Hartwick Pines State Park will offer guided snowshoe hikes through the old growth forest on Jan. 4 and 18, Feb. 1 and March 1. These hikes will give visitors to Hartwick Pines a chance to try out snowshoes and hike through the Lower Peninsula’s largest stand of old-growth white pines. Guided by a park interpreter or historian, participants will learn about the forest in the winter and discover the importance of winter to Michigan’s logging industry in the 1800s, all while getting great exercise.
The hikes begin at the Michigan Forest Visitor Center with an orientation and introduction to Hartwick Pines and a short talk on winter survival and equipment. The group then departs from the auditorium of the visitor center into the woods. The hike is approximately one mile and will head through the old growth forest of white pine and hemlock, stop at deer beds, and look for signs of porcupines and other animals that use the forest in the winter. The group will visit the logging museum, where participants will have a chance to warm up with a cup of hot cider around the elevated fire pit at the logging museum, and hear stories about the “shantyboys” who endured a winter in the woods. Participants may return to the visitor center on their own or explore other trails in the park.
The guided hikes will begin at 10a.m. and 1 p.m. The hikes will be limited to 20 participants for each hike. Advanced registration is required. The hikes are free, but please call the visitor center at Hartwick Pines at 989-348-2537 or stop in at the Visitor Center (normally open daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) to sign up. Some snowshoes are available to use for free, however check for availability when registering.