Michigan Bucket List: Ice Tree in Gaylord

Shandra Martinez

| 2 min read

Michigan is home to many winter marvels, including the Ice Tree in Gaylord, which the Northern Michigan community is the “world’s largest ice tree.”
The downtown landmark dates back to the 1950s when a group of local businessmen made a pile of discarded Christmas trees and sprayed it with water, creating the city’s first Ice Tree, according to the Gaylord Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The Ice Tree gained attention, and by 1957 it was christened “Cold Faithful” thanks to a competition in the local newspaper.
“By the 1960s, Gaylord’s notorious Ice Tree was receiving recognition from far and wide,” shares the Gaylord CVB. “Other cities even attempted to create their own icy monument. However, they just couldn’t match the majesty of what our community had on display.”

Infrastructure for ice

As Cold Faithful’s popularity gained momentum, so did Gaylord’s desire to see the tree grow. In 1965, the community decided to create a system that would ensure its bragging rights as home to the world’s “world’s largest ice tree.”
A metal scaffolding with underground piping was installed at the newly constructed Otsego County Building, 225 W. Main St. Improvements have been made through the years, including enhanced underground hosing to prevent water lines from freezing, ensuring the Ice Tree would continue growing for the entire winter.
Every year, the weather and elements change the tree’s look. The attraction weighs an average 190-200 tons at its seasonal peak.
Decades later, the Ice Tree remains one of Gaylord’s most popular landmarks. The iconic tree fits in perfectly with the community’s Alpine Village theme.

More to offer

Gaylord is a popular winter destination beyond the marvel of the Ice Tree. Nestled in the heart of Northern Michigan, the area transforms into a wonderland of snow-laden trees, frozen lakes, and charming streetscapes.
From snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on scenic trails to exhilarating snow tubing runs and dog sledding adventures, the town provides diverse options for those seeking active and immersive winter experiences.
There are many ways to enjoy winter across the state of Michigan. Check out our recent “A Healthier Michigan Podcast” for some fun ideas for getting outside and enjoying some healthy seasonal activities. Spending time outdoors in Michigan during the winter offers big benefits to your physical and mental health. Here are five options to consider.
Photo credit: @gaylordmichigan on Instagram

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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