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. 


March 7, 2024

Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail and Palmer Woods


Let’s hope for more snow and cold weather next winter! We were only able to get our groomers out 5 times in the 2023-2024 season.


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.


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 5 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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