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More cities, resorts and parks are going the extra mile to accommodate the booming activity of snowmobiling. The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA) estimates 124,786 were snowmobiles sold worldwide in 2018; 53,179 were sold in he US and 47,024 were sold in Canada. If you’re considering a snowmobile winter vacation, here are five awesome destinations for novices and pros alike.
Billed as “an outdoor adventure paradise,” West Yellowstone boasts hundreds of miles of groomed trails, a vast network that extends into neighboring Idaho and Wyoming. And with more than 150 inches of snow per year, the powder is reliably fresh. There are many available package tours, including one of the Old Faithful Geyser Basin, which takes visitors 65 miles through the teeming wildlife of Madison Canyon on into Yellowstone’s most famous landmark. For just over $200, you can rent a snowmobile, insulated jumpsuits and face visor. View all of the available snowmobile trails in Montana.
Located just 30 miles south of the Canadian border, Priest Lake is a 19-mile long body of water framed by the Selkirk Mountains. Over 400 miles of trails encircle Priest Lake and the more remote Upper Priest Lake, where whitetail deer, black bears, moose and bald eagles provide endless photo ops. With elevations ranging from 2,500 to over 7,000 feet, the views offered to intrepid snowmobilers are among the most staggering in the country. Camping is a big selling point for this destination, making it a budget-friendly alternative to pricey ski lodges.
For a long, multifaceted snow adventure, Heber City is perfectly positioned as the official gateway city to three of Utah’s finest snowmobiling destinations: Mirror Lake, Mill Hollow and Strawberry Reservoir. Located just 23 miles from Heber City, Strawberry Reservoir contains campground loops, day use areas, group pavilions and marina stores. In addition, the nearby Strawberry Bay Recreation area contains a restaurant and a full service lodge. Mirror Lake, accessible via a byway through the Uinta Mountains, is at the base of the 11,943-foot Bald Mountain and its Bald Mountain Trail, one of the most popular in the region.
You know your destination is snowmobile-friendly if it hosts the Snowmobile Hall of Fame and Museum. Not only is St. Germain the official home of snowmobiling history, it’s a town almost singularly focused on curating and cultivating the finest trails and amenities in the country – and helping newbies cultivate a love of the sport. A local club called the St. Germain Bo-Boen Snowmobile Club takes the lead in the effort, with an annual six-figure budget for groomed trails, providing guided tours and offering safety assistance. They also offer Snowmobile Safety Education Classes and can help those new to snowmobiling with rentals and novice trail recommendations.
With thousands of lakes scattered throughout seemingly endless swaths of untouched wilderness, Elliot Lake makes a jaunt north of the border well worth your while. A short two-hour drive from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and less than five hours from the greater Toronto area, Elliot Lake feels both remote and surprisingly connected at the same time. The Elliot Lake Snowbirds Snowmobile Club does a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to maintaining trails and providing guidance and assistance to visitors. The town itself has a bustling population of over 12,000, modern conveniences and shopping. Elliot Lake offers a wide range of accommodations ranging from the budget-friendly Hampton Inn to the more luxurious Denison House. Plus, most of the inns, lodges and hotels are within walking distance of downtown.
If you are planning a snowmobile vacation this winter make sure to consider snowmobile insurance. Hitting the trail without it could leave you unprotected in the event of an accident. Learn more about specific snowmobile coverages.