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Winter Activities in Northern Michigan

Inland Waterway

Winter brings numerous opportunities on the Inland Waterway. While the rivers rarely freeze, the lakes usually do. This provides great conditions for ice fishing on the various lakes in the area. See the current Michigan fishing guide for regulations. Snowmobilers and cross country skiers may also enjoy the frozen lakes. Be sure to check the local ice conditions before venturing out.

Crooked and Pickerel Lakes
Both Crooked and Pickerel Lakes are noted for good fishing, and relatively deep lakes given their more compact size in comparison to Burt and Mullett Lakes.

Crooked River
The Crooked River flows from Crooked Lake to Burt Lake.

Burt Lake
This is Michigan’s fourth largest inland lake and is known for its wide span of water and its beautiful bays. There are two nature preserves on the shores of Burt Lake, Seven Springs Nature Preserve and Colonial Point Forest/Chaboiganing Nature Preserve.

Indian River
Connecting Burt and Mullett Lakes is the 5 mile stretch of the Indian River. The area where the Indian River flows into Mullett Lake is a marshy area known as the Indian River Spreads. The Indian River Spreads is a wildlife habitat for a variety of wildlife including Bald Eagle, Osprey, Otters and Loons and other waterfowl.

Mullett Lake
This is Michigan’s fifth largest inland lake. Enjoy ice fishing on this deep lake.

Cheboygan River
This is the largest river in the Waterway system and it flows into Lake Huron. At is mouth, the Coast Guard Cutter “Mackinaw” makes its home. A drawbridge spans the river downtown and a gate lock raises and lowers boats 12 feet.

Cooperation Park

iceskatingCross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, ice skating, hockey and sledding will be tons of fun when the snow arrives at Cooperation Park. Located just south of the town of Indian River, this great facility has something for everyone.

For more information contact:
Tuscarora Township Parks Commission
Phone: (231) 238-7865


There are many lakes available for ice fishing in the area, including a limited license drawing for Sturgeon fishing on Black Lake beginning the first Saturday in February. Also, the Sturgeon River is open to fishing year around from Burt Lake upstream to Wolverine. See the current Michigan fishing guide for regulations and seasons.

For more information contact:
Dept of Natural Resources
Gaylord District Office
Phone: (989) 732-3541
Website: www.michigan.gov/dnr

Black Mountain Recreation Area

Hiking and Skiing
With more than 30 miles of trails, hikers and skiers have their choice of routes for every skill level. Special pathways have been constructed for the traditional diagonal skier and the skate-skier. Pathways range from “Easy” to “Most Difficult”.

Skiers may find themselves gliding under majestic pines, taking in views of Black Lake and, under the right conditions, even getting a glimpse of Lake Huron. Trail users travel through a number of forest types and are able to see what a managed forest looks like in its various stages of regrowth. Four separate parking lots provide skiers and hikers access to the pathway loops which best suit their abilities or interests.

More than 80 miles of groomed trail await you, with trails from Cheboygan to Millersburg, and throughout the entire recreation area. Please stay on trails designated for snowmobiles.

nordicskiracer.com  current Ski Reports,
Current Grromers Blog blackmountaintgroomers.blogspot.com


There are many thousands of acres of state land available for you to pursue the various types of hunting northern Michigan offers in the winter including coyote, bobcat, small game and land and water trapping. In addition, there is a limited license drawing elk hunt in December. See the current Michigan hunting and trapping guide for regulations and seasons.

For more information contact:
Dept of Natural Resources
Gaylord District Office
Phone: (989) 732-3541
Website: www.michigan.gov/dnr

Sturgeon River Rafting Trips

bigbearraftingwinterGuided winter rafting trips are available at Big Bear Adventures. Imagine floating down the crystal clear Sturgeon River amidst the snow covered evergreens. Also available for rental at Big Bear Adventures are cross-country skis and snow shoes.

For more information contact:
Big Bear Adventures
Phone: (231) 238-8181

Website: www.bigbearadventures.com

Silent Sport Lodge

This serene Bed and Breakfast on the West Branch of the Sturgeon River is a peaceful retreat with many activities available all year round. In winter, activities include snowshoeing, cross country skiing and dog sled rides.

For more information contact:
Silent Sport Lodge
Phone: (231) 525-6166
Website: www.silentsportlodge.com

North Central State Trail/Snowmobiling

snowmobilersWhen the snow flies, it is time for the snowmobiles to hit the trail. Snowmobilers will have a great ride through the beautiful woodlands and along the west shore of Mullett Lake. This trail is groomed. Speed limits and restricted hours are enforced on portions of the trail. Additionally, there are hundreds of miles of other groomed snowmobile trails in the area for you to enjoy.

View map (pdf)

For more information Contact:
Top of Michigan Trails Council
Phone: (231) 348-8280
Website: www.trailscouncil.org

Cross Country Skiing

crosscountryskiCross-country skiing is offered at the Indian River golf course during the winter months. There is also cross country skiing available on both the Wildwood Hills pathway and the Black Mt. Forest Trail. All of these trails are groomed for the winter. We have several businesses that can set you up with rental equipment if you would like to give this peaceful way to enjoy the woods in the winter a try.

For more information contact:

Indian River Golf Club
Phone: (231) 238-7011
Website: www.indianrivergolfclub.com


Dept of Natural Resources
Gaylord District Office
Phone: (989) 732-3541
Website: www.michigan.gov/dnr