With nearly endless groomed trails available right from the downtown Sault Ste. Marie, it’s no wonder why the Soo continues to be a premiere snowmobiling destination. Situated on the eastern end of the Upper Peninsula, Sault Ste. Marie, and its average of 120 inches of snow annually, offers ideal conditions for all snowmobiles.
Although most snowmobile enthusiasts associate the Soo with the International-500 Snowmobile Race, a closer look will show that it’s a haven of snowmobiling fun for riders of experience levels. From casual Sunday cruises to endless expeditions into the heart of the Upper Peninsula, it’s all possible from the snowmobile friendly city of Sault Ste. Marie.
Getting to the trails from within city limits has never been easier as snowmobiles are allowed on most Sault Ste. Marie streets. In the Soo, you’ll be able to cruise throughout town, gas up the sleds and stop into one the locally-owned coffee shops to fill up the caffeine reserves and grab a quick bite to eat. The city trails provide access to main regional trail system via the 12’ x 12’ “Soo Tunnel” that runs underneath the Interstate-75. In fact, the city is so snowmobile friendly, that you’ll be able to take your sled right from your hotel room to the trailhead.
For more info on snowmobiling trails be sure to visit the Sault Ste. Marie Snowmobile Association’s homepage.
Once you’ve hit the trails, you’ll notice that a labyrinth of routes connects a variety of small communities, national forests, state forest lands, snow-covered hills, and plains across the region. Touring the Eastern Upper Peninsula by snowmobile is both exhilarating and awe-inspiring. Some believe it’s the optimal way to take in the UP during the winter. You’ll be able to see wildlife throughout your drive, as well as find some great places to eat at tucked away restaurants and taverns.
Once you venture deeper into the trail system by heading west on the ever popular Trail #8 toward Brimley, be prepared for a spectacular view! This popular trail leads you through the Hiawatha National Forest and includes the Mission Hill Overlook. Here you can enjoy a quick pit stop to really appreciate the beauty of Monocle Lake and, just beyond that, Lake Superior. Just a bit further west past Bay Mills will bring you to the Point Iroquois Lighthouse, a staple of the area that everyone needs to see.
Not enough can be said about Trail #8. It really is a must-ride for all snowmobilers looking to take in the Upper Peninsula’s unparalleled beauty. It leads straight to Paradise, Michigan, right along Lake Superior. Nearby Whitefish Point is just ahead. Although the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is closed during the winter, this is still a stop all riders should make to see the Big Lake itself.
You’ll be able to take your sled right to one of Michigan’s most famous locations, the Tahquamenon Falls State Park right from your snowmobile as well. The two waterfalls at the state park are the epitome of what makes the Upper Peninsula so spectacular. The Upper Falls is one of the most powerful waterfalls east of the Mississippi, and should be on everyone’s bucket list. Plus, the area has the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub which has dine-in and takeout food available that’ll make even the coldest rides worth it.
Throughout your adventure westward from the Soo, you’ll come across tons of small towns and villages. Bay Mills, Raco, Newberry and Paradise are just some of the areas you’ll be able to swing through to fuel up the sled. Whether you look to continue even further west into the heart of the Upper Peninsula and onwards towards Wisconsin or circle back to the Soo, these mostly flat trails and numerous locations to stop at make it all possible.
One thing Sault Ste. Marie boasts itself on is the quality of its snowmobile trails. Riders will surely notice this hard work and dedication put into molding these trails into some of the best in the whole Midwest. The Sault Ste. Marie Snowmobile Association is a collective of volunteers that helps build and maintain the trails. They groom a dozen trails in the area that provide more than a 100 miles of trails.
Each fall they check the area to make sure proper signage is in place and cut any branches or brush that protrude onto the trail. Then as soon as snowfall begins, they start the grooming process. They are a must have reference for planning your snowmobiling trip to the Soo and help provide plenty of updates on the trail systems. Likewise, they offer a ton of information on regulations for snowmobilers operating within city limits.
While Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding area are famous throughout the Midwest for having some of the highest yearly snow yields in the country, it’s always a great idea to scout ahead. Along with the Sault Ste. Marie Snowmobile Association, the Sault Ste. Marie Convention & Visitors Bureau is able to provide updates on the trails and weather conditions in the area.
Be sure to share your best snowmobiling photos of Sault Ste. Marie with us by using the hashtag #ILovetheSoo when you post to social media and to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.