Jupiter Images; Patrick Wellever
For a full day of snowy, unforgettable adventures, head east on M-72 into primo powder territory. Here, dozens of snowmobile trails wind in all directions like endless white ribbons. Cruise into Kalkaska where breakfast awaits at Third Street Cafe (107 Third Street, 231-258-4636). Doors open here at 6 a.m. sharp, giving you plenty of time to peruse the menu's daybreak belly-warmers like hot oatmeal, pancakes and cappuccino. Once you've filled up, hop back on M-72 toward Grayling. About 10 miles from town, you'll see the Blue Bear trailhead on the north side of the road. Dock your car, unload your rig, rev that engine and sail away.
More than 15 feet of snow are dumped in this region every year, making for great rides and even greater scenery - think silent, snow-capped woods, frozen streams and underbrush feathered with white. Pack a camera and snap a few shots as you make your way northeast on the Blue Bear to Frederic, a sleepy town that shakes alive each winter when the snowmobiles begin stopping through to access the dozens of trails that converge here. Join the throngs at Sledheads (6636 North Old U.S. 27, 989-DIG-SNOW), a shop dedicated to all things snowmobile. Pick up a map and maybe a snack or two, then ask owner Pete Kocefas for a tour of his Tribute to Fred Bear - a collection he keeps on display to pay homage to this legendary archer. After the tour, head out behind the shop and warm up with other snowmobilers around the bonfire Kocefas keeps burning all winter.
From Frederic, you could head just about anywhere: west to East Jordan, east to Lewiston, north on up to the bridge.
Emily Bingham is assistant editor at Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine.
Note: This article was first published in October 2006 and was updated for the web February 2008.