Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I park?
Free parking is available along the trail system. Please remember these are a privilege and respect the areas- haul out what you haul in, stay in intended parking / riding areas, etc.
- South Range – Range Town Veterans Memorial Park. Please stay off the ball fields and respect the village park. Restrooms are provided by Keweenaw Snowmobile Club and DNR Trail Grants
- City of Houghton – Lakeshore Drive under the South End of the Portage Lift Bridge (along the trail) Restrooms are provided by Keweenaw Snowmobile Club and DNR Trail Grants
- Laurium – George Gipp Ice Arena 200 Isle Royale St, Laurium, MI 49913
Park in the back on the right (East Side), AWAY from the building. You can also park North of the rink, just before the trailhead and sewer overflow. Do not park in front of the chain-link fence.
- Trailer Staging Area in Eagle Harbor – Eagle Harbor Cutoff Road Trailhead. Restrooms are provided by Keweenaw Snowmobile Club and DNR Trail Grants
Who owns the trails that I am riding?
Keweenaw Snowmobile Club maintains a combination of state- and privately-owned trails. Almost all trails north of Calumet are on private land. While some trails are Commercial Forest Land (limited open access to the public) none of them are required to allow snowmobile access. Please know before you go ride off trail and respect the landowner’s permissions. If we don’t, we will lose access and miles of trails to enjoy in the beautiful Keweenaw Pennisula.
Where can I ride off trail?
Keweenaw Snowmobile Club recommends you stay on trail. This is for your safety and the safety of the first responders in the area.
If you choose to ride off trail know where you can legally ride, be prepared, bring a buddy.
No Ice is safe. Crossing the canal should be done with extreme caution- quickly changing currents can make ice thin. Never go under the bridge
When will the Portage Lake Lift Bridge be open?
Keweenaw Snowmobile Club works with the US Coast Guard, Michigan Department of Transportation, DNR, and City of Houghton to determine an opening date. It is dependent upon ice conditions on Lake Superior and the Portage Waterway. We usually expect the snow mat to be in place by Christmas, but not guaranteed.
If the snow mat is not in place, you cannot cross the bare metal bridge. Please plan to trailer across the bridge if you will be riding early in the year.
Follow us on Facebook for the latest trail updates and lift bridge status early in the season.
When will groomers be out?
We attempt to groom every trail nightly.
Groomers are planned to groom nightly. They leave in the late evening and groom all night when the traffic is the lowest and trails have time to set up. Most grooming runs are between 9-12 hours covering 70-100 miles per run. Our fleet of 5 machines covers high traffic trails nightly, and lesser traveled trails every other day.
Sometimes equipment breakdowns cause unforeseen delays in grooming. In the event of breakdowns- groomers may be on the trail during the day.
To see where the groomers have been- Download the Groomer Tracker App. 50% of the fee comes back to the club.
Why wasn’t this trail groomed last night? We got lots of snow.
Great question! A few reasons can delay grooming-
1) Safety- Big snowstorms are great for snowmobiling but can be dangerous to both riders and groomer operators. Heavy snowstorms make seeing the trail difficult, drifting can be a challenge and if a groomer breaks down- our rescue drivers need to be able to safely pick the operator up.
2) Equipment issues- no one likes to hear this, but all equipment breaks. While KSC does everything it can to prevent breakdowns, they happen.
3) Weather- leading up to the big snow, warm weather may make for unstable trail conditions under the big snow. Our big equipment can break up the trail bed if we groom before it freezes well. New snow can act as an insulator and letting sleds pack it in can help doing more damage than good.
Why didn’t groomers run after the rain or warm weather?
Groomers don’t typically run temps above 32 degrees. Our runs are 10+ hours and we need the whole grooming run to be at or below 32 degrees to effectively groom. When the snow is warm (or wet after rain) it tends to make large snowballs in the drag. This leads to loading and unloading of the drag creating uneven and unsafe trail conditions for riders.
How does the club get funding?
The club is funded through reimbursement from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. These funds are generated by the sale of trail passes. We apply for an annual grant that covers trail maintenance projects (culverts, grading, bridges etc.), insurance (collision and liability), grooming operations (reimbursed per mile groomed), signing and brushing, utilities, portable toilets, and snowplowing. Our grooming operations reimbursement is designed to cover fuel, small repairs and upkeep of grooming equipment, and labor to maintain and manage the trail network. The Grooming equipment is purchased and owned by the DNR.
Why are the trails so rough?
Trails get rough for many reasons- traffic, weather conditions, trail base condition, snow base amount, and fresh snow fall. You can help prevent rough trails by- taking off slow, braking easy, accelerating out of corners gently, and not following a groomer closely. A trail takes 1-3 hours to set up after grooming.
Where should I stay? Where should I eat?
We have lots of options in the region- see our map or visit the sponsor page here to utilize the local businesses that support the club. Without our sponsors, we couldn’t offer the world class trail system the Keweenaw offers
Who can help me plan my trip?
Visit Keweenaw is the area’s Destination Marketing Organization who can help with all aspects of your trip. Visit their website here for more help planning.
How can I help out?
We have lots of ways to help out
- Become a member- your financial contribution ensures the club can have the supplies to keep groomers running the DNR does not cover
- Volunteer- we have a handful of annual evets to prepare and clean up the trails in the spring and fall. Follow us on Facebook for the latest information or check our website for events. Can’t be in person- no worries! Reach out and we can find a way you can help!
- Ride Responsible- ride within your capabilities. Keeping everyone safe while riding the region is important. Pick up your trash / broken belts.
- Purchase your trail permit. The entire program is funded solely by these permits.
- Support the business that sponsor the club. Tell them thank you for supporting the club when you are there.
Who maintains the trails in the summer?
The Keweenaw Snowmobile Club and the Keweenaw ATV club work closely together to maintain the trails year-round. Keweenaw ATV Club works tirelessly to improve the trail base via trail projects, culverts, grading, filling, capping, and ditching. Please consider becoming a member of their club to help support summer activities.