Lake Superior Beach - Porcupine Mountains in the distance
See our winter recreation links further down the page for information on Snow Depth, Trail Conditions, & Trails Maps for skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling in and around the Porcupine Mountains.
Years ago when our kids were young, we skied at the Porkies downhill ski area. But now our favorite winter sport is snowshoeing, so that is what brought us back on a recent winter. There is an extensive network of cross country ski trails in the park and some snowshoe trails as well. (see below for links & info on snowmobile trails, downhill skiing, cross country skiing and snowshoeing)
We stayed at Superior Shores Resort, near Ontonagon, Mi, at one of their lakeside cabins. Very compfy with a warm gas fired fireplace and picturesque views of the lake; perfect for reading and relaxing. And while we were definitely off the beaten path in a winter wonderland, modern amenities were available - cable-satellite TV and wireless internet. We could have stayed a few more days had we not other travel commitments in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
On this visit, the winter in the upper midwest was unusual for the capricious snowfall. The Porcupine Mountains Ski Area normally receives 140 to 200 inches of snow a year. This season the early snows were so sparse that the ski hill didn't open until January 17th - the latest on record. However, by mid-February though conditions were ideal - for downhill skiing, cross country, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing.
For current winter sports and weather information, see our Snow Report page or UP Winter Recreation page for links to updates for skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Also see our links for conditions around the Porcupine Mountains lower down this page.
Views of the mountains from Silver City (near) and of the ski hill (far right). The downhill ski hill offers 640 feet of vertical drop on the regular runs and over 780 feet of drop on the new snowcat skiing area.
The wind and waves sculpted huge snow drifts by the lakeshore (near). Far right, Jo checks out one of the backcountry cabins available to hikers (includes a wood stove for winter camping).
One of the x-country trails has kerosene lanterns for regular Saturday night skiing (near). Jo pauses to admire a big hemlock along the Deer Yard trail (far right).
Although technically all the hiking trails are open for skiing and snowshoeing, winter access to some trails is limited. In the winter, both the South Boundary Road and the Lake of Clouds Roads are snowmobile trails with no car/truck access. Therefore the groomed trails are those at the eastern end of the park. Get current trail condition information from the Friends of the Porkies website.
Night Time SnowShoe Hiking. Saturday nights, beginning after Christmas, the area sponsors evening skiing through a Lantern Lit trail from 6:30 - 9 pm ET." Nearly 80 old-fashioned kerosene lanterns illuminate a 1-mile trail for a unique and memorable experience. The ski trail is track-set for classic skiers while snowshoers make their own trail adjacent to the lighted loop. Stop about halfway around the loop at the warming shelter, where the park naturalist will have a campfire going and provide some refreshments. The ski trail has an "easy" difficulty rating; however, skiing or snowshoeing at night is always a challenge."
Skiing and Snowshoeing Links
Ontonagon Michigan Snow Depth Report
Note: generally Ontonagon will report less snow than the Porkies itsef because of lower elevation.
There are two snowmobile trails in Porcupine Mountains State Park. One goes to the Lake of the Clouds and the other trail follows the South Boundary Line Road along the entire western and southern perimeter of the park. These trails connect into the extensive network of snowmobile trails in Ontonagon County. One of the trails runs along or adjacent to the Lake Superior shoreline between the park and the village of Ontonagon.
Porcupine Mountains - Winter Attractions (this page)
Here's a full map you can print out showing the campsites, back-country rustic cabins, hiking trails, waterfalls, and other points of interest within Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
Here's a link to a publication with more info on visiting the Porcupine Mountains - Porcupine Mountains Visitor.
Michigan Upper Peninsula
Lake Superior Circle Drive Attractions
Going east towards Marquette, Munising and Pictured Rocks . . . More waterfalls, hiking pages, and scenic attractions from Munising through Tehquamenon Falls to Sault Ste. Marie.
Going west towards Black River Scenic Area . . . waterfalls, hiking, camping, rock picking.
SuperiorTrails.com - Reinhold Development - 2023
Lake Superior Camping
& Campground Directory
Best Camping along Lake Superior.
Eric Hansen's guide to UP hiking is well respected in hiking circles. This guide includes profiles on some terrific off-the-beaten path hiking trails. [More info]
Motels & Hotel Directory