Winter Fun in Manistee County

The midwest is known for our big winters and Manistee County in snow season is no exception. With hundreds of miles of trails (groomed & backcountry), vertical drop, and untouched wilderness your winter adventure awaits.

Here are a few ways to get out and explore this winter:

Cross Country Ski

Manistee County offers over 20 miles of beautiful, groomed trails to glide over. The Big-M Recreation area is our classic go-to with 18 miles of groomed trails varying in range from beginner to experienced. Even closer to downtown (about 5 miles) is the Non-Motorized Park with a 4 mile groomed loop. Additionally any of the backcountry trails mention in our snowshoe section welcome cross country skiers if you’re looking for a little more adventure.

For more on XC Skiing visit our website.


With a trail network that extends well outside the Manistee County Region, this 250+ groomed trail network is one of the finest in the State, connecting all of the northwest corner of the lower peninsula.  The best part… Manistee County is at the center of it all.  Access our trailheads and staging areas for easy access to quality sledding in the entire region. You can find detailed trail maps and snow conditions here.

If you want to ride but don’t have a sled no worries – Crystal Adventures has you covered from snowmobiles to cabins rentals.

Photo Courtesy of Scott Wethy – Crystal Mountain


Get your adrenaline pumping and hit the slopes! Manistee County hosts two great downhill skiing options with a total of nearly 100 runs. Crystal Mountain is know for its wide variety of terrain with 58 runs (29 night runs) and 25k of cross country trails. Caberfae Peaks is one of the highest peaks in the Lower Peninsula at 485′ elevation.

Fat Tire Bike 

Groomed Fat Tire Biking is gaining popularity fast. Making terrain (and seasons) that were thought as unrideable accessible for the first time.

Beginner – If you’re just getting started you may want to try out the Non-Motorized Park with a 5.5 mile loop and close to town or the 6 mile starter loop at the Big M.

Experienced – For a top fat bike destination… look to the Big-M’s Outer Loop.  This 17 mile, 20″ wide groomed trail is an incredible experience for any fat tire riding enthusiast.  With its remote location, and difficult terrain, this trail is geared for advanced riders.

Find grooming, snow conditions, and maps here.


With hundreds of miles to explore, take on top trails along the Lakeshore like Magoon Creek and the Arcadia Dunes, or venture to the famed North Country Trail and Manistee River Trail Loop.  The natural landscape is a spectacular sight! Check out our top rated trails for Lake Michigan views, advance snowshoers, and beginner snowshoers along with trail maps here.

Stay warm and entertained.

If staying warm and cozy sounds more appealing to you, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top picks for warm winter activities.

The Historic Vogue Theater

Catch a flick at the Vogue Theater. Heading downtown you’ll see the warm neon glow from afar. The Vogue was built in 1938 and restored in 2013 staying true to its art deco appeal. Catch a classic film in the morning or screen the most recent blockbuster at night. You can find a full listing of their events here.

The Historic Ramsdell Theater

The Ramsdell Theater is one of the most interesting buildings in Manistee. Built in 1903 the Ramsdell consists of a large opera house theater and a separate assembly hall. It hosts events varying from large scale plays and musicals to intimate photography & art exhibits. (Fun fact: Darth Vader aka James Earl Jones got his start here.) You can sign up for a historical tour at any time. Find their event schedule & more here.

North Channel Brewery

 If you’d like to warm up in a slightly different way, check out North Channel Brewery. North Channel is a brand new brewery specializing in IPA (Indian Pale Ale) style beers & Texas barbecue entrees. North Channel hosts multiple events and is within walking distance of downtown.

Courtesy of Iron Fish Distillery








Iron Fish Distillery

Michigan’s first farm distillery, Iron Fish grows their own grain and sources local for a fresh take on an assortment of spirits. Located in Thompsonville, Iron Fish is a short (5 minute) drive and is a great warm up for Crystal Mountain. They have weekly fat tire bike rides on Thursdays at 6:30pm with bike rentals available at Crystal Mountain.

Photo Courtesy of the Fillmore










Restaurants In Manistee County

We know you’ll work up an appetite after playing in the snow all day. So we’ve went ahead and included our guide to delicious eats. From fine dining to burgers and beers you can find our full listing of 25 restaurants in the county here. Search by location or style to fit your needs.

When it comes to winter wonder there is no shortage in Manistee County. Escape the mundane and let your inner pioneer come to life! Discover the magic of Manistee in the winter. Plan your trip and secure lodging at


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