Superior makes winter outdoors in Wisconsin really fun. Really affordable. Really wild.

Person walking hiking on a Superior trail in the winter.

Welcome to Snowperior

Superior is a rock star in the summer, and spring and fall aren’t too shabby either. But in winter… that’s when Superior really shines. When Superior puts on her lovely white coat, she becomes a winter destination like no other – Snowperior!

Let’s give you the inside scoop on how to winter like an expert in Wisconsin’s Winter Capital™ 

10 Winter Things to Do in Wisconsin’s Winter Capital™ 


1. Ski the slopes, tube the park.

Ever cruised downhill on some planks? Bombed a run on a giant cushy innertube? For an affordable way to downhill ski and snowboard, try Mont du Lac Resort. A local favorite for a few hours on the slopes, shredders come for the terrain park. The family-friendly resort has an incredible snow tubing park, as well as a Trophy Lodge and Base Lodge with food, brew and live music. Can’t make it this winter? Come in the summer for the mountain bike trails, river tubing, disc golf, alpine slide, waterpark and archery range.


2. Sled the snowmobile trails.

Get into the thick of 300 miles of groomed goodness in and around Superior. The snowmobiling and winter ATV and UTV access starts right outside your door. And then, just keeps going. 

  • Rip the Wild Rivers State Trail, Gandy Dancer State Trail, or Saunders State Trail
  • Hop on the Tri-County Corridor Trail where the Osaugie Trail ends in town and travel east past scenic Amnicon Falls. 
  • This is sled country, and more than just a perfect pit stop. You’ll find plenty of friendly characters and connector trails that go further into Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. Heck, you can even watch some ice racing action on frozen lakes.

Sled right: check this out for maps, snow reports, local snowmobile and ATV club links—and some of the choice trailside hotels and restaurants where you can refuel.


3. Try all kinds of ice fishing.

Ever tried it? Ice fishing is a Wisconsin right of passage. For those who know, there’s some serious fishing here. And a serious variety of options. 

  • Small lakes abound— like Amnicon Lake, Upper St. Croix and Lake Nebagamon—for the likes of crappies, muskies, northerns and largemouth bass. 
  • Sit yourself down in the city. In deep winter, anglers drag sleds on the Superior Bay near Barker’s Island to sit in the quiet Twin Ports harbor in search of walleye, pike and trout. Others fish for crappies on the St. Louis Bay near Billings Park and the Superior Municipal Forest. 
  • When Lake Superior freezes, which is rare, some anglers venture out for lake trout and salmon—an adventure that requires extra planning and safety precautions.

Just remember: no ice is ever entirely safe. Always be cautious and get the ice report before heading out. These local shops can share the latest info, as well as offer tips and any fishing supplies you need.


4. Enjoy pristine cross-country skiing.

Looking for skinny ski sweetness as you glide beside frozen streams and snow-covered pines? For cross-country skiing, this is a Northwoods haven for some serious and affordable winter wonder. For all levels of experience, both classic and skate, start in the heart of the city. 

  • The 36k of trails in the Superior Municipal Forest takes you through one of Wisconsin’s only remaining boreal forests—and the third largest city forest in the U.S. With 8 loops, it doesn’t get much better than these gorgeous trails, which are tracked and groomed seven days a week. 
  • Ten miles east, find a 25k network of loops and a warming house at the Brule River State Forest Afterhours Trail
  • Try the Douglas County Trails between the towns of Solon Springs and Gordon for 17k of easy, classic track. 
  • Just south of Superior, when conditions allow, Pattison State Park maintains 5.5 miles of nordic trail.

5. explore by snowshoe.

This is a winter adventure for every age and a range of abilities. Snowshoeing lets you make the most of any terrain piled high with pow. Here, you can strap on snowshoes and slip into the quiet wonders of the wild to explore the frosty shores of Lake Superior, the massive woods of Superior Municipal Forest, or a dedicated trail in magical state parks just outside the city.  Some favorite spots: 

  • Take a short loop at Amnicon Falls State Park to behold frozen waterfalls. 
  • Visit the largest waterfall in Wisconsin, Big Manitou Falls, at Pattison State Park while roaming the forests on informal trails and forests. 
  • For Lake Superior lovers, Wisconsin Point and the nearby Makwa Ziibiins Miikana (Bear Creek Trail) offer a mix of forest wonder and some surreal moonscape vistas when the big lake is frozen. 
  • The Bayfield Road Snowshoe Trail is a local favorite in the Brule River State Forest. 

For the long-haul adventurers, there’s the North Country Scenic Trail, with over 40 miles to explore right here on the trail that meanders from North Dakota to New York. Need to rent some gear while here? Try the University of Wisconsin Superior. Or buy your own at these shops.


6. Feel the holiday feels.

Savor the holiday season by hearing a UWS choir and orchestra concert, buying gifts at a makers’ market or touring a decorated Fairlawn Mansion. Ring in the New Year or Valentine’s Day with candlelight nordic skiing. Or plan a trip around some thrills and chills during events on the ski slopes, lakes and ice rinks. Check the events calendar to see everything that’s happening.


7. Come for the Lake Superior Ice Festival.

Here’s an icy way to embrace the elements and experience all kinds of winter fun. The annual Lake Superior Ice Festival on Barker’s Island in Superior features ice sculpting, trivia contests, ice golf, snowshoe demos, live music, food trucks and more. Get a photo on an ice throne. Go for a hot air balloon lift. Watch the fireworks display. As part of the event, ice sculptures go on display all around town: look for them while visiting in late January and early February.


8. Watch ice cross downhill races.

Are you a fan of hockey, speed skating and skiing and wonder what an action sports mash-up might look like? Then check out Red Bull Crashed Ice. The world championship series downhill ice cross race is one of the extreme winter sporting events held annually at Mont du Lac. Competitive downhill ice skaters travel downhill on an iced, walled track featuring sharp turns and high vertical drops. And you get to watch them barrel (or crash) down the hill.


9. Motor into the ice races.

Geared up for excitement? Watch motorcycles, quads and UTVs race across frozen lakes during an ice race on the Superior Bay at Barker’s Island or nearby Allouez Bay. Want in on the action? Bring your machine and enter one of the Midwest Ice Racing competitions held in January and February. The nonprofit association offers opportunities to race in various divisions, with racers between the ages of 4 and 50+ joining in the fun.


10. Behold big lake surf.

Seriously, surfing? Yes, when the winds are right, surfers drop in for big waves on the big lake—even during the winter months. Lake Superior beckons to hearty souls in all weather, all year long. And if you’re not looking to get wet, witnessing the powerful water of this great lake is a great thing to do in the winter—whether it’s during an early winter storm or when late winter ice slabs pile up on the shore, creating a quiet crackling moonscape along Wisconsin Point and the South Shore.


Got a story or suggestion about really fun times outdoors in Superior?

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