snowshoes jason lampel

Snowshoeing their way through the winter trails. Photo courtesy of Jason Lampel

If you reside in the Alpena area, you may or may not know that we are blessed with not one, not two, but FIVE different beautifully groomed trails; each not far from your backyard! In the summer months, we hike, we bike, and we walk these trails with smiles and ease. You can do the same thing in the winter, just with different equipment. We are recommending snowshoes for this round.

Making their debut over 4,000 years ago, snowshoes have made hunting, gathering, and recreation easier for man in the snowy winter months. Modern day snowshoes come in all different types for different terrain. You can purchase your set locally here at Harborside Cycle & Sport.

Rockport State Recreation Area– Located on the shores of Lake Huron just north of Alpena, Rockport brings you over 4,237 acres of land as well as a breathtaking view of Lake Huron at the deep water port and pier. If you want a mix of terrain, Rockport is the perfect spot with trails that go from rugged to smooth in this back-to-nature state park.

Norway Ridge– Located just 5 miles southwest of Alpena, Norway Ridge provides 10 miles of groomed and marked trails. The terrain is a lowland forest area which makes for smooth, peaceful snowshoeing through the paths.

Chippewa Hills Pathway– If you are looking for a challenge, this is the spot for you! Located 20 miles southwest of Alpena, Chippewa Hills Pathway offers the adventurer a hilly and heavily wooded terrain. Snowshoeing up and down these hills will give you quite the workout, so be sure to bring the proper gear such as water and snacks.

Besser Natural Area– One of two known areas in Michigan with virgin white and red pines, the Besser Natural Area is a beautiful historic site in Presque Isle and also the former village of Bell. Snowshoe through the 1-mile trail that leads through the “ghost town” of Bell, just 20 minutes north of Alpena.

N.E.S.T– Standing for the Northeast State Trail, the N.E.S.T. trails runs from Alpena all the way to Cheboygan (but we don’t blame you if you do not want to snowshoe that far!). From Alpena, the trail starts on Woodward St. just a quarter mile north from Northern Lights Arena. You will go through the villages of Cathro and Bolton before reaching Posen. If you choose to snowshoe this distance, be sure to start early as daylight hours are short this time of year, and be sure to pack plenty of water and food! For a complete N.E.S.T trail guide, check out our blog The Beginners Guide to a NEST Trail Snowmobile Adventure.

Wherever you go, whichever trail you choose, be sure to bring your camera and a comrade! Hashtag your pictures on social media with #SanctuaryoftheGreatLakes #Alpena to share with us and remember, safety first!