Winter sports are a great way to stay active during the colder months, but many of them have a high barrier to entry. That is, most of us can’t get our hands on snowboards or snowmobiles or hockey equipment without a great deal of planning, expense, and even travel.
However, snowshoeing has a nice low barrier to entry. It’s an easier, more approachable activity with plenty of resources for learning basic techniques. Snowshoers need only be in reasonably good shape and be comfortable hiking long distances, but no lessons or years of experience are needed. The sport also only requires two items—your left snowshoe and your right one, and the county has several local equipment lenders that can get you set up. If you like a little ground support or want to make the trek easier on your knees and joints, you may also want to rent hiking poles.
In addition to the gear-lending businesses below, the Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor offers snowshoe rentals, as do some hotels and resorts that are open in winter (if you’re staying in their lodgings). Or, call ahead to these rental companies (as well as others in the area) to reserve your equipment and get any questions answered:
- Nor Door Sports and Cyclery of Fish Creek
- Nor Door Sport & Cyclery of Sturgeon Bay
- Bay Shore Outfitters in Sturgeon Bay
Another nice thing about snowshoeing is that you can go pretty much anywhere you can go on foot. You don’t have to wait for trails to be groomed or ask for permission—you just need the park, preserve, or trail to be open at the time you want to go. Here are some popular spots around the Door County area:
- Door County Land Trust
- Potawatomi State Park
- Whitefish Dunes State Park
- Newport State Park
- Ahnapee State Trail
- Cave Point County Park
- Peninsula State Park
- Crossroads at Big Creek
- Door Bluff Headlands County Park
- The Ridges Sanctuary
Many parks and greenspaces also have specially designated snowshoe trails, both for visitors’ and the trails’ safety. Do a little research into trails openings/closures and open hours before heading out for a snowshoe excursion.