National Trails Day Returns to Hiawatha National Forest

Gladstone, Michigan — The Hiawatha National Forest and participating partners are excited for the return of the popular National Winter Trails Day event at the Rapid River National Cross Country Ski Trail. Everyone is welcome to attend this free opportunity to enjoy the snow and winter weather. Join us on Saturday, January 22, 2022, from noon until 4:00 p.m. to learn how to cross-country ski and snowshoe, gain additional skills, or connect with friends on the trail.

“We are excited to collaborate with community organizations, local small businesses, and volunteers to offer this opportunity for visitors to explore the forest and try new activities,” said District Ranger Charles Marsh.

Thanks to a partnership between the Hiawatha National Forest and Delta County Nonmotorized Trails (DCNT), the trails will be groomed and ready for fun winter activities. Cross-country skis and snowshoes will be available free of charge for the public to use during the event thanks to Brampton Bike and Ski and DCNT. Mary Malnor of Entrees Etc. is providing participants with complimentary hot drinks and soup, and there will be a roaring bonfire to make s’mores. Nick Moreno’s Outdoor Education Services will have a discovery table of animal furs and tracks to teach you about local wildlife. He will help you learn to identify animal tracks in the snow. 

Volunteers will be available to assist participants with proper fitting gear and to teach the fundamentals of both skiing and snowshoeing.  You can also bring your own equipment if you have it and get some pointers from experienced skiers or use the opportunity to learn more about stride techniques.

To ensure that adequate equipment and instructors are on hand, we ask that you pre-register for the event by calling Brampton Bike and Ski, starting Monday, January 17, thru Friday January 21, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at 906-428-2135.   

National Winter Trails Day is great fun for any age.  Past events have drawn over one-hundred people and with the recent emphasis to seek outdoor recreation those numbers are expected to increase this year.

Ranger Marsh noted, “This event is outside, close to home, and is an experience that individuals, families, and friends can participate in while spanning out to miles and miles of trails in the woods.”

Not only are skiing and snowshoeing great ways to just get outdoors, but they are healthy activities as well.  Cross-country skiing burns more calories per hour than any other sport, and offers a low-risk, low-impact form of exercise. It also uses natural movements, resulting in a very short learning curve. The same holds true for snowshoeing. Snowshoeing burns 45% more calories than walking or running at the same speed.

The Rapid River National Cross Country Ski Trail is located 6 miles north of Rapid River on US Highway 41 and includes 5 classic loops ranging from 1 to 10 miles in length, 2 skating loops and a mile of snowshoe trail.  The trail system is groomed and maintained by Delta County Nonmotorized Trail volunteers so find them on Facebook to see how you can help. For more information about this year’s National Winter Trails Day event visit the Hiawatha National Forest website at or contact Brampton Bike and Ski at 906-428-2135 to register. DCNT posts grooming reports on the Rapid River Ski Trail Facebook page to keep you informed of trail conditions. See you on the trail.