MI, WI, MN loop doable in winter?

MI, WI, MN loop doable in winter?

Joined: November 8th, 2004, 5:33 pm

December 4th, 2006, 8:01 pm #1

We are planning to hit these three HPs over the New Year holidays (#s 27,28,29), but wanted to ask those in the know about the accessibility of them in the winter. Are the logging/county roads, etc. passable (ie, scraped) during the winter with a rental car? Especially for Mount Arvon, which we've heard can be tricky? Are the trail(s) going to be difficult to follow due to high snow levels? How far can we expect to hike if roads are impassable? Input appreciated...thanks.
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Joined: June 21st, 2006, 11:43 am

December 5th, 2006, 1:04 pm #2

My son, wife, and I did Mount Arvon on New Years Eve last year. We could only drive as far as the first gravel pits. After that the road is utilized as a snowmobile trail. We used cross country skis after that. Hiking without skis or snowshoes would have been very difficult due to the deep snow. A lot of the blue diamond shaped trail signs had been stolen by vandals. You could contact the owner of Indian Country Sports in L'anse, MI for current conditions: http://www.indiancountrysports.com/mt_arvon.html . I have done 20 State highpoints in 4 regions of the U.S. and the Mount Arvon trip on skis ranks as one of my favorites. Good luck.
Here is a brief copy and paste of my trip report from Summitpost.org:

Route Climbed: Ravine River Road Date Climbed: December 31, 2005

We parked our vehicle near the gravel pit just beyond Roland lake. The L' Anse area received 6 inches of snow the night before. The tree branches were covered with snow and it made the route a winter wonderland. We cross country skiied about 5.6 miles down Ravine River Road till it got steep and then hiked the last half mile and carried our skis. We only met 4 other people who were on snowmobiles. The summit is only 1979 feet, but it was a tough 12.2 mile roundtrip climb in the snow. The benches and picnic table at the summit were covered with snow. We had lunch, signed the register in the yellow mailbox, and then had a blast skiing back. Downhill was much easier. A great day with my wife Mary and son Ryan. HP #6.

The Wisconsin and Minnesota highpoints should be doable in the winter. You might want snowshoes or skis for Eagle Mountain.

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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 9:11 pm

December 15th, 2006, 6:40 pm #3

We are planning to hit these three HPs over the New Year holidays (#s 27,28,29), but wanted to ask those in the know about the accessibility of them in the winter. Are the logging/county roads, etc. passable (ie, scraped) during the winter with a rental car? Especially for Mount Arvon, which we've heard can be tricky? Are the trail(s) going to be difficult to follow due to high snow levels? How far can we expect to hike if roads are impassable? Input appreciated...thanks.
The rural road which goes past the access road to Timms Hill should be plowed, since it connects residences and the Highpoint Village Resort nearby (where the pancake breakfast for WI 2007 Konvention will be held). The state highways and county roads are usually plowed quite quickly after a snowfall, but they can be VERY ICY, so use caution. When I was there last winter, the gate for the road up into the county park was closed, but it is an easy hike up the road (about 0.6 mile to the parking lot), and a short hike of about 200 yards or so to the top. You should be able to spot the observation tower easily through the bare trees in winter. The trail should be fairly obvious even in snow. If the snow is not deep, or you have snowshoes or skis, you should have no problems at all. Contact the Highpoint Village; Lyle and Kathy Blomberg, (714)767-5287, or www.highpointvillage.com for further information.

On MN, I don't know if they keep the USFS roads plowed during the winter, and that area may get a lot of "lake effect" snow. You may wish to consider renting a snowmobile to get to the trailhead. Given the heavy forest and tricky terrain (and the VERY short daylight up there in winter), I would strongly recommend using GPS, and carrying survival gear.

Good luck - sounds like fun! JES
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Joined: June 16th, 2004, 6:14 am

December 18th, 2006, 8:50 am #4

We are planning to hit these three HPs over the New Year holidays (#s 27,28,29), but wanted to ask those in the know about the accessibility of them in the winter. Are the logging/county roads, etc. passable (ie, scraped) during the winter with a rental car? Especially for Mount Arvon, which we've heard can be tricky? Are the trail(s) going to be difficult to follow due to high snow levels? How far can we expect to hike if roads are impassable? Input appreciated...thanks.
My daughter and I tried Mt. Arvon in late October several years ago in a rented car. We had booked a Sport-Futility-Vehicle but our flights from Seattle to Minneapolis were late and the only thing they had left was a Grand Marquis. That was a nice riding boat from MSP over to my grandfather's home in Wisconsin for sure...

...but not so nice when we tried to drive it through 8 inches of an "early" snow storm in the UP (Upper Peninsula). Fortunately for us, we always carry the 10 Essentials so we were fine. About 30 minutes after we got stuck a couple in their big 4WD with chains came down the road and pulled us back into the tire tracks, saying it "happens to visitors this time of year all the time." I appreciated their tactful way of saying "stupid tourists..."

By then we decided that we didn't want to walk the extra 2 miles through the snow (and impending dark) and headed back to L'Anse and Wisconsin. Last year we went back to Mt. Arvon with my whole family in the summer...and hiked through 8 inches of mud from and 10,000,000 mosquitoes after a summer deluge. But at least we didn't get stuck--this time we DID have a SFV-4WD!

You CAN find people who will give you a snowmobile ride up to Mt. Arvon during the winter (for a nominal fee, no doubt). There is a sporting goods store in L'Anse that has good trail maps AND contact info for folks who will do that. That might be a really fun way to do it (don't recall the name of the store...anyone else remember it?)

But taking your own rental car, or even 4WD if you don't know the roads...I would NOT recommend it--remember you have pretty short daylight hours up there that time of year as well.

Good luck.

Oh, and the place that has the "World's Largest Sweet Rolls" in L'Anse? Yeah, they are pretty darn big! Recommendation is to share with at least one other person

Pat


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