Active Backwoods Retreat (ABR)

ABR Ski Trails – Voted 4th Best Nordic Ski Resort in the United States by USA Today!

A full service ski touring center located on over 1100 scenic acres and 78 km (cross-country) and 10 km (snowshoe) of varied terrain along the Montreal River in Ironwood Michigan. We offer skate/classic combination trails along with singletrack classic and even snowshoeing and multi-use/skijoring trails. This full service resort offers a heated warming cabin with light concessions, a full service ski shop, rentals, changing rooms, indoor restrooms, a large heated wax area with many wax benches. Lessons available, waxing services, Saunas for rent, and lodging options within the resort area.

Cross-Country Skiing – A Pure Michigan Winter

Trail Map

Click here to download the ABR Trail map.


We have a nice mix of trails for everyone. The Montreal River valley makes for some gentle and scenic terrain. When mixed in with the bluffs the terrain becomes more interesting for the intermediate skier. For those looking for true training hills the ridges on Peltonen Pass Out are famous for thrilling hills. The hills are 100-130 foot elevation gains but never more than a 1/2 km in length so more bumpy than mountainous leaving time for a rest to catch your breath at 600 ft elevation!

Skate/Classic Combo Trails

A combination skate/striding trails, you now have 5 options to choose:

  1. For the true beginner or warming up/cooling down you have Cherry Dairy and the oval training loop.(1.5 km) or new for this year you have Blueberry Return which is totally flat and has many shortcut options 1-2 km
  2. For the casual beginner skier you can head out on the River Trail, River Trail, Popple Flats,  Memory Lane, River Trail with the hill bypass which is now to the left for skaters or to the right on Tamarack 2 track for classic skiers,  Sulo’s Loop, and return on the River Trail (8 km).
  3. For intermediate/advanced skiers take Blueberry Bluffs, Bards Bump to Hautanen Highlands, Coyote Canyon, and Meadow Ridge, (13.5 km) A cut off for the advanced Blueberry Bluff downhill is available.
  4. For the advanced skier looking for hills head out on Peltonen Pass (and hang on!)   (5.5 km)
  5. For intermediate advanced skiers, snowshoers, walkers, and well trained dogs, walk or drive across the road to the overflow parking lot where you can try Rascals Revenge and Spanky’s Spill and Rudy’s Shoot  (2.6 km)

Classic Only Trails

For skiing the classic only (striding) trails, you now have 2  options to choose:

  1. For the casual beginner skier, start on the Hemlock Trail to Jack Pine and then White Pine, return on the Hemlock Trail. This is one of the most scenic trails taking you along the River and through a thick forest of conifers and returns along the icefalls. This route takes about 2 hours (8.4 km).
  2. For intermediate skiers take the Sunset Trail a favorite classic only 3.3 km. This is a favorite among the skiers that like  the old time narrow, wooded, curvy and mildly hilly  trails. New this year is going to be a favorite the Tamarack 2 Track. A 10 foot wide double tracked trail groomed with the small Pisten Bully. It can be as short as 5 km or if you take the entire trail to Jason Park and back it is 12 km. You can also ad on Otter slide and Wolf Tracks to make the classic route 18.2 km.   This route takes about 3 hours and leads a skier quite a ways away from the trailhead. Make sure you have adequate clothing, food and drink, and energy. Jason Park has a warming cabin that is about 1/2 way.

Snowshoe Trails

We offer over 10km of dedicated snowshoe trails winding around and over the scenic ABR terrain. The snowshoe trails are not groomed but they are packed by other snowshoers ( unless you are the first snowshoer after a snow storm) . The trail is marked with ribbons tied on the trees, the ribbon color corresponds to the trail. Make sure to ask for a specific snowshoe trail map before heading out. We do require you to stay on the marked snowshoe trails and not on the ski trails…except we also allow snowshoeing on the 4 km of dog trails (Spanky’s, Rascal’s and Rudy’s)  across the road on the skate lanes of the groomed ski trail.  We do not allow bushwacking for safety.

Skijoring Trails

We groom the trails north of Pioneer Rd (cross the road from the parking lot) as multi-use trails.  The specific trails are: Rascal’s Revenge, Spanky’s Spill and Rudy’s Shoot.

Our only rules are to ski in the correct direction and be safe.  Of course we want you to clean up after the dogs.

Hook up your dogs and enjoy!

Feel free to use the parking lot across the road.

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