This is a peak Michigan experience. Explore Sleeping Bear Dunes in the winter on a ranger-led snowshoe trek.

Michigan license plates uses to read "Water-Winter Wonderland;" this is the best of both. For the first time, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is offering snowshoe hikes in the park on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Some like to stay warm and hibernate during the cold months of Michigan winter. Those people are missing all the fun. No experience is required on snowshoes, and it is free to join the ranger-led hikes, Saturdays this winter at Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Two outings are offered, a 2 hour saunter and a 6 hour trek. As you might have guessed, the "Snowshoe Saunter" moves at a leisurely pace, covering 1.5 miles at the most with frequent stops and lots of instruction. If you're feeling ambitious and have more stamina for the cold, tackle the 6 hour "Snowshoe Hike" that navigates tougher terrain at a slightly faster pace. Each hike starts at 1:00 p.m. with an introduction at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire. These Saturday snowshoe hikes begin on January 4 and continue each week through March 14, weather permitting. Reservations are required, call 231-326-4700 x5010 for details and to reserve your spot. Traditional or modern snowshoes are available at no charge. These hikes are free, but participants do need a park entrance pass or have an annual pass to join in the fun.

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