Northport

Don't Wonder, Know: Get Your Grooming Badge AND Get Trail Reports In Your Inbox

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Your grooming badge doesn’t just put gas in the tank of our grooming sleds. It doesn’t just help us build and fix grooming equipment. It doesn’t just put well-earned beer in the cooler. It also gives you access to the most up-to-date trail reports around!

It’s weeks exactly like this that having timely, accurate trail information to decide whether or not to make the trip to the trail. Freezing temps overnight, sunny and above freezing daily highs, and only the odd chance of snow makes nearly every day this week a bit of a crap shoot. Luckily, those who have already purchased their grooming badges have been getting grooming reports!

It’s a system we’ve implemented for years now, and it’s proven to be one of the most useful tools fat bikers can use to plan their rides. Unless you’re lucky enough to live right next to the Winter Sports Trail, the Cadillac Pathway, the Winter Sports Trail at Leelanau State Park, or Glacial Hills, it’s often just a bit of a hike to get the trail head, and knowing the conditions before you head out can be key.

We offer grooming reports every single time we head out to work on the trails. Our groomers all over northern Michigan relay what they see on the ground so that we can direct riders to the best places to ride, alert them of any trail issues, and keep everyone in the loop for trail events. It’s definitely a great tool when we have a lot of snow, but it’s these more uncertain days that we can often help you save a trip to the trail for less than ideal, or even dangerous, conditions due to weather.

Trail reports come from trail crews at all of our trails, including the trails at Leelanau State Park and Glacial Hills. Because most folks don’t live close to these trails, they’re perhaps the most important to have accurate information on so you know you’re getting to experience the very best of these two very fun and unique winter trails. It’s been a ton of fun working to bringing you these opportunities, and we really hope you make the trip to all of our trails over the course of this winter!

We’re only just getting started for what looks to be a beautiful winter if we can hold on to the snow that we have! As always, use your best judgement as we roll into what could turn into a weekend warm-up; riding Monday through Wednesday in the morning may provide the best riding conditions. We should also note that muzzle loader season is still open, so while you’ll see fewer hunters in the woods, make sure you have plenty of blaze orange or bright colors to help keep everyone safe out there.

Don’t have your grooming badge yet and want to get those Grooming Reports in your inbox? There’s a lot of winter left to enjoy! Get your badge today and help us get things rocking as we await a long overdue blizzard.

Working To Bring Fat Bike Trails To Leelanau State Park

A map of Leelanau State Park. The trails are not mapped here. 

A map of Leelanau State Park. The trails are not mapped here. 

Everyone loves fat biking, and we're working to bring winter riding even to another Northern Michigan town, Northport! 

A number of locals, as well as representatives from the DNR and Leelanau State Park are eager to get a winter-only fat bike trail in place this season, even with the snow already beginning to fall. We're sending our Vasa Singletrack Director, Chad Jordan, as well as a few other volunteers north again this weekend to help map and outline a 7-9 mile groomed trail that could be ready to ride this winter! 

The trail system is adjacent to another set of trails that have always been referred to as the "Airport Beach" trails, near Woolsey "International" Airport just north of the village of Northport. The new fat bike trails will overlap for two miles before veering off into its own network. The goal is to create a better trail experience for all users, which include classic skiers and snowshoers. There are plans to submit a trail proposal that could, in a few years, create a year-round mountain bike trail system to be in place. 

It's a project that we hope can have a big impact on the area. The goal is to have these trails draw people north in the same way that Glacial Hills help support the community of Bellaire. It will also serve as a way to gauge interest and support of summer trails as well. 

Much of the groundwork for this project has been by Will and Rachel, owners of Northshore Outfitters. They've been avid skiers and bikers for decades and love calling Northport home. Will has already volunteered a snowmobile for grooming, as well as his own time to keep the new trail open. He's called on a few pals from NMMBA to help make the trail ready as soon as this weekend, clearing deadfall and other debris to make things clear for the drag once the snow sticks. 

This is a very exciting project that has pulled locals, the DNR, and NMMBA together to create what will be another reason to travel to Northport and help that community grow, as well as a number of other villages in Leelanau County. We will keep you up-to-date on the trail as it develops, and we hope to add grooming reports, updates, and how you can support the trail on our website in the coming weeks!