Find your snow adventure.

The emergence of freezing temperatures and slushy snow may push you indoors, but before you resign yourself to full hibernation mode, take a moment to explore the great outdoors near Chicago. In the winter months, the kayaking and hiking destinations of summer transform into snow-covered winter wonderlands that create those perfect fairytale Insta shots. One of the easiest ways to navigate the frozen terrain is through snowshoeing. If you’ve never been, all you have to do is rent a pair of snowshoes, slip them on over your shoes, and walk on top of the snow (rather than sinking into it). Many snowshoes have steel grips on the bottom to help with climbing steep or icy areas. Once you start walking with these shoes, your newfound invincibility will leave you wondering why you were considering spending all winter under the blankets. To begin your winter adventure, head to one of the places on the list below!

Marquette Area – Upper Michigan

6.5 hours from Chicago

Thanks to lake effect snow from Lake Superior, the Marquette area guarantees an epic snowshoeing experience throughout the winter months. About thirty minutes away, Hiawatha National Forest provides seemingly endless forest for exploration on snowshoes. Make sure to also check out the Eben Ice Caves on the way to or from Marquette. Beginners should start with the Noquemanon Trail Network then head to Presque Isle Park to spot ice covered trees and local deer. For a more challenging adventure, head to Hogsback Mountain. While the climb will require endurance, you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views at the top–and possibly wildlife spotting on the trail. If you’re still longing for more ice formations and snowshoeing, check out Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Park Conditions & Trail Maps

Click Here for Hiawatha Trails

Click Here for Presque Isle Park

Click Here for Noquemanon Trail Network

Equipment Rental

Downwind Sports offers snowshoes for $15/day. Also available at the Forestville trailhead for $15/day.

Where to Stay

A popular town, Marquette has plenty of hotel options to choose from. The Hampton Inn Marquette-Waterfront lives up to its name with a location right on the water. You might also enjoy a hot breakfast at the Country Inn & Suites before starting your snowshoe adventure.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

7.5 hours from Chicago

Source: Wikimedia

The largest state park in Michigan, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park’s 60,000 acres grant visitors many opportunities to forge their own path through the snow. The over 90 miles of hiking trails can be enjoyed on snowshoes, taking you through old growth forests to discover frozen waterfalls and panoramic views. Bordering Lake Superior, this park allows you to experience many environments–from a shoreline hike to a climb up the mountains.

Click Here for Park Trail Map

Equipment Rental

Porcupine Mountains Ski Area offers snowshoe rentals for $15/day.

Park Conditions

While geared towards skiing, the Porcupine Mountains Ski Area report conditions on how much snow is in the region.

Where to Stay

AmericInn by Wyndham Silver City provides you close access to endless wilderness. If you’re looking for a more affordable option, try the AmericInn located in Ironwood.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

7.5 hours from Chicago

Photo via NPS

While the other destinations on this list offer expansive trails for climbing, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore brings a new attraction to the table–ice caves. By mid-February, Lake Superior freezes over enough to allow visitors to traverse the lake to wonder at the ice sculptures around the caves. The icicles decorating the caves transport you to a real-life set of Frozen.

Click Here for Trail Maps

Equipment Rental

Thirty minutes from the park, Solstice Outdoors rents snowshoes for $10/day or $20/weekend.

Park Conditions

The Bayfield Chamber of Commerce provides the latest updates on conditions in the area.

Where to Stay

After a day surrounded by ice, thaw in the cozy, boutique-style Old Rittenhouse Inn. If B&Bs aren’t your thing, try the nearby Best Western overlooking the Chequamegon Bay.

Huron-Manistee National Forests

4 hours from Chicago

Source: USFS

Located in the northwestern corner of the lower peninsula, the Huron-Manistee National Forests comprise almost 1 million acres of forest for exploration. Over 100 miles of trails are available to explore via winter hiking or snowshoeing.

Click Here for Trail Information

Equipment Rental

Bill and Paul’s in Grand Rapids offers snowshoes for rent at $17/day, $34/3 days, and $75 for the full week.

Park Conditions

Visit the park’s page for the latest trail conditions and park updates.

Where to Stay

For easy access to the forests, try Harrington Inn in Fremont. The Hilton Garden Inn in Grand Rapids provides more dining options with a further drive to the forests.

Hartman Creek State Park, Wisconsin

3.5 hours from Chicago

Source: Friends of Hartman Creek State Park

Halfway up the state of Wisconsin lies Hartman Creek State Park. With 3.5 miles of snowshoe trails, this park provides plenty of opportunities to sweat out your stress while soaking in the crisp winter air. The relatively flat trails are great for beginners. You can enjoy snowshoeing  off-trail, but make sure you avoid walking on the groomed trails. If there isn’t enough snow to warrant shoes, the park can be explored by hiking as well.

Click Here for Winter Trail Map

Equipment Rental

Adventure Outfitters in Waupaca. $15 for one day and  $25 for 3 days

Park Conditions

See Friends of Hartman Creek State Park for the latest trail conditions and park events.

Where to Stay

Ten minutes from the park, the Ramada by Wyndham Waupaca offers a convenient location to both the park and equipment rentals. For a less commercial experience, check out the Lindsay House Bed and Breakfast. At 30 minutes from the park, you’ll have to drive farther, but this cozy B&B provides the perfect environment to warm up after spending a day in the snow.

Potawatomi State Park/Door County

4 hours from Chicago

Source: goodfreephotos.com

This park in Door County offers several miles of trails, but you can also explore off-trail as desired–just make sure you avoid any groomed trails! In addition to Potawatomi, Door County encompasses numerous other trails, making it a top outdoor destination. Review the links below for more information.

Click Here for Park Map

Click Here for Door County Recreation Activities

Equipment Rental

Nor Door Sports for $4 for the first hour, $2 for each hour after or $15 per day.

Park Conditions

Visit the park’s page for the latest trail conditions and park updates.

Where to Stay

A popular destination, Sturgeon Bay has many hotels to choose from conveniently located near rentals and trails. The Best Western Maritime Inn is a great value for a place to crash after hitting the trails. For a cozier option, try Inn at Cedar Crossing. The Inn also has a restaurant onsite, which will reduce the amount of driving and decision-making you’ll have to make.

High Cliff State Park

4 hours from Chicago

Source: goodfreephotos.com

Near Appleton, Wisconsin, High Cliff State Park’s snowshoeing options make the perfect escape from Chicago. You can snowshoe anywhere in the park except for on groomed trails.

Click Here for Park Map

Equipment Rental

Snowshoes can be rented from the park office during office hours as supplies last. Also available at Bubolz Preserve for $7.

Park Conditions

Visit the park’s page for the latest trail conditions and park updates.

Where to Stay

Choosing Appleton as your base provides easy access to the park, dining, and hotel options. The Hampton Inn Appleton-Fox River Mall Area offers free hot breakfast every morning to keep you energized for your outdoor adventures. The nearby Copperleaf Boutique Hotel and Spa provides a more posh experience with granite countertops in the room and a spa onsite.

Find Snow Near You

Visit TripLlama.com to find more snowy destinations near you and view up-to-date snow depth estimates provided by the National Weather Service.