulation of snow. Remember that snow accumulation isn’t a sure indicator of frozen terrain. The area around the lake is off limits to sleds but accessible for ice fishing.

Deckerville Area Snowmobile Trails

  • County: Huron and Sanilac counties
  • Phone: 810-376-4909 (Thumbs Up Snowmobile Club)

North of Macomb County, the thumb of the mitten cradles a snowmobile trail system along the shore of Lake Huron. Take your pick among six trailheads in Sandusky, Deckerville, Forester, Minden and Ruth, the locations for which you can find on the Thumbs Up Snowmobile Club’s website. TUSC urges all snowmobilers to not stray from the marked trails since all routes take riders through private property.

Duck Lake State Park

  • Address: 3560 Memorial Drive, Muskegon
  • County: Muskegon County
  • Phone: 231-744-3480
  • Recreation passport required

If you’re able to brave the bitter wind rolling off Lake Michigan in the winter, you’re in for an exhilarating ride. Race around the towering sand dune, through the mature hardwood forests and across the open, frozen meadows. All 728 acres are closed to vehicle traffic during the winter but are easily accessible by skis and snowmobiles.

Everett A. Cummings Event Center

  • Address: 6130 E. Mt. Morris Road, Mt. Morris
  • County: Genesee County
  • Phone: 810-736-7100

The main gates open to sleds during the winter season when the terrain is frozen and there’s at least a 3-inch accumulation of snow. Remember that snow accumulation isn’t an indicator of frozen terrain. Keep your sleds to the designated trails; horseback riders use the equestrian trails 8 a.m.-sunset year-round.

Fort Custer Recreation Area

  • Address: 5163 Fort Custer Drive, Augusta
  • County: Kalamazoo County
  • Phone: 269-731-4200
  • Recreation passport required

The trails run along three lakes, the Kalamazoo River, oak barrens and oak-hickory forests and across frozen prairie restoration sites. During the winter, 25 miles of multi-purpose trails permit snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and even dog sledding. The four color-coded loops indicate different levels of difficulty and varying terrain.

Goldenrod Disc Golf Course

  • Address: 6405 Irish Road, Davison
  • County: Genesee County
  • Phone: 810-736-7100

The area is open to snowmobiles when the terrain is frozen and there’s at least a 3-inch accumulation of snow. Remember that snow accumulation isn’t a sure indicator of frozen terrain. The 18-basket disc golf course complete with rubber tee-pads is open 8 a.m.-sunset year-round; try your hand at the sport this winter season if you can brave the chill.

Highland Recreation Area

  • Address: 5200 Highland Road, White Lake
  • County: Oakland County
  • Phone: 248-889-3750
  • Recreation passport required

Snowmobiling is permitted in designated regions on the west side of Duck Lake Road. The routes take riders through acres of frosty forests interspersed with the occasional frozen lake or marsh.

Holloway Reservoir Regional Park

  • Address: 7240 N. Henderson Road, Davison
  • County: Genesee and Lapeer counties
  • Phone: 810-736-7100

This 1,975-acre impoundment on the Flint River permits snowmobiling and tobogganing when the terrain is frozen and there’s at least three inches of snow on the ground. The river is off limits to snowmobiles.

Holly Recreation Area

  • Address: 8100 Grange Hall Road, Holly
  • County: Oakland County
  • Phone: 248-634-8811
  • Recreation passport required

Located between Pontiac and Flint, this park is less than an hour’s drive from metro Detroit. Rolling acres through woodlands permit scenic views of the frozen landscape. Note that snowmobiling’s only permitted in areas west of I-75. Ten miles of trails near the heart of the park accommodate cross-country skiers. First timers may not fancy these trails, as they’re not groomed.

Iosco County Snowmobile Trail

  • County: Iosco County
  • Phone: 989-739-0728 (Huron Shores Ranger Station)

This groomed trail has three trailheads outside Tawas and one in Oscoda. Both cities offer a number of food and fuel options. King’s Corner Road, on the boarder of Iosco and Alcona counties introduces snowmobilers to many more miles of snowmobile trails in Alcona County.

Island Lake State Recreation Area

  • Address: 6301 Kensington Road, Brighton
  • County: Livingston County
  • Phone: 810-229-7067
  • Recreation passport required

Here, 4,000 acres permit a variety of winter activities. Marked trails are designated for cross-country skiers. Hills of various heights let sledders tackle different terrain, and sanctioned snowmobiling is open on all unpaved trails.

Kal-Haven Trail State Park

  • County: Van Buren and Kalamazoo counties
  • Phone: 269-674-8011

This 33.5-mile former railroad links the city of South Haven to Kalamazoo. The route crosses over bridges and passes through historic towns where you can grab a snack, fuel up or appreciate some notable urban backdrops. Keep aware of motor traffic, pedestrians and cross-country skiers using sections of the trail. Trailheads are at Kal-Haven Trail Sesquicentennial State Park in South Haven and 4143 10th St. N. in Kalamazoo.

