If you harbor the soul of an explorer, a winter adventure in Marquette, MI rewards you with the quiet solitude of frozen landscapes and miles of exhilarating trails to discover. But before you brave the season like a local, familiarize yourself with these 7 ways to winter safely.

A family cross country skiing at Al Quaal in Ishpeming, MI

Plan Ahead

  • Always check the forecast before heading out on an adventure. Pay close attention to possible wind chill and precipitation. 

  • Check grooming conditions before heading to the trails to be sure they are ready to ski or ride on. 

  • Research your route before going. Many trails we hike in the summer will be more challenging- expect a hike to take longer in the wintertime.

  • Download maps on your phone or bring paper maps. Mobile service is not guaranteed in all parts of Marquette County, and cell phones can malfunction in freezing temperatures.


Layer Up

  • The best thing you can do for winter activities is to dress in multiple layers. Most experts recommend 3 types of layers- a base layer, a mid-layer, and an outer layer. Your base layer should be something thin that will help wick sweat off your skin and dry quickly. Avoid wearing cotton as a base layer as this soaks up with sweat and will no longer insulate your body heat. A mid-layers purpose is to retain body heat to protect you from the cold. Lastly, the outer layer is something that should shield you from wind, rain, or snow. 
  • To learn more about proper layering and other tips on dressing for winter activities, check out these articles from Outside magazine and REI.


A group of friends snow biking near Marquette, MI

Recreate Together

  • Due to added risks such as frostbite or hypothermia, it’s best to recreate with others during the winter when possible. 

  • If you’re heading out on a solo winter excursion, be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.


Stay fueled

Stay Fueled

  • Drink plenty of water and have snacks available for longer or more intense recreation activities. It may be easier to forget to stay hydrated but is just as important during winter activities as it is for summer ones. Staying hydrated can help prevent injury and muscle fatigue. To stay extra toasty, bring along a thermos with a warm drink.

  • As vital as it is to stay hydrated, using the bathroom frequently is equally as important—releasing a full bladder helps conserve heat. 


An aerial view showing the built up shelf ice along the Superior shore

Venture Close to Shore

  • Walking along the beach is scenic and relaxing during any season in Marquette County. In winter, however, large ice shelves build up along the shoreline making the beach look much wider than it is. Stay close to shore to avoid risking falling through the ice.

  • For more ice safety tips check out the DNR’s website


Trail signage on Sugarloaf Mountain in Marquette

Watch the Signs

  • If the snow says no, don’t go! There are many roads in Marquette County that become snowmobile trails in the winter and are not plowed for vehicles. Pay close attention to signs for snowmobile trails while driving. When snowmobiling, be aware of private property signs. Many snowmobile trails exist because of easements with private property owners. Be respectful of those property owners by staying on the designated trails.

  • Some popular roads that are closed to vehicles in the winter include the road up to Mount Marquette, which is part of snowmobile trail 417, and the loop that goes around Presque Isle


A couple snowmobiling near Marquette, MI

Ride Right

  • The Michigan DNR’s education campaign “Ride Right” is about how and why it’s important to ride safely while snowmobiling. The main points the DNR stress are staying on the right side of the trail, riding at a safe speed, and riding sober. Check out the DNR’s website for more information on safe snowmobiling and proper trail etiquette.