Mt Arvon Winter Ascent

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 46.75600°N / 88.156°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Mar 3, 2018
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Winter
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Snowshoeing Michigan's High Point

I decided to snowshoe the high points of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin to add interest to what otherwise would be mundane additions to my quest to climb the 50 state high points.  While not quite as appealing as Minnesota's Eagle Mountain, which is situated in a true wilderness area, Michigan's Mt. Arvon was nonetheless a very worthwhile climb.  

Mt. Arvon is remote, to say the least.  My wife and I stayed in the small town of Baraga, which is about 45 minutes west of Arvon's trailhead.  Baraga's sister town of L'Anse is somewhat larger, but not much.  Marquette is another option that offers far more lodging and restaurant choices.  However it is 20-30 minutes further away from Arvon than Baraga or L'Anse.  

The "trail" up Mt. Arvon is actually a groomed snowmobile road that snowshoers or cross-country skiers can access by driving Ravine River Road south to a parking area that abuts the start of the trail.  We mistakenly drove past the parking area, thinking that the road would dead end at the trailhead.  (It does not.)  Fortunately, the trailhead is clearly marked about 100 yards past the parking area, so we quickly realized our error.   While the snowmobile trail offers easy snowshoeing, it also makes for a long hike.  How long is open to question.  The Summit Post page indicates 8 miles one way, while the Baraga County Visitors Bureau told me 4 miles one way.   My best estimate is about midway between these two estimates, or 6 miles one way.  (The exact length may vary with how far the county decides to plow Ravine River Road in any given winter.)  In any event, the hike was not overly difficult.  The trail was smooth and firm, with a very gradual elevation change, so we made much better time than would be possible on a rocky hiking trail of the same length.  In fact, the trail was so firm that snowshoes weren't really required.  Crampons or Yaktraks  would have sufficed, except for directly after a big snowfall.  Cross country skis are also an option, although mainly for skaters rather than classic nordic skiers since there are no groomed tracks.

The scenery on our ascent was very attractive.  The deep snowpack (~3 feet) transformed the woods and made for excellent photo opportunities, particularly around creeks and bogs   Lake Superior was visible several times during the climb, including from a semi-cleared area near the summit.  We were lucky to enjoy brilliant sunshine and comfortable temps (about 30 degrees at the summit) but were concerned that the favorable weather would attract hordes of snowmobilers. Fortunately, that was not the case.  We counted only fifteen snowmobiles, surprisingly few for a five-and-a-half hour climb on a beautiful Saturday in early March. 

As others have noted, the signage is exceptionally good.  Unlike with Minnesota's Eagle Mountain, there is no way you can miss Arvon's exact summit.  Even in very deep snow, the marker is easily visible.  It is virtually impossible to get lost at any point on the climb.  The one exception is towards the bottom of the descent, where the road forks at a stop sign and there is no indication whether the parking lot lies to the right or left (and you are unlikely to remember unless you were very observant at the beginning of your hike).  The correct direction is to the right, which is counterintuitive since there is a yellow arrow and the signage for Road 14 (the road you follow to the summit) pointing to the left.  

If you fit enough for a long day of snowshoeing or skiing, ascending Mt. Arvon in the winter is definitely the way to go - so much more interesting and challenging than driving up in the summer.....


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Stu Brandel

Stu Brandel - Mar 12, 2018 12:20 am - Voted 10/10

Thanks for the Snowshoeing info

I had been wondering what the distance would be. One suggestion: Put some pictures in if you have any from the trip.


McCannster - Mar 21, 2018 2:58 pm - Voted 9/10

Re: Thanks for the Snowshoeing info

Agreed, needs pics. Thy're the only thing keeping it from a 10/10 page rating.

Viewing: 1-2 of 2



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