About 14 miles east of Manistee off M-55 is Big M, a premier cross country ski area in the heart of the Manistee National Forest. The narrow trails wind through the pines of the forest and is maintained entirely by volunteers and contributions. For safety, the trail system is mostly one-way and you are asked to follow the “One-Way” and “Do Not Enter” signs. Pets are not allowed, nor are any motorized vehicles. These trails are primarily for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. During the spring, summer, and fall, Big M is open for mountain biking. There is a trail shelter…the perfect place to stop and warm up next to the woodstove.
Various events are held throughout the winter, like the Moonlight Ski or Chili Feed. Within Big M, there are various trails to match your skill and endurance. Challenging trails include Capper’s Peak at .8 miles uphill from the parking lot, the Catamount at 3.72 miles, and Oh Me II at 2.94 miles. The Lumberjack (1.68 miles) and Corkpine (2.8 miles) are original beginner cross country ski trails. From M-55, take Udell Hills Road 3.5 miles to Big M. There is no cost to use the trails.