Where to go hut-to-hut snowshoeing?I'm looking for a place to do some hut-to-hut or cabin-to-cabin snowshoeing this winter. Preference would be to keep it within four to five hours of South Bend, Ind. Any suggestions would be appreciated. - Matthew, South Bend, Ind.
That sounds like a fun plan. The problem with snowshoeing, though, is that you need a lot of snow, and you need a place that's off the beaten path. In popular state parks, the trails get so trampled that you might as well walk them in your boots.
There's only one place in this region that has a lot of reliable snow AND lots of rustic cabins — big Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park on the western end of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. But that's a long way from you.
Short answer: There's isn't good cabin-to-cabin snowshoeing within four or five hours of you. There are a lot of cabins in the Michigan state parks, but not within a day's snowshoe walk of each other (snowshoes are pretty slow).
Consider a snowshoeing trip with connections by car. For example, one day in the camper cabin in Waterloo State Park and one
at the camper cabin in Pinckney State Park.
It's possible to plan all kinds of trips. Michigan rents 61 mini-cabins in 36 state parks, though there's a two-night minimum. Reserve up to six months in advance at Michigan DNR Reservations, 800-447-2757.
Thirteen state parks rent camper cabins that have covered front porches and
sleep six on bunk beds and a futon sofa, $80 and $60. They include refrigerators, microwaves and coffeemakers but not
bathrooms. Interlochen has three and Holland has two; Port Crescent, Lakeport, Mitchell, Pinckney, Waterloo, Metamora
Hadley, Tawas Point, Onaway, Orchard Beach, Van Riper and Tahquamenon Falls have one.
Eighteen state parks include heated rustic cabins that accommodate groups from two to 24 and are reserved through each park, $50-$80. They can be reserved a year in advance at Michigan DNR Reservations, 800-447-2757.
Among the most popular are the 19 wood-heated cabins in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park on the Upper Peninsula. The
park also has three year-round yurts, $60. For more, see Afoot in the Porkies.