The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is open from Empire (Voice Road) to Glen Arbor (Forest Haven Road). The trail is 10 miles long and the section from Empire to the Dune Climb provides some challenging hills, while the section from the Dune Climb to Glen Arbor offers an easier ride.
The next section from Glen Arbor (Crystal River Input) to Port Oneida Road is open!
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is studying the possibility of a new water trail and backpacking trail that would run the length of the National Lakeshore from Platte Bay to Good Harbor Bay. This proposed Bay to Bay Trail would offer backcountry camping for multi-day wilderness experiences.
With over 100 miles of designated trails on the mainland, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers a wide variety of hiking experiences and activity levels. Our Trail Patrollers walk their favorite trail at least once a month picking up trash and removing obstacles like down branches from the trail. They report large problems to the Park Roads and Trails group. Pick your favorite trail and join us.
The Platte and Crystal Rivers flow through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Thousands of people enjoy canoeing, kayaking, and tubing down these rivers during the summer months. Our River Rangers float the rivers on a regular basis to pick up trash and report safety issues. If you enjoy the river, why not help out?
Help us keep our Lake Michigan beaches beautiful and safe. Adopt your favorite beach and walk your beach at least once a month picking up trash and reporting on beach conditions. It’s a great way to enjoy the beach – with a purpose.
Thousands of people are drawn to the beautiful beaches of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore each year. Each person is responsