My family has grown up in the Newaygo County area and we have been riding snowmobiles off the LP3 Trail system for years. When you see the staging parking lots full on a Saturday morning, it feels good to know the area businesses are going to see some out of county revenue for fuel, meals, etc. Newaygo County thrives on tourism and if you visit us, you can see why the locals live here. Meet Nick Smith, local rider from Fremont, Michigan. Being another avid local rider, I asked him about his experience with the LP3 Trail System.

On average, how many miles do you ride in a winter?
Depends on weather, but up to 2,500 if the snow is good. Typical a full day is 200 miles a trip. A half day or after work ride is about 100 miles

How many trips do you take in the state?
As many as possible. Will ride every weekend if there is snow in the northern lower.  Have traveled all over northern lower MI to find snow.

Have you visited LP3 trail in Newaygo County more than once?
It is my home trail system, and it is awesome.

What brings you back to our county?
I live here. People that ride with me who don’t live here comment on how well maintained our trails are.

Were you familiar with the region before your first snowmobile trip? If not, how did you first learn about it?
I never rode south of Irons, MI before I moved here. My first trip was on my own and I just grabbed a map from the welcome center.

 How does the LP3 trail compare to other trails in the lower peninsula?
Meticulously maintained and has a great number of other trail connections.  No other set of trails I have been on in Michigan have near this level of maintenance. The Trail Riders Snowmobile Club out of Baldwin, MI has high standards and do a great job.  Most other trails are beat to death, and you don’t see a groomer during the day on high traffic weekends, let alone multiple times a day.

Did you fall in love with any of the towns or villages you passed through, or with certain sections of the trails, etc.?
My favorite stops are Mr. Bibbs at Big Star Lake and Woody’s bar.  I would say Woody’s bar is my favorite restaurant in Newaygo County.  Their staff is always warm and welcoming, and the atmosphere is super laid-back and fun.   

What would you say to new snowmobilers who have not rode the LP3 trail?
Come give it a try.  I would recommend a weekday ride for the best experience. If you can only ride weekends hit the trails early because there is a lot of traffic on the weekends especially the closer you get to Baldwin.

If you like long trips you can connect to trails that will take you all the way North to Frankfort and as far SW as Muskegon, and as far East to Clair.

Must have gear when riding?
Heated face shield, map, survival/medical gear (just in case).  An extra set of spark plugs.

Anything to add?
Come up and explore the LP3 system. The local law enforcement and business owners are very welcoming to Snowmobilers, and we have some cool areas to explore.  You can even ride your Snowmobile right into the City of White Cloud on their access trail.  Cellphone reception is good, and the trails are marked well in case you run into trouble on the trail.


Snowmobiling Etiquette 101

For some people, winter is a time for laying low and hibernating. For others, like snowmobilers, a little snowfall is a signal the fun is about to begin. If you’re ready to get the sled out of the shed and hit the glistening trails, be sure to brush up on your snowmobiling manners and safety so you and the rest of the enthusiasts out there can have a great time all season.

Review your local and state laws:  The American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA)

Know your hand signals
ACSA recommends the use of hand signals for communicating with other riders in your group as well as additional snowmobile traffic on the trails. The following ACSA-approved left-hand signals are recommended.

Stop – Raise your arm straight up from your shoulder with your palm open.

Left Turn – Hold your arm straight out from your body.

Right Turn – Bend your arm and raise it to shoulder height with your palm open (like one half of a football goal post).

Oncoming Sleds – Guide your machine to the right while also pointing your arm to the right in an arc over your head.

Slowing – Extend your arm out and down from your body. Flap it in a downward motion to show caution.

Last Sled in Line – Bend your arm and raise it with a closed fist to shoulder height (like one half of a football goal post). Use this signal if you’re the last rider in your group.

Be courteous on the trails

  • Ride single file.
  • Keep to the right as much as possible on trails, especially when going around corners.
  • Reduce speed on curves and corners.
  • Pass on the left, but only if a rider has waved you on.
  • If you’re stopping along the trail, pull sleds as far off the trail to the right as possible. Don’t stop near curves.
  • Obey “no trespassing” signs; ride only where permitted. Always seek permission of the landowner before riding on private property.
  • Watch out for motorists when crossing roadways. Be mindful of cross-country skiers, hikers, horseback riders, wildlife and trail-grooming vehicles.
  • Use caution, slow down and give a wide berth to trail-grooming vehicles. Only pass these vehicles when you have a clear line of sight and plenty of room. Stay to the right. Be patient and take time to assess the situation.

Be Considerate

  • Don’t ride off trail.
  • Don’t ride when there’s not enough snow on trails or when soil or vegetation is exposed.
  • Don’t approach wildlife; be respectful of habitats.
  • Maintain your snowmobile to reduce both noise and emissions pollution.

Click here for a link to Michigan Department of Natural Resources Designated Snowmobile Trails for Newaygo County!