Snowmobiling is one of the most popular winter activities in the world, giving outdoor enthusiasts a good excuse to head out into the cold conditions to have some fun on the mountain. But not all winter destinations are created equal in terms of offering excellent opportunities to experience the sport in all of its glory. To help you sort through the best places to go for a ride this winter, we've compiled a list of our favorite locations to go snowmobiling in North America. Some have hundreds of miles of trails threading through thick forests, while others feature wide open spaces where speed is the name of the game. All of the places on this list offer something unique and exhilarating, making them truly adventurous destinations for winter fun.
Camp Hale, Colorado
If you're visiting Colorado to go skiing in Vail, Beaver Creek, or one of the Summit County resorts, why not take a day off and go snowmobiling in the Rocky Mountains while you're in the neighborhood? Nova Guides is located at Camp Hale, where the 10th Mountain Division trained to fight in the European Alps during World War II, and offers some fantastic day trips into spectacular alpine settings.
The most popular tour here is The Top of the Rockies, during which snowmobilers ride through wooded terrain before clearing the tree line, where they witness the snowcapped peaks of the surrounding mountains in all directions. It is also possible to rent snowmobiles here and use the trails independently if you'd like, although trained guides can also help you maximize your time. Nova Guides will even pick up visitors at their hotel and take them to the timbered Camp Hale Lodge, in a meadow at 9,200-feet above sea level to begin their adventure.
Yellowstone National Park
On a one-day snowmobiling trip into Yellowstone National Park, visitors are put on special snowmobile machines that have been configured to be quieter and have less of an environmental impact. This helps to preserve the ecosystem within the park and doesn't disturb the wildlife quite so much either. You can only drive the snowmobiles on roads, but there are plenty of places to stop and watch elk nibble the bark off trees or herds of bison wandering close to Yellowstone's famed hot springs that are common throughout the area. Sharp-eyed visitors may even spot the park's famous wolf packs wandering through the stunningly beautiful winter landscapes.
Two Top Snowmobiles offers tours and rentals near the West Yellowstone entrance. Jackson Hole Snowmobile Tours offers trips through the park's South Entrance as well. The ride to Old Faithful, from either location, is one of the most popular tours in the park no matter which direction you're coming from.
The Adirondack Mountains in New York
The towns and villages in the Adirondacks in Upstate New York have an extended, interconnected trail system that weaves its way across much of the region. It's easy to rent snowmobiles in a number of the local towns, or bring your own and start exploring completely independently. The St. Lawrence region alone has more than 750 miles of winding trails to keep riders busy and when you're done riding for the day, there are plenty of hotels and restaurants to relax in too.
If you're looking for a guided tour of the region, C+C Adirondack Snowmobile Tours can accommodate. The company can handle both beginner and advanced riders alike, with one- and two-hour excursions available.
Snowmobiling is one of the best ways to explore Alaska during the winter, where you'll discover some of the wildest terrain on the entire continent. The Alaskan backcountry is some of the most rugged and remote found anywhere on the planet and much of it is inaccessible throughout the long winter unless you're riding a snowmobile. It is not uncommon to spot bald eagles overhead or moose foraging in the snow while exploring the remote trails. Even when riding close to Anchorage you could find yourself on routes that follow along sheer ridges that appear as if they could slide right into Resurrection Bay.
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
You'll probably never have enough time to explore all of the 6,500 miles of groomed snowmobiling trails found within the state of Michigan, but you'll certainly have an amazing time trying. Those trails weave in and out of state forests, three national forests, and miles of other public lands designated for outdoor use. The more remote and wild trails are found on the Upper Peninsula, which has an impressive 3,000 miles of groomed trails just by itself. To truly get away from it all, "cross the bridge" as the locals say and head upstate for some amazing riding.
The Michigan tourism board keeps a resource of details like routes and trail conditions on their website, where you'll also be able to compare mountain destinations across the entire state.
Snowmobiling in this predominantly French speaking Canadian province, especially on the routes in the Gaspe Peninsula and the Northern Trail, delivers a a different kind of ambiance than riding trails in the U.S. With its distinct architecture, French language, and unique culture, you'll be excused for thinking you may have ridden your snowmobile all the way to Europe.
Proud Quebecers claim that the sport of snowmobiling actually began there and they remain passionate about riding to this day. There is no denying that Quebec is a winter wonderland and as a result, there are plenty of trails to ride and places to rent a machine for those who don't bring their own. Depending on the route you choose, you might even have to load your snowmobiles onto a ferry to cross the St. Lawrence River, which is typically dotted with ice floes throughout the winter.
If you're in southern, Utah, take a snowmobile excursion into the Dixie National Forest to find spectacular views of the dramatic red-hued stone cliffs of Cedar Breaks Monument, which stand in stark contrast to the pure white snow. The Brian Head route is an especially popular one, which means that it can get crowded at times. But, it is well worth the ride when you consider the stunning views found along the way.
Snowmobile rentals are easy to come by throughout the state and fresh powder is usually easy to find too. More experienced riders may want to leave the well-trod trails behind and try a little backcountry exploration instead. Here, skill and finesse are required, but the rewards in terns of views and the overall experience simply can't be beat.
Winter warriors on the east will find exceptional riding throughout New Hampshire, where the Bear Notch trail system offers 50 miles of closed routes dedicated to the sport, while the Pittsburg, New Hampshire region alone has 200 miles of trail to explore.
All told, there are more than 7,000 miles of snowmobile routes spread out across the state, making it a mecca for riders from all over the country. As such, you'll find plenty of rental shops, hotels, restaurants, and other attractions in abundance.