Michiana Outdoor Recreation Guide | Winter Edition
4 min read

Michiana Outdoor Recreation Guide | Winter Edition

**This is a post we transferred over from our OG website. Original post date was February 5th, 2021.**
Michiana Outdoor Recreation Guide | Winter Edition

Clark from InRugCo recently wrote a How to Dress for Winter Recreation blog on their website to provide tips on how to comfortably get in needed outdoor activity during our chilly Michiana winter months. After visiting their Mishawaka shop we invited Clark to help us provide a list of a variety of winter recreational activities in and around the Michiana region. We can't wait to try some of these out!


Picture yourself nordic skiing in a forest all by yourself, or exploring a serene frozen lakeshore with wind sculpted dunes.

Need more adrenaline? Imagine getting rowdy on groomed singletrack squeezing between trees and roaring downhill on a fatbike.

How about something more family friendly? Consider ice skating at newly renovated Howard Park or tubing and warming up fireside with hot chocolate at Wilson Park.

Welcome to winter in Michiana!

If you are looking for suggestions on where to go, this guide is for you. Always double check with each location to ensure accuracy.

This guide is broken down by activity.

  • Winter Hiking / Snowshoeing
  • XC or Nordic Skiing
  • Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding
  • Fatbiking
  • Sledding / Tubing
  • Ice Skating
Winter Hiking at Warren Dunes State Park

Winter Hiking / Snowshoeing

National Park

Indiana Dunes National Park

State Parks

Potato Creek

Indiana Dunes

Warren Dunes

Pokagon

County Parks

St. Patrick’s - rents snowshoes

Madeline Bertrand - rents snowshoes

Love Creek

Bendix Woods

Bonneyville Mill

TK Lawless International Dark Sky Park

Misc

Fort Custer State Recreation Area

Winona Lake Trails

Spicer Lake Nature Preserve

Sarett Nature Center

Chikaming Township Park & Preserve

Fred Russ State Forest

Elbel Park Golf Course

Anywhere you’ve hiked in the other three seasons is usually just fine for winter hiking.

Snowshoeing is an activity best enjoyed when there is sufficient snow (6” is ideal) to allow the snowshoes to “float” on the snow.

In icy conditions, microspikes are recommended for extra traction for winter hiking.

When you are considering mileage, keep in mind the average hiker walks about 2-3 miles an hour.

XC Skiing

County Park

St. Patrick’s - grooms & rents skis

Madeline Bertrand - grooms & rents skis

Love Creek - grooms & rents skis

Bonneyville Mill - grooms

Boot Lake Nature Preserve - grooms

Bendix Woods

TK Lawless International Dark Sky Park

State Parks

Potato Creek

Indiana Dunes

Warren Dunes

Pokagon

National Park

Indiana Dunes National Park

Misc

Fort Custer State Recreation Area

Fred Russ State Forest

Spicer Lake Nature Preserve

Sarett Nature Center

Winona Lake Trails

Chikaming Township Park & Preserve

Elbel Park Golf Course

Your best bet for groomed XC ski trails are county parks. Typically, state parks do not groom at all or as frequently as county parks. Always check after a snowstorm, conditions are subject to change.

You can still XC ski at the other locations on this list, but you might have to break your own trail, or share the trails with hikers or snowshoers on the trail - which is still fun!

Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding

Closest to Michiana

Swiss Valley

Timber Ridge

Bittersweet

Cannonsburg Ski Area

Mulligan's Hollow

3-5 Hour Drive

Crystal Mountain

Caberfae Peaks

Boyne Mountain

Nub's Nob

Many of these downhill ski resorts aren't within the Michiana area, but I thought a master list would be helpful.

I would always recommend checking conditions before planning a trip, especially their new or manmade snow totals.

Fat biking at Andrew's University

Fat Bike Trails

Love Creek - grooms

Bonneyville Mill - grooms

Potato Creek - grooms

Andrew's University

Winona Lake

Bendix Woods

Rum Village

Chikaming Township & Preserve

Meyer Broadway Warnaar Trail

TK Lawless International Dark Sky Park

Fort Custer State Recreation Area

Goshen Mountain Bike Trail

The mountain bike trails you ride in the summer can typically be ridden in the snow with a fat bike.

The majority of the trails on this list are groomed by volunteer mountain bikers.

For trail conditions, follow local mountain bike associations NIMBA (Northern Indiana) or SWMMBA (Southwest Michigan) on their social media channels.

When riding in groomed snow, you will want to lower your PSI typically between 0-8 to protect the trail.

Tubing train at Wilson Park

Sledding / Tubing

Pokagon State Park - worth the drive - has a toboggan run!

Wilson Park - rents tubes

St. Patrick’s - rents tubes

Elbel Park Golf Course

Erskine Golf Course

Ferrettie / Baugo Creek

Bendix Woods

Potato Creek

Bonneyville Mill

TK Lawless International Dark Sky Park

There is no shortage of great sledding hills in Michiana!

Let me know in a comment below if I didn't include your favorite sledding spot.

Ice skating at Merrifield Rink

Ice Skating

Outdoors

Howard Park

NIBCO Water & Ice Park

Merrifield Ice Rink

Indoors

Notre Dame Compton Family Ice Arena

Garden Ice Arena - they have ice bumper cars!


Ice Skating at the newly renovated Howard Park in South Bend in a must for a Michiana winter!

Every ice skating rink above offers rentals, so you will be good to go.

With all these outdoor recreation options, there's no excuse not to get outside and enjoy Michiana this winter!

If you have any questions, leave a comment below or come see us in person at InRugCo.


The below crew neck was what brought us in to InRugCo. The feeling of local pride in their family owned shop, from tees with sayings like "Keep Indiana Corny" to local milk and other products, is awesome to experience!