Ironwood snowmobile guide

Welcome to some of the best snowmobiling in the upper Midwest. Ironwood is your gateway to rides that will take you through million-acre forests, across ancient mountain ranges and along the shore of the largest of the Great Lakes. Snowmobile trails in the U.P. and Wisconsin offer endless possibilities for day trips and longer adventures. Fuel up your machine: here’s a quick guide to snowmobiling in Ironwood.

Why is snowmobiling in Ironwood so good?

We’re a little biased, but we think riding doesn’t get much better than this. We do have a few facts on our side. For starters, we are in the heart of the Lake Superior snowbelt. As you drive from the south, you’ll know when you hit the snowbelt—the snowpack is typically much deeper than it is in destinations to the south in Wisconsin. At any moment in winter months, there’s a chance you’ll see a few flakes in the air. The phenomenon is caused by Lake Superior to the north of Ironwood, and we’re so glad it’s here.

But we don’t just have snow—from Ironwood you can ride into two expansive national forests. Ironwood is a gateway to the million-acre Ottawa National Forest in the U.P. and rides to the south will take you into the 1.5 million-acre Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin. Popular places that you can reach by sled include the Porcupine Mountains and Lake of the Clouds, Lake Superior and Lake Gogebic. See some more specific riding ideas below.

Area snowmobile clubs do an outstanding job maintaining these trails to keep them in excellent riding condition.

How do I navigate the trails?

See an online Ironwood snowmobile map that offers an overview of trails here. There are various apps that will help you find your way and you also might want to pick up a printed map—they are available for sale at local gas stations, chamber offices and stores.

What are some popular rides?

Your options for snowmobiling around Ironwood are nearly limitless.

Ride south into Wisconsin and you can loop around the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage, returning via Iron Belt and Montreal.

For some U.P. riding not far from Ironwood, snowmobile east to Lake Gogebic. You will pass Bessemer and Wakefield on the way there and you can visit Merriweather and Bergland on the north side of the lake.

Head north of Ironwood for another spectacular ride—ride up to White Pine and Silver City and make sure to plan a stop at the breathtaking Lake of the Clouds. Take the snowmobile trails through the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness Area State Park on your way home.

Ironwood is also a great launching point for folks who want to “saddlebag” and go for a long trip. From Ironwood, head northeast to Houghton. Overnight there, spend a day riding the trails around Copper Harbor, overnight again in Houghton and return to Ironwood.

What else should I keep in mind?

While there are plenty of services available to snowmobilers, riding in this part of the country can be remote. A good practice is to fuel up your sled whenever you pass a gas station—if may be some time before you see another one. Also, be sure to follow state laws. Michigan’s snowmobile laws and rules can be found here. Wisconsin’s snowmobile regulations can be found here.

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