Residents Invited to Celebrate ‘Shoe Year’s Eve’ at Michigan State Parks

Residents Invited to Celebrate ‘Shoe Year’s Eve’ and More at Michigan State Parks & Recreation Areas

Michigan DNR
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Michigan –-( For anyone looking for an unusual and inexpensive way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment offers “Shoe Year’s Eve” – a great opportunity to grab the GPS, explore thousands of acres of scenic state land by snowshoe, and then relax in a cozy cabin nestled among some of Michigan’s most beautiful natural destinations.

“This has become a ‘don’t miss’ annual tradition with my friends,” said DNRE recreation programmer Maia Stephens. “For years, we’ve donned our headlights, snowshoed the campground at night, enjoyed a potluck in the cabin, and then warmed our toes by campfire. No crowds, no dangerous driving – just a chance to relax, reflect and reconnect with those who mean the most.”

Stephens said for those who have already made plans to ring in the new year, there is plenty of time and ample opportunity to enjoy unique winter experiences at Michigan’s state parks and recreation areas.

“You’d like to build your own snowshoes? Ski by lantern light? Enjoy a serene, guided winter hike? Michigan’s state parks have all that and more,” said Stephens.

She cited more than 50 cabins (some that are “ski-in” only), yurts and lodges that are available throughout the winter and offer a quiet getaway, as well as several campgrounds for those who want a unique winter camping experience complete with modern amenities.

“Snow or not, our state parks offer plenty of opportunities for guests to enjoy Michigan’s winter magic and great outdoors during this special time of year,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNRE’s Recreation Division. “Groomed ski trails, old-growth forests, riverside cabins … these are just a few of the wonderful recreational opportunities you can take advantage of during the winter months.”

With the offering of the Recreation Passport (which replaced the annual motor vehicle permit Oct. 1), Stephens said now is the perfect time to get outdoors at Michigan state parks. “The Recreation Passport is just $10 when Michigan residents renew their license plates through Secretary of State,” she explained. “The Passport is your ticket to visit all 98 state parks and recreation areas as many times as you want, for the duration of your registration.”

A list follows of scheduled snowshoe, cross-country skiing and other winter events at Michigan state parks and recreation areas. To check the latest up-to-date event listings, get a list of groomed ski trails, and available winter lodging, visit

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment is committed to the conservation, protection, management, and accessible use and enjoyment of the state’s environment, natural resources and related economic interests for current and future generations. Learn more at

Ski, Snowshoe and Other Winter Events
Scheduled at Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas

Dec. 11-March 26 – Hartwick Pines State Park (Grayling)
Depending on what outdoor activities folks are looking for – from building snowshoes to guided winter hikes – Hartwick Pines offers it all. For more information, call (989) 348-7068.

* Dec. 11-12: Snowshoe Lacing Workshop
* Jan. 8: Guided Snowshoe Hike, 1 p.m.
* Jan. 15: Cross-country Skiing by Lantern Light, 6-9 p.m.
* Jan. 15-16: Snowshoe Lacing Workshop
* Jan. 22: Guided Snowshoe Hike, 1p.m.
* Jan. 29: Cross-country Skiing by Lantern Light, 6-9 p.m.
* Feb. 5: Guided Snowshoe Hike, 1 p.m.
* Feb. 12: Cross-country Skiing by Lantern Light, 6-9 p.m.
* Feb. 19: Guided Snowshoe Hike, 1 p.m.
* Feb. 26: Cross-country Skiing by Lantern Light, 6-9 p.m.
* Feb. 26-27: Snowshoe Lacing Workshop
* March 5: Guided Snowshoe Hike, 1 p.m.
* March 26: Maple Syrup Day, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 18 – Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Enjoy a snowshoe-making workshop on Dec. 18, or take advantage of lantern-lit cross country skiing and snowshoeing every Saturday in February! For the competitive snowshoer, on Feb. 20 Tahquamenon Falls will host a snowshoe event sponsored by Great Lakes Endurance, part of the Braveheart series – 5K, 10K and 20K races. For more information, call (906) 492-3415.

Late December-Feb. 28 – Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Recreation Area (Ontonagon) – Take in the scenery at one of Midwest’s few remaining large wilderness areas on lantern-lit skiing/snowshoeing outings, beginning over the Christmas holiday and every weekend through the end of February. Contact the park headquarters to confirm dates and times, (906) 885-5275.

Saturday, Jan. 15 – Sleeper State Park (Caseville)
Guests can try their hands (or feet!) on a lantern-lit, cross-country ski and snowshoe event from 6-10 p.m. A 1.5-mile trail will be lit by lanterns, with bonfire, beverages and snacks provided. For more information, call (989) 856-4411.

Friday-Saturday, Jan. 21-22, and Feb. 4-5 – Sleepy Hollow State Park (Laingsburg)
Sleepy Hollow State Park gets in on the snowshoe-making fun, with classes in January and February. For more information, call the park at (517) 661-6217, or contact Clyde Risdon at the Risdon Rigs website,

Saturday, Feb. 5 and 19 – P.H. Hoeft State Park (Rogers City)
Visitors can enjoy the northern Michigan scenery during two lantern-lit ski events. For more information, call (989) 734-2543.

Saturday, Feb. 12 – Brimley State Park
Brimley State Park will offer a snowshoe-building class starting at 9 a.m., where participants will learn to build Alaskan-style snowshoes near a cozy winter fireplace. Marshmallows will be available for roasting, and visitors are welcome to bring their own hot dogs or other campfire-cooked food for a fun winter picnic. Because space is limited, reservations must be made by Jan. 21, with full payment received by Feb. 4. The cost of the kits is $159 for the neoprene-style lacing and $149 for the ballistic nylon lacing (the latter requires varnishing at home prior to use). For more information, call Charlie Maltby at Brimley State Park, (906) 248-3422.

Saturday, Feb. 12 – Port Crescent State Park (Port Austin)
Port Crescent State Park, at the tip of Michigan’s “thumb,” offers visitors the chance to get a close-of view of this area’s winter wonderland on a lantern-lit, cross-country ski event. For more information, call (989) 738-8663.

Saturday, Feb. 19 – Bewabic State Park (Crystal Falls)
Visitors are invited to take part in the park’s cross-country ski event in the heart of the Iron County Heritage Trail system, from 6-8 p.m. Refreshments and a bonfire will be available to skiers before and after the trip along roughly 2.5 miles of lighted ski trails. For more information, call (906) 875-3324.

Saturday, Feb. 19 – Wells State Park (Cedar River)
Guests are invited to chill out at the park’s lantern-lit ski event, and then warm up at the trailhead and warming fires in the historic trailside shelters along the way with hot cocoa and good conversation. Snowshoe rentals will be available. For more information, call (906) 863-9747.

Saturday, Feb. 26 – Cheboygan State Park

The park, with beautiful views of the Lake Huron shoreline, will host its popular lantern-lit ski tour. For more details, call the park at (231) 627-2811.

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