Location: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Nearby Town: Glen Arbor, MI
Elevation (Max): 858'
Elevation Gained: ~690'
Trailhead: From the South: Take Rte 22 north until after Empire, then turn left onto Rte 109. Parking will be on the left (opposite Glen Lake). From the North: Take Rte 22 into Glen Arbor, where 22 intersects with Rte 109, stay straight to take 109 south. Parking will be on the right. The parking is very obvious from 109.
Fees: The NPS charges $10 per vehicle--so pack everyone in.
After exploring a new area at Platte Plains with a hike through the woods, my family took to the classic hike in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore--the Lake Trail across the Sleeping Bear Dunes themselves. This is a hike that I've posted on before when I hiked it with my then-girlfriend (now fiancee) and parents on a previous trip to Michigan. As you may recall, E and I successfully hiked to Lake Michigan across the dunes but then got pretty lost on the return hike because we tried to make a loop instead of doing the out and back. This time, I was with my parents, aunts, and sisters and we wisely decided to do the out and back. Since I've already described the hike, this will be mostly a photography post with a GPS-generated track at the end. Enjoy!
The start of the hike, known simply as The Climb
Historic DH Day Farm
Looking back at Glen Lake
View of Lake Michigan
We went out one way and came back the other way
Soothing, clear waters of Lake Michigan after the hike across the sand
Looking north towards North Manitou Island
Sailboat framed by South and North Manitou Islands
Siblings almost done with the hike
The pictures below are not from the hike, but rather from the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive which is just south of the hike, and I definitely recommend it.
I hope this sign and the pictures below can adequately convey the height and steepness of this bluff
We talked to one woman whose son was climbing, and she said he does it every day while they're there and he averages about 15 minutes--pretty impressive.
Looking south over North Bar Lake toward Empire