Linden County Park

  • Address: 15349 S. Linden Road, Linden
  • County: Genesee County
  • Phone: 810-736-7100

Eighty acres on the east side of the park is open to snowmobiles when the terrain is frozen and there’s at least a 3-inch accumulation of snow. Note that snow accumulation isn’t an indicator of frozen terrain. On the west side of the park, there’s an intermediate sledding and tobogganing hill. The park has non-groomed cross-country ski trails, too, for those looking to really move their legs.

Metamora-Hadley Recreation Area

  • Address: 3871 Herd Road, Metamora
  • County: Lapeer County
  • Phone: 810-797-4439
  • Recreation passport required

Just an hour north of Detroit, these 723 acres assure snowmobilers plenty of unbridled space around the 80-acre Lake Minnewanna, where plenty of outdoor enthusiasts try their luck at ice fishing every season. There are 6 miles of marked trails for those who appreciate a designated route. Riders may not use snowmobiles on the campground trail area.

Ogemaw Snowmobile Trail

  • County: Ogemaw County
  • Phone: 989-826-3252

This 105-mile trail system begins at the Iosco County line and travels east to west. There’s parking on Wickert Road and Butler Street. The trails take riders through the Huron-Manistee National Forest and north of Rose City, a quaint area where you can take your pick among hospitable restaurants.

Ortonville Recreation Area

  • Address: 5779 Hadley Road, Ortonville
  • County: Oakland County
  • Phone: 810-797-4439
  • Recreation passport required

The 9-mile equestrian trail is open during the winter season to sleds and takes riders through a wooded area, dotted with small lakes. The trailhead is north of Fox Lake Road and the route wanders through Hadley Hills, offering a secluded getaway from the metropolitan area.

Oscoda Snowmobile Trail

  • County: Oscoda County
  • Phone: 989-826-3252 (Mio Ranger District)

This snowmobile trail has three trailheads in Grayling and two in West Branch. Both cities have plenty of food and fuel options.

Pontiac Lake Recreation Area

  • Address: 7800 Gale Road, Waterford
  • County: Oakland County
  • Phone: 248-666-1020
  • Recreation passport required

Here, your sled can fly through a mixture of frozen old farm fields and mature forests. While there are designated trails signified by color-coded signage, snowmobilers are free to go off road. Pontiac Lake serves as a scenic backdrop for visitors tackling the rolling terrain.

Richfield County Park

  • Address: 6322 N. Irish Road, Davison
  • County: Genesee County
  • Phone: 810-736-7100

Most of the 345 acres that comprise this park are open to snowmobiles when the terrain is frozen and there’s at least three inches of snow on the ground. Remember that snow accumulation isn’t an indicator of frozen terrain. The south side of the park is open for cross-country skiers too. Only the north end of the park is closed to snowmobilers.

Sleepy Hollow State Park

  • Address: 7835 E. Price Road, Laingsburg
  • County: Shiawassee County
  • Phone: 517-651-6217
  • Recreation passport required

Snowmobiling is permitted on the west end of the park. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing takes place on the east side of the park, and ice fishers can take to frozen Lake Ovid to try their luck. Just 20 minutes north of Lansing, this state park takes riders through frozen prairies, hardwood and pine forests.

Van Buren Trail State Park

  • County: Van Buren County
  • Phone: 269-674-8011

This 14-mile trail runs from South Haven to Hartford on the former Toledo and South Haven railroad. Parking is available at the Harford trailhead on Prospect Street across from the high school. Glide through woodlands, meadows and across a bridge over the frozen Paw Paw River west of Hartford.

Waterloo Recreation Area

  • Address: 16345 McClure Road, Chelsea
  • County: Washtenaw County
  • Phone: 734-475-8307
  • Recreation passport required

Since Waterloo Recreation Area is the largest park in the Lower Peninsula at more than 20,000 acres, it’s recommended you view a detailed map of the area before you set out. Much of the land is open to snowmobilers. But be aware of your surroundings – sledders, skiers, hunters and ice fishermen (and women) use many of the same sections of trails during the winter season.

White Pine Trail

  • Address: 6093 E. M-115, Cadillac
  • County: Wexford and Kent counties
  • Phone: 616-874-7875

This trail is open for snowmobiling south of Cadillac to north of Rockford. The trailhead for Cadillac is on East 44 Road. North of Rockford, the Russell Road Staging Area has a large parking lot and trail access. Note that snowmobiling is permitted when a minimum of six inches of snow has accumulated on all areas of the trail.

Yankee Springs Recreation Area

  • Address: 2104 S. Briggs Road, Middleville
  • County: Barry County
  • Phone: 269-795-9081
  • Recreation passport required

This 5,200-acre park allots 10 acres of Nordic ski trails to cross-country skiers and snowshoers and much more open space to snowmobilers. Nine lakes offer ample space to ice fish, and don’t neglect the Devil’s Soupbowl, a glacially carved kettle formation accessible from the extensive trail system. All space is fair game for snowmobiles unless the trails are marked otherwise; for instance, the ski trails are not accessible to snowmobiles.

Did we miss your favorite snowmobiling spot? Tell us in the comments section below.

This post was originally published in 2015 and is updated regularly.

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