Shoe Year’s hikes and other outdoor fun

Reinvigorate yourself in 2018! Make an “adventure resolution” and commit to exploring Michigan’s great outdoors this year with a “Shoe Year’s” hike, cross-country skiing, fat-tire biking or the many other ways to relish winter. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages residents to shift their plans for the coming year into high gear with a few ideas for inspired outdoor fun.

“For many, winter in Michigan is an undiscovered gem,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “State parks and trails offer visitors a completely different experience in the winter, everything from peaceful hikes through snow-dusted campgrounds and candlelight cross-country skiing to black diamond downhill skiing with views of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula. A Michigan winter adventure should be on everyone’s list this season.”

Find an online calendar listing of Shoe Year’s hikes and First Day Hikes at Or explore Michigan’s parks, trails and waterways on your own at

The following Shoe Year’s guided hikes take place through the first week of January:

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (Ontonagon County) – Friday, Dec. 29 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Bay City Recreation Area (Bay County) – Sunday, Dec. 31 from 1 to 5 p.m.

Maybury State Park (Wayne County) – Sunday, Dec. 31 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County) – Monday, Jan. 1 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (First Day Hike)

Yankee Springs Recreation Area (Barry County) – Monday, Jan. 1 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (First Day Hike)

Straits State Park (Cheboygan County) – Saturday, Jan. 6 from 2 to 7 p.m.
Besser Natural Area (Alpena County) – Saturday, Jan. 6 from noon to 3 p.m.

Ludington State Park (Mason County) – Saturday, Jan. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Michigan is part of the nationwide First Day Hikes program, coordinated by the National Association of State Park Directors and inspired by the First Day Hikes that originated more than 25 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. Last year, more than 62,000 people participated on guided hikes that covered more than 114,000 miles on 1,300 hikes across the country.

If guided hikes don’t work into your schedule, but you are looking for an adventure checklist, here are a few winter adventures suggested by Maia Turek, resource development specialist for the DNR:

Muskegon Winter Sports Complex – Even a novice adventurer will love the variety of adventure options at this state park destination. A luge, ice skating through the woods, sledding, skiing and even yurt yoga classes are all part of the experience. Visit

Experience the lantern-lit or candlelight ski and snowshoe events – even if just once. They happen throughout the winter and around the state, so finding one that works for your schedule should be easy. Visit

Fat tire biking on the Cadillac Pathway – This 11.3-mile groomed ski, hike and bike trail with six loops is marked and groomed for novice and intermediate cross-country skiers. Rent a fat-tire bike from area bike shops or use your own. Visit

Grab a fishing rod and take advantage of the first of two Free Fishing Weekends Feb. 17-18. Twice a year, residents and non-residents can enjoy two back-to-back days of fishing without a license. Visit

Visit Palms Book State Park in the Upper Peninsula and be amazed by Kitch-iti-kipi’s geothermal energy. Because the water is 45 degrees year-round, this stunning spring is a four-season destination. It’s also a great snowmobile stop. Visit

Jump on the Iron Belle Trail, the longest designated state trail in the nation, and hike (or bicycle) your way between Belle Isle Park in Detroit and Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula. Experience exciting cities, explore pristine forests and visit charming towns all across the state. Visit

Porcupine Mountains Ski Area – Downhill skiers and snowboarders will enjoy 15 groomed trails, four glade trails, the second-highest vertical drop in Michigan (or Wisconsin) and breathtaking views of Lake Superior. The ski area also offers a launching point for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Visit
“Often, the term resolution for the new year seems daunting, but don’t let it overwhelm you,” said Turek. “From participating in a guided hike along the more than 12,500 miles of state-designated trails, cross-country skiing on groomed trails and snowshoeing along lantern-lit trails to experiencing the ice skating trail at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, these destinations are home to unique and calorie-burning options for experiencing the outdoors in the coming year.”

For more information or assistance in developing region-specific story ideas, contact Maia Turek, DNR resource development specialist, at 989-225-8573 or