Porcupine Mountains,winter recreation, Ontonagon,Michigan


Winter Recreation in the Porcupines Mountains Wilderness State Park


Winter activities at the park include downhill and cross country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, camping, backpacking and snowmobiling in the Porkies.


The large amount of snow the western Upper Peninsula receives is regarded by many as both a blessing and a curse, but it is perfect for winter fun. Lake-effect snow and warmer temperatures bring many to this all-natural-snow area. Warmer air passing over the lake picks up moisture, depositing up to 20 feet of powder snow per season.

The winter temperatures are often 10 to 20 degrees warmer than in inland ski areas. The winds coming off the water are picking up warmth along with the moisture from the unfrozen part of the lake. Uncrowded slopes and a spectacular view of Lake Superior make skiing the "Porkies" a memorable experience.

This 60,000 acre wilderness park contains the largest virgin hardwood-hemlock forest in the united States. The Porcupine Mountains consist of a series of undulating, irregular ranges whose slopes are covered with stands of virgin forest of the hardwood-hemlock type, with maple, birch, and basswood on the upper slopes.

The Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park Ski Area offers power-tilled runs through the magnificent old-growth forests and spectacular views of Lake Superior. Alpine skiers will find 15 runs, ranging from beginner to expert, accessible by four lifts. Nordic skiing through incomparable forests and a variety of terrain can be enjoyed along the 23 miles of groomed trails.

There are three ski-in cabins, located on cross country ski trails, to give visitors a taste of roughing it. These cabins are booked solid about a year in advance but park rangers advise anyone interested in renting a cabin to call in case of a cancellation (906 885-5275).


Cross Country Skiing
Four main cross county trails make up the Nordic trail system, about 26 miles of groomed double tracks that wrap around the ski-slope area: Superior Loop is one and one half miles long; Deer Yard Trail is three miles, River Trail is seven miles and Union Spring Trail is 12 miles. Cross Country Ski Map

Two warming shelters are on the trails, which park employees stock with wood. Skiers can build a fire in the stove, if one is not already going. Deer and other wildlife are in abundance. There are trails for all levels of experience from novice to advanced. The East and West Vistas overlook spectacular Lake Superior from the tip of the Porkies. Fresh powder snow off the Lake insures the best of conditions.

Dowhnill Skiing and Snowboarding
The Porkies has 11 miles of slope covering 100 acres over a 400 acre area. Seven fine intermediate trails, five challenging expert trails and three novice trails give skiers of all skill levels a place to explore their talents. The vertical drop is 641 feet, the highest in Michigan and Wisconsin, and among the highest in the Midwest. One novice trail is 5,800 feet long.

An A-frame ski chalet is located at the foot of Hiawatha. This attractive building has three fireplaces, food service, ski shop, rental service and National Ski Patrol first aid. The chalet can be rented by groups for evening use during the ski season.

One double chair lift serves the Western Summit. A triple chair and T-bar serves the Eastern Summit, a distance of 2,800 feet. Two rope tows serve the Hiawatha and the "Bunny" slopes. Lift capacity 3,500 skiers per hour.

The DNR has formed a partnership with the Ski Area Management Program at Gogebic Community College, allowing the students to operate the 400 acre ski hill. The ski area is open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 9 am to 5 pm. Rentals of alpine skis, snowboards, and boots available. Daily, half-day, and season passes.

Visit porkiesfun.com for additional information.

Opportunities abound in Ontonagon County with thousands of acres of snow covered back country wilderness to explore. Long a popular winter activity in the Upper Peninsula, visitors are finding snowshoeing an excellent way to enjoy winter's splendor in Ontonagon County.

For snowmobilers, Lake of the Clouds can be reached by following M-107 which is unplowed in the winter. Ontonagon County's 350 miles of groomed, marked snowmobile trails pass through some of the finest scenery in the Midwest. Travel through the deer yards and woodlands of the Ottawa National Forest. Snowmobile rental in Bergland.

Gas, food, refreshments and lodging are found right on the trail. The snowmobile trail system interconnects with the Upper Peninsula's 2,500 miles of trails as well as Northern Wisconsin's trail system.


Skiing begins as soon as snow conditions permit, usually in late-December, sometimes earlier.

Call the Porcupine Mountains State Park for more information
Phone: 906-885-5275


Lodging near the Porcupine Mountains State Park

Porcupines/Ontonagon County map

Snowmobile Trail Map

Cross Country Ski Map

UP Map


Snowmobiling in the Upper Peninsula

Snowmobiling in the Keweenaw Peninsula



Summer in the Porcupine Mountains
Lodging in the Upper Peninsula
Recreation in the Upper Peninsula
Back to the Upper Peninsula Traveler


Copyright 1997 by Vivian Wood, webmaster. All Rights Reserved. Except as permitted under the Copyright Act of 1976, as amended, this web site may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any manner. Unless authorized by the webmaster, reproduction of any picture, web page or pages on this website, www.exploringthenorth.com, for placement on the internet is a copyright infringement. All right, title and interest in and to the material on these web pages, the web site, in whole or in part, and in and to this url and the urls contained within, is the property of the webmaster. All website design, text, graphics, selection and arrangement thereof are the copyrighted works of Vivian Wood. Web site created on an Apple G-4