Snowshoeing is Fun for the Whole Family

Michigan is cold. It’s snowy. We might as well embrace it, right? Snowshoeing is a great way to burn energy and spend time in nature without having to summon the skills to ski or snowboard.

Where will you take your family to snowshoe in West Michigan this winter?

where to snowshoe with kids

Where to Snowshoe in West Michigan


There aren’t many places to rent snowshoes in Kent County, but Bill and Paul’s has you covered. Many local parks, like the Cascade Peace Park or Pickerel Lake Park offer trails you can navigate with kids.

  • Wittenbach/Wege Center in Lowell has snowshoes available for $4 per person, in sizes from preschool through adult. Snowshoes can be rented during normal business hours of Monday-Friday, 8-4pm and Sundays from 1-4pm. Overnight rentals are $10.
  • At Blandford Nature Center feel free to use your own snowshoes or cross-country skis on their trails. Please keep in mind that their trails are not specifically groomed for winter recreation. If you don’t have snowshoes of your own you can go to Blandford’s Visitors Center to rent a pair ($5 members, $6 non-members)! There needs to be a minimum of 6 inches of snow in order to rent snow shoes.


  • Gillette Nature Center at PJ Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon offers Winter Snowshoe Hikes. Snowshoes for these programs may be reserved from the Gillette Nature Association for a $5 fee per pair. Snowshoes must be reserved in advance and paid for on the day of the hike. IF you have your own snow shoes you can participate at no charge.
  • Muskegon Winter Sports Complex offers three trail systems for all ability levels. A daily trail pass is $5 and snow shoe rentals are $8. So for $13 you can have a full day of fun…and even trek out to Lake Michigan if you’d like.

Pigeon Creek Park, at 12524 Stanton Street in West Olive, has 1.5 miles of snowshoe trail, 10- miles of groomed cross-country ski trail, and a warming shelter with food and beverages. Snowshoers are required to stay on the snowshoeing trail.

Hemlock Crossing, the county’s snowshoeing hub, at 8115 West Olive Road, West Olive, has six miles of marked but ungroomed trails which are shared by snowshoers and cross-country skiers. The Nature Center there is comfy place to warm up by the fireplace. It has snowshoe rentals, hot drinks and snacks, and offers a huge picture window bird-observation area.

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  • At Pigeon Creek Park you will find 1.5 miles of snowshoe trails along with a warming lodge. (Sledding and cross-country skiing are also available.) No trail fee. Snow shoe rental (two hours): $6; $3 per additional hour.
  • Hemlock Crossing is also in Ottawa County. This large park has 239 acres of woods and wetlands along the Pigeon River. Over six miles of trails meander through bottomland and upland forest, old pine plantations and along the river. Trails connect to Pine Bend County Park on the west end of this property. A pedestrian bridge and numerous overlooks offer scenic views. While you’re there, be sure to visit the Nature Education Center. Snowshoes are available for rent during business hours for $6 for two hours and $3 per additional hour.
  • For a full list of snowshoeing options in Ottawa County, use this Ottawa County Parks Map. It’s a great way to find new trails if you own your own snowshoes.



  • Ludington State Park: This ever-popular Lake Michigan park offers free 90-minute guided snowshoe tours through woods and dunes on Saturdays in January and February. The park loans out 40 pairs of snowshoes on a first-come, first-serve basis, so you may want to arrive a bit early if you plan to borrow a pair for the hike.
Gillette Nature Center located at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon. – See more at:
Gillette Nature Center located at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon. – See more at:

Michigan’s Best Places to Sled, Ski, Skate, Snowshoe, Snowmobile and Experience Sled Dogs

feature image courtesy of Crystal Mountain (and Fisher, their dear mascot). 

Embrace Fun in Michigan this Winter with Kids

At the sight of the first falling snowflake my kids begin shouting for joy and digging out their snow-pants, winter hats, boots… all that dreaded gear!

Meanwhile my brain goes another direction.  How am I going to keep my kids busy now that the weather is cold and wet? For me, snow means shoveling, cursing my hilly driveway and cleaning up snow-melt from the kids coming back in.


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