Winter on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is special. Light fluffy snow covering the trees and trail make it ideal for photography, skiing, or snowshoeing through a secluded winter wonderland! Most of the trail is groomed in the winter with a corduroy base for skate skiing, snowshoeing, and classic tracks on the outside for classic cross-country skiing.
The SBHT is groomed by the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. The cost of grooming is paid through donations from people like you! Please click here to support the trail.
If you want to be on our SBHT Winter Ski Condition e-mail Report, click here to request being added to the list.
Trail Ski Conditions
Last Grooming: Saturday, January 2, 2016
The trail was groomed from Glen Arbor to Empire. The Ginzu Groomer was used to loosen the hard pack and lay down soft corduroy. We did set classic tracks on the outside on most of the trail – Exceptions were hills between the Dune Climb and Scenic Drive and around the driveways south of the Dune Climb.
Ski Conditions are EXCELLENT. Base = 4″ compacted – so you won’t hit any pavement with your ski poles. Because fewer people use the section from Empire to the Dune Climb, that section of trail is really sweet.
The SBHT north of Glen Arbor is not groomed, but the snow is great for backcountry skiing and the trail connects to the Bay View Trail north of the Homestead for some great views and backcountry skiing.
Also, I noticed a lot of families sledding down the Dune Climb! What fun! The snow is great for a family sledding outing!
The section of trail between the Dune Climb and Scenic Drive has some driveways and steep hills.
Trailhead parking is available on Forest Haven Road in Glen Arbor, Glen Haven, the Dune Climb, Pierce Stocking Drive, and the corner of Voice Rd and Bar Lake Rd on the north end of Empire. The new section of trail north of Glen Arbor has trailhead parking at Crystal View and the Bay View Trailhead on Thoreson Road.
The trail from Glen Arbor to the Dune Climb (4 miles) is relatively flat with beautiful scenery. A loop trail through DH Day Campground and a loop just south of the Dune Climb have been added this year. You will have to remove your skis to cross M-109 and in Glen Haven.
The section from Empire to Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive (3 miles) is also beautiful, but has more challenging slopes. This section will be groomed without classic tracks because of the hills. It will be about 10 feet wide corduroy.
Between the Dune Climb and Pierce Stocking Drive, the trail crosses multiple driveways climbs significant hills, so this section may not be groomed. There is no good way to ski between the Scenic Drive and the Dune Climb at this time.
The trail north of Glen Arbor – from Crystal View trailhead to Port Oneida Road is open for skiing but is not groomed. This area is beautiful and a great place to do backcountry skiing. It has several wooded hills and borders on historic farm fields. The Bay View Trail connects to the SBHT near the Homestead. It offers great vistas of Sleeping Bear Point, Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands. There is a trailhead with parking lot at Thoreson Road.
Etiquette for Fat-Tire Bikes on the SBHT
•Please do not ride on the SBHT if conditions are too soft. If you are leaving a rut deeper than an inch, having a hard time riding in a straight line, or pushing your bike, the snow is too soft and you should not ride your bike on the trail.
•Tires must be 3.7″ or bigger.
•Tire pressure must be under 8 psi.
• Do not ride on classic tracks.
• Bikes yield to skiers.
• Stay to right side of trail (not in the classic tracks) at all times
• Give skate skiers a wide berth.
•Be an ambassador for the sport – stay polite, educate other bikers, discourage bad behavior, follow the rules, support grooming, and we’ll all have a good time this winter.