We’ve all been there. Constant news on a snowstorm coming everywhere you turn. We all laugh as our winter hating peers freak out and binge on John Dee, Accuweather, and Weather.com, trying to figure out where the storm will go and how much it will dump. Our snowmobiles are ready, and things go right, we are going ridding. The snow ends up going a bit north or south of you, but it snowed enough for the best words a snowmobiler can ever hear, “TRAILS ARE OPEN.” We can’t just let our fellow sled heads who got hammered by the storm have all the fun.
It’s time to chase the snow!
We have money invested in our truck and trailer in addition to our snowmobile, and it’s time to put it to use, but where do we park? There are a few go-to places that will never fail but will require some research.
The best bet is to get your hands on a trail map of the area you are going ridding. Some great resources to find a trail map is the club for the county’s website, or if that turns out empty, you can always turn to the Polaris Ride Command app to get a feel for where there is a trailhead you can park.
Our go to’s for this are either county parks or a restaurant/bar on the trail.
We like county parks as there is usually no fee to park and they are plentiful in most areas. The farther away from primary traffic sources like highways, the better chance you’ll have at finding a spot to park. Use any satellite maps app to see how big the parking lot is, so you don’t set yourself up for failure. When parking, be sure you don’t have to ride over any forbidden areas to get where you need to be. There are way too many tree huggers looking for a reason to hate us, and if they see tracks coming from your trailer, they will find a way to voice their displeasure. Also, if there are any fees, make sure they are paid before you head out. The DNR will throw the book at you, even if you do intend to settle them when you come back.
If you would like to avoid the possibility of angering a Sierra Club member by ruining their serenity while snowshoeing, we suggest the restaurant/bar on the trail. Again turn to a club map if possible and find a bar on the trail. Restaurants and bars that sponsor trail maps will be more open to parking there than ones that do not. If they are open, it’s a good idea to call or go in as you arrive to verify that it’s okay to park there. If they aren’t open, be courteous and in the back of the lot and tread lightly. Always make sure to stop in before you leave and thank them by buying something to eat or drink.
Those are the best recommendations to park at when chasing open trails. There are other options like hotels and large store parking lots, but those run a higher risk of upsetting somebody. Hotels may be open to it if they aren’t booked and will have room in their parking lot, but if they don’t have a restaurant you can patronize when you are done, they may see no upside of letting you ride out of their lot.
Snowmobiling, at its core, is an adventure, and chasing open trails is one of many ways to experience that adventure. It’s always fun to do, and you’ll see places you haven’t seen and meet lots of great new people. It’s why we snowmobile!