This past weekend we took a skiing road trip to the U.P. of Michigan. Our goal was to ski Keweenaw Mountain Lodge Ski Trails and the Swedetown Ski Trails. On the way up to Calumet we stopped at the Miljes Ski Trails to get some quick exercise. The first problem was finding the trails. They are located about a mile south of Wakefield on highway 519. Unfortunately we couldn’t find any markings for highway 519. After asking at a local gas station (they weren’t sure) we stopped at the state patrol office a found out the location. At the intersection of highway 2 and 28 (the only stoplight in town) drive south through the downtown and continue for about a mile (you finally see a sign for 519 after leaving town). You will see a large sign for the trails on your right.
The trails have a new warming hut. A sign in the hut indicates that it is under construction and will be finished this year. There are rooms to change and several couches and comfortable chairs in the hut. It includes a table and chairs as well as a kitchen. There is a stove with firewood which you can use. This is a shot of the old warming hut which was formerly a herders cabin.
The blurb on skinny ski indicates there are 14 km of trails. The trail map on skinny ski indicates 9.2 km and the map on the warming hut indicates 6 km of trails. I believe the map in the hut and we were a little disappointed to find the trails were not as extensive as we were led to believe.
Skinny ski indicates there is a $10 dollar trail fee. When we finally found the donation box (it was about 100 feet down the trail) it said $7.00. Fortunately one of us had kept our money out so we could pay the fee.
The trails are gentle classic through a mix of hardwood forests and cedar swamps. This is a family run ski area and apparently the family has a Serbian and Finnish heritage. Many of the signs along the trail are in these languages. There were some local touches with a small Christmas tree decorated and later we found a tree decorated for valentine’s day.
The biggest problem was fact that the map on the internet did not match the trail system. The trail off to the northwest was as marked on the map and easy to follow. However the trails off to the southwest did not correspond to the map. My wife had picked up a map from the hut and it wasn’t until we became lost that we realized they were two entirely different maps. The southwest trails had been converted to a series of small loops. Unfortunately none of the trails were marked so when you came to 5 intersecting trails you had no idea which way to go. Since the trail system is so small you can’t get lost but the trails are in serious need of some trail markings and some maps posted along the way. I noticed in the log book that a number of people have commented on this.
This is probably not a place I would ski again, mainly because there are not enough trails and it is a bit pricy. The experience would be improved by developing a few more trails and marking the trails better. It is a bit off the beaten path and would likely be a fun place to spend skiing with the family. A morning ski followed by a visit to the warming hut and an afternoon ski would be enjoyable.
An updated report from 2012 is available on my Blog.