SBHT Winter Trails Report

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. 


Ski Conditions – Posted 12/30/20

We received 1 to 2 inches of fresh snow last night. Unfortunately, that is still not enough for us to run the groomer. Most areas have a 1-2″ base with 1-2″ of fresh snow on top, but some areas are bare where the wind blows the snow off the trail (Glen Haven, Dune Climb, etc.).
Conditions are the same on backcountry hiking trails. Backcountry skiing at Bay View, Alligator Hill, and Windy Moraine is pretty good, but with a thin base. Platte Plains and Old Indian Trails have a really thin base.
If you are hiking on rustic trails in the park (like Empire Bluff or Pyramid Point) your best bet is walking with good tread shoes or micro-spikes or Yak Tracks. You might also want to use trekking poles. As these trails get more use, they will become slippery and icy, so enhanced traction with spikes will be helpful.

Ski Conditions – Details

  • Empire to Dune Climb – NOT GROOMED – thin snow covering.
  • Dune Climb to Glen Haven – NOT GROOMED – thin snow covering and some areas with no snow.
  • Glen Haven to Glen Arbor – NOT GROOMED – thin snow covering and some areas with no snow near Glen Haven.
  • Crystal View Trailhead to Port Oneida Road –  NOT GROOMED – thin snow covering.
  • Port Oneida Road to Bohemian Road – NOT GROOMED – thin snow covering.
  • Backcountry Park hiking trails – NOT GROOMED – thin snow covering
  • Palmer Woods – NOT GROOMED – 2-3″ fresh snow covering a 4-6″ base.

The SBHT is groomed by the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. This program is supported through donations from people like you!

We are an all-volunteer organization that partners with the National Park to help maintain and heighten visitor experiences to the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore.  

Please donate to support the trail and programs in the park. 

Subscribe to our trail grooming e-newsletter. 

Trail Description

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. You may 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 with one set of  classic tracks to allow for wide corduroy for skate skiing.

The trail north of Glen Arbor – from Crystal View trailhead to Port Oneida Road is open for skiing. This section will be groomed again this year. There is also trailhead parking on Thoreson Road at the Bay View trail parking lot.

The newest section of trail from Port Oneida Road to Bohemian Road (CR-669) is open for skiing but is not groomed. Some areas of this section are so close to the highway that snowplows throw sand and salt on the trail.

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 section of trail north of Glen Arbor has trailhead parking at Crystal View Trailhead, the Bay View Trailhead on Thoreson Road, and on Port Oneida Road.

Download our Ski Brochure

Download a Printable Map 

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, please 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.


Skiing Trails Around the Park

  • A Park Pass is required – leave the pass in your car on the dash or in view.
  • Fat Tire Bikes are ONLY allowed on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. 
  • Pets are not allowed on ski trails during winter ski season.
  • If you snowshoe or hike on backcountry trails, please stay out of the ski tracks.
Green – Easiest
  • Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail
    • Glen Arbor to Glen Haven
    • Glen Haven to Dune Climb
    • Glen Arbor to Port Oneida Road (although there are a few hills in this section, they aren’t too long or steep.)
  • Old Indian Trail
  • Platte Plains Trail
  • Good Harbor Trail
  • Pierce Stocking Drive – if you go opposite the normal one-way driving direction to #9 Lake Michigan Overlook and then turn around and come back.
Blue – Moderate Difficulty
  • Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail
    • Empire to Dune Climb
    • Near the Homestead Resort
  • Windy Moraine Trail
  • Bay View Trail
  • Alligator Hill Trail
  • Kettles Trail (except one short section of the north loop is Black – Very Difficult.) 
Black – Most Difficult
  • Pierce Stocking Drive – if you go counter clockwise – normal driving direction.
    Some steep hills. If you ski out and turn around at the covered bridge, it would be easy.
  • Shauger Hill Trail

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