Where We Ride

As we drive across northern Wyoming (often times going to or from Yellowstone National Park), the Big Horn Mountains loom large on the horizon, with numerous peaks over 12,000 feet. Although less renowned than Yellowstone, this north-south range is one of Wyoming’s prime venues for snowmobiling. The northern portion features 190 miles of marked and groomed trails, the southern portion 78 miles – with 96 more miles of signed but ungroomed routes, plus numerous off-trail riding opportunities. In the north, the Arrowhead Lodge, Elk View Inn and Bear Lodge are in proximity to each other along U.S. Highway 14, making them easily accessible by road and trail.
Trail Towns: None
Highlights: Freeze Out Point, Granite Pass
Info: Wyoming State Trails, wyotrails.state.wy.us/Sno
Sledding through Northeast Kingdom, VT
When a region is distinctive enough to have its own name, it’s got to be something special. Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom – encompassing three counties in that corner of the state – is indeed a magical place, especially for snowmobilers. The snowy Kingdom is bordered on the east by the Connecticut River and on the west by the Green Mountains. Its rugged, rolling terrain was created by volcanic activity and shaped by glacial scouring, resulting in a scenic wonderland that includes forested areas, low mountains, distinctive valleys and quaint small towns. Like all of Vermont, it’s criss-crossed by beautifully maintained trails that link to the rest of the state, as well as to neighboring Quebec and New Hampshire.
Trail Towns: Saint Johnsbury, Derby, Newport, Burke, Danville, Island Pond
Highlights: Lamoille Valley rail trail (Saint Johnsbury to West Danville), Connecticut River
Info: Northeast Kingdom Travel & Tourism, www.travelthekingdom.com; Vermont Association of Snowtravelers (VAST), www.vtvast.org

Minnesota isn’t just the Land of 10,000 Lakes – it also features really BIG lakes scattered across its northern half. Snowmobiling started early here and has been going strong ever since. That means lots of trails, including winding forest routes and converted rail lines. Giant Leech Lake, with the city of Walker on its western shore, is a prime destination. Trails radiate in numerous directions from the town, including two former railbeds (the Heartland Trail from Park Rapids to Cass Lake and the Paul Bunyan Trail from Brainerd to Bemidji). The highlight every winter is the International Eelpout Festival in mid to late February, where the lowly fish is celebrated with a massive party on the ice.
Trail Towns: Walker, Cass Lake, Longville, Remer
Highlights: International Eelpout Festival
Info: Leech Lake Tourism, 800-735-3297, www.leechlake.org

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula offers great snowmobiling from one end to the other – and beyond, if you include Drummond Island, just off the peninsula’s eastern end. This 136-square-mile island is accessible from De Tour Village, where you can ride your sled onto the ferry for a short crossing. When you disembark, the first several miles take you over an extremely wide road built for huge quarry trucks to use in summer. With almost 80 miles of trail, it’s easy to spend an afternoon touring the island. When conditions are good, you can also cross the ice to nearby Saint Joseph Island, Ontario – but bring your passport!
Trail Towns: De Tour Village (on mainland), Drummond
Highlights: Quarry Road, Lake Huron shoreline views
Info: Drummond Island Tourism, 800-737-8666, www.visitdrummondisland.com
The Iron Ore Trail in Iron Range, Minnesota
Minnesota’s Mesabi Range is known for its huge iron ore pits as well as the historic towns that span its length – all of them accessible by snowmobile – Hibbing, Chisholm, Virginia, Eveleth, Gilbert, Biwabik and Aurora. The legendary Taconite Trail – which runs 156 miles between Grand Rapids and Ely – passes just north of the area, but is only one of the many named routes that form an impressive network, with plenty of loop trip options. This is a region where you can rack up big miles on wide, well-groomed trails and connect easily to other areas where the riding is equally outstanding.
Trail Towns: Virginia, Eveleth, Hibbing, Babbitt, Tower
Highlights: Virginia city trail and open pit, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame (on the trail in Eveleth), Lake Vermilion
Info: www.ironrange.org/recreation/snowmobiling
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