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 – January 23, 2022

The Trail Crew was out in the Park this morning to check out ski conditions throughout Sleeping Bear Dunes to provide an update for this weekend. We are hoping for fresh snow on Monday and Tuesday, which, if we get it, will update the report. 

Fortunately temperatures have been cold, so the snow we do have is holding up pretty well. We have received less than one inch of fresh snow yesterday. This is too little for us to get the groomers out, but the little fresh snow we have received has softened the trails somewhat.

Ski conditions are generally “dust on crust”. In most places classic tracks are usable.

Heritage Trail Grooming Conditions: 

Empire to the Dune Climb: About 0.50″ of fresh snow on top of 2-3″ of compacted base. In the open areas around the Dune Climb and Glen Haven, all the fresh snow has been blown off and you just have the frozen base. Conditions in the wooded areas are better with a little fresh snow over a frozen base.

Dune Climb to Glen Arbor: About 0.5″ of fresh snow on top of 2-3″ of compacted base.

Glen Arbor (Crystal View Trailhead) to Lawr Farm (Wheeler Road): About 1.0″ of fresh snow on top of 2-3″ of compacted base.

Palmer Woods:

About 3″ of fresh snow on top of 3″ of compacted base. The Price Valley Trail has relatively good ski conditions.

Dune Climb Sledding:

Sand mixed with snow. I saw some families out sledding.

Backcountry ski and hiking trails (Old Indian, Platte Plains, Windy Moraine, Bay View, Good Harbor, Alligator Hill)

Many of our backcountry trails are compacted by snowshoers and hikers. We only had a light dusting of snow over the compacted base.

Popular Hiking Trails (Empire Bluffs, Pyramid Point):

These trails are icy and slippery compacted by snowshoers and hikers. Wear micro-spikes or YAKTRAX for better traction on ice and compacted snow.


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. 

 

Would you like to volunteer to help out on the trails? Sign-up on our Volunteer Page


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.

Note, Pets are not allowed on designated cross-country ski trails from December 1 – March 31. See Park Pet Page for more information. 


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
Blue – Moderate Difficulty
Black – Most Difficult

 

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