When the snow falls, winter fun begins in Big Bay, Michigan. Whether snowmobiling, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, or ice fishing beckon, Big Bay offers pristine conditions in uncrowded surroundings. To warm up during your days on the trails, visit Hungry Hollow Café, Lumberjack Tavern, or Thunder Bay Inn to get a bite to eat and learn about the exciting history of this quaint town. When you turn in for the night, enjoy the sound of silence the emanates from the snow-covered woodlands landscape.

Snowmobiling:

The Big Bay community is home to 172 miles of Michigan Designated Snowmobile Trails. Trails are maintained and groomed by the Big Bay 550 Snowmobile Club, founded in 1973. Snowmobile trail permits are required and enable you to ride state-designated trails and many more miles of public roads and on public lands (where authorized). State-designated trails are open December 1 - March 31, and grooming occurs when there is enough snow on the ground. For information on permitting, safety, snowmobile registration, and interactive maps, visit the Department of Natural Resources website. Visit the Big Bay 550 Snowmobile Club webpage for updates on trail conditions. Need to rent a snowmobile? Check out Marquette Powersports, located in nearby Negaunee.

Information on snowmobiling provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Big Bay 550 Snowmobile Club.

Backcountry Skiing: Experience true solitude and fall in love with Big Bay’s breathtaking natural landscape. Groomed by passionate local volunteers with a love of skiing, Big Bay Pathway and Saux Head trails are part of the Noquemanon Trail Network. Please Check the NTN trail report for the latest information. Due to the remote location of the Big Bay Pathway and Saux Head Trails, it is recommended that one always ski with a partner. There is very limited cell phone service.

  • Big Bay Pathway: Looking for a unique backcountry skiing experience? The Big Bay Pathway is for you. It can best be described as “groomed wilderness.” A combined total of 16km of trails provide an option for all levels of trail enthusiasts. The Meditation Loop (5.8 km) is a beginner level trail with a combination of tight wooded classic tracks to open trails for those who are learning to ski. The popular Hidden Grin Loop (6.4 km) is a stellar intermediate level ski. It rolls through hardwood stands, a beautiful hemlock forest, and a gentle creekside. The Bear Mountain Loop (9.2 km) is for advanced level skiers. It nestles into the Huron Mountains for a ski with challenging climbs and advanced level downhill glides. For those seeking more adventure, the Ridgeline Loop (2.1 km) is an extension of the Bear Mountain Loop. It is the crown jewel of the Big Bay Pathway with panoramic views on the mountain top. The descent off the mountain is challenging and requires extra caution but is fun for those up to the challenge.The combination of the Hidden Grin, Bear Mountain, and Ridgeline Loops make for a great day of skiing for intermediate and advanced skiers.
  • Saux Head: If you’re looking for an experience a bit closer to Marquette or with easier ski options, don’t miss the Saux Head trails. Located about 14 miles north of Marquette off County Road 550, the trail system is comprised of several inner loops and an outer loop of approximately 12km. These trails wind through towering, old-grow white pines and hemlocks, offer peaks of Saux Head Lake in the winter and are rarely crowded.  The loops are easy to moderately challenging and provide a great alternative to Big Bay Pathway for groups will varying levels of experience. 

Information on Big Bay Pathway and Saux Head Trails provided by the Noquemanon Trail Network. Please support trail efforts by purchasing a membership, donating, volunteering, or becoming a sponsor.

Winter Events:

Fishing Derby: For over 40 years, the Big Bay 550 Snowmobile Club has hosted an annual ice fishing derby for adults and children with cash prizes for Pike, Walleye, and Perch! Typically hosted in early February, the Derby is the Upper Peninsula’s only team ice fishing contest. For more information and to register, contact Cram’s General Store at 906-345 -0075 or info@cramsgeneralstore.com.

Honey Bear Classic Ski Event: The Honey Bear Classic Ski Event is held every winter, typically in February, on the scenic Big Bay Pathway. This family-friendly event features a Fun Ski for youth and adults, snowshoeing, prizes, a warming fire, and the annual weenie roast. Have your photo taken with the local Honey Bear! A $15 donation is suggested for adults, $10 for teens 13-18, and $5 for kids under 12 years of age. This event helps support the grooming and maintenance of the Big Bay Pathway Ski Trails. For more information, email bigbaypathway@gmail.com.