Words by: Erica Zazo // Images by: Craig Hedges
There’s nothing like feeling at home in nature.
For over three thousand years, yurts have served this exact purpose – providing a cozy space protected from the elements to lay your head, hang with friends and family, and call “home.”
Originating in Central Asia, these tent-like masterpieces are beautiful and sturdy. Insulated with canvas exteriors, wood latticework lacing on the inside walls, and a bubble window in the center of the roof that lets in sunlight and moonlight all day long - yurts protect you from the elements and provide a comfortable shelter to cozy up in.
We’d argue winter makes the best time venture to a yurt. In Michigan, you can find them tucked away in state park forests, scattered along Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, and nestled at the base of some of the state’s best ski hills.
Here are some of our favorites:
Mount Bohemia – Mohawk, MI
Shred the slopes, soak in the tub, and sleep in a yurt at this U.P. gem. Mount Bohemia is home to some of the most extreme ski hills in the state. It’s also known for its Scandanavian-inspired amenities (like a 14-person sauna) and its sweet spread of accommodations – from cozy cabins to huge yurts. The property spreads 585 acres, has 2 chair lifts, and gets an average of 273 inches of snowfall per year. Did we mention their outdoor hot tub is the largest in the U.P.?
Porcupine Mountain State Park – Ontonagon, MI
If you’re wanting a more rustic escape into wintery wilderness, the Michigan State Parks are your best pick. You’ll just need to grab your snowshoes and hike into the backcountry to find these yurts. Porcupine Mountain State Park has a mix of yurts up for grabs. Make it a weekend trip and go yurt-hopping, or pick a homebase and explore the trails, cross country ski, or sit outside at a winter fire.
Muskegon State Park – Muskegon, MI
Have a few buds you want to bring? The Muskegon-Yurt in Muskegon State Park has a 20-foot diameter and sleeps seven. It includes two big log bunks, a table and chairs, and a wood-burning stove that comes with pre-chopped firewood. You won’t be bored here. The Muskegon State Park yurt has a full trail network, nearby winter activities (luge, ice rink, etc.) and cross country ski trails that are lit by a lantern glow at night.
Pinckney Recreation Area – Pinckney, MI
Pinckney Recreation Area is a cross-country skiers paradise. After hitting the trail all day on the ungroomed Potawatomi Trail (17 miles), warm up with an overlook right in front of the Glenbrook Yurt, across the Portage River and Halfmoon Lake. The other beauty of this location is the ability to pull up, unpack, and walk 10 feet from car to inside the cozy yurt.
For a full list of Michigan yurts throughout the state parks, check out the DNR’s winter lodging resource page.
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