Winter Sports & Adventures
We love winter … and you will, too, when you are in the Escanaba area. This is our take-a-moment-and-breathe season. Our wear warm socks, icy beards and steamy drinks time of year. Say so long to your recliner and Visit Escanaba!
You’ll like how Lake Michigan moderates the winter temperatures here. It’s rarely bone-chilling cold, but chilly enough to blanket our Bays de Noc landscape with up to 49 inches of snowfall between the first flakes in October to the thaw by April. That’s plenty of the white stuff to play in as hard and fast as you wish.
Come saw a hole through the thick Bays’ ice and reel in a fighting walleye. (The flavor of winter catches is amazing). Ski through fresh powder. Pedal fat tire bikes beneath snow-covered cedars. Ride for miles on groomed trails with your snowmobiling buddies. Hurtle down a tubing hill with your kids laughing the entire way. Race your boat or ATV across acres of ice. Whip across the wide-open Bays kite skiing. After your adventures, you’ll find plenty of toasty places along the Bays to warm up.
Here’s where to start your winter fun:
Winter sports are a blast!
We love winter in the Escanaba area and you will, too! Say so long to your recliner and get outside and have a blast. You’ll like how Lake Michigan moderates our winter temperatures so it’s rarely bone-chilling cold. Yet it’s chilly enough to cover our landscape with a blanket of pristine snow and the Big and Little Bays de Noc with thick ice. These are winter adventure lands!
Below are three ways to play as hard or as fast as you want this winter. But there are more. Come pedal your fat tire bike beneath snow-covered cedars. Race your boat or ATV across acres of exhilarating ice. Whip across the wide-open Bays kite skiing. Hurtle down hills with the kids in inner tubes (no amusement park ride rivals this laughter-filled thrill). Cross-country ski down silent trails and feel how deeply the calm refreshes you. Visiting Escanaba area is exactly what you need right now.
Unique snowmobiling fun for the whole family
Jan. 25-26 | 13th Annual Rapid River Relic Ride, Vintage and Antique Snowmobile Show & Swap | 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you love snowmobiling, bring your family and friends to Rapid River this weekend! 250+ riders from the Midwest and Canada are expected to fill the streets (and trails) with up to 500 classic sleds (25+ years old). Come to display and ride your vintage snowmobile or to marvel at these relic machines. It’s two great days of riding, showing, swapping, games, food and family fun.
Friday & Saturday: Classic Arctic Cat Snowmobiles along Main Street & Raffles
Check out the “Cats” lining Main Street in memory of beloved Gladstone teacher, U.S. Navy veteran and former Relic Riders Secretary Neil Gerber who passed away in May 2018.
While in town, buy your raffle tickets ($5 each or 5 for $20) for chances to win a 1970 BOA Ski Mark 1, Hirth 246 cc Sled or one of three cash prizes in Saturday’s drawings.
Friday: Relic Ride — 20 Miles of Vintage Adventure
Register 9 to 11:30 a.m. at Quality Plumbing (big red building across from Sall-Mar Resort) on US 2. Newer sleds are welcome, but no trail permit is required if yours is 25+ years old.
The ride starts at noon with a stop to purchase lunch at Perkins Lions Club. You will return to Rapid River around 4:30 p.m. for a roaring bonfire!
Saturday: Snowmobile Show, Swap and Snow-Much Fun!
Register 9 a.m. to noon at the Rapid River Lions Club, 10465 S Main Street, to publicly display your classic sled(s) noon ‘til 5 p.m. Enjoy lots of family-friendly activities throughout the day. For more information, call Mary Zar at 906-399-1955 or visit Facebook.com/rapidriver.relicriders.
Dark and mystical snow adventure
Jan. 26 | Lantern-Lit Snowshoe, Cross-Country Ski or Hike | Fayette Historic State Park | 4785 II Road, Garden | 6 to 9 p.m.
Ever notice how the winter landscape takes on a mystical glow at night? Now you can enter this magical world as you snowshoe, cross-country ski or hike along Fayette historic townsite’s 1.5-mile Bluff Trail. Kerosene lanterns will light the one track set for classic cross-country skis and a packed trail for snowshoeing or hiking. You will start and end your adventure at a friendly campfire where staff will provide marshmallows and hot cocoa. There is parking near the visitor center (an annual Recreation Pass or day pass is required). And if you would like to borrow snowshoes, there are a limited number available on a first-come, first-offered basis. Call the park office at 906-644-2603 for more details or get updates here.
Open all winter. Fayette is a favorite destination for daytime cross-country skiing along its five miles of groomed trails. It’s perfect for beginners. Hikers and snowshoers are also welcome, but please walk next to the groomed ski tracks. However you traverse this winter wonderland on the Garden Peninsula, the views of Lake Michigan and the white cliffs of Snail Harbor are breathtaking.
Hooking the big ones
Tips from Fishing Guide Jordan Millette
- Check ice constantly. Stay off the ice if you see open water, cracks and pressure ridges. Always avoid river mouths. As you cross the frozen Bays, use an ice spud and tape measurer to check the ice thickness every 150 feet. Clear ice needs to be a minimum of 4” to 5” thick (8” to 10” if the ice is white or snow- covered) to safely fish on and 5” to 7” thick to drive a snowmobile or ATV to reach your spot. Always remember, NO ICE IS 100% safe.
- What you should bring. A hard or portable ice shanty or shack; auger or ice spud to cut an 8” to 10” diameter hole; life jacket and cell phone; a stool or portable chair; heater; thermos with hot coffee, tea or cocoa; fish sonar or finder; live bait or artificial lures or both; jigging rod; and tip-up. Be sure to carry your ID and Michigan fishing license.
- What you will catch. These are trophy walleye waters, but you can also bring home northern pike and perch. You’ll be amazed by the flavor of these cold-water catches.
- Best time to fish. First and last light of the day. Then share your big catch photos using #EscanabaFishing or on Facebook!
Escanaba needs more ice fishing guides. Call us if you want to make more money.
Anglers contact VisitEscanaba for names of ice fishing guides like Jordan at Hook Set Fishing. They want their guidance on how to be safe and where the big ones are biting in the Bays. If you can guide them, contact Robert at 800-533-4386 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us what services you offer and we will provide your information when they call as well as post it on our ice fishing page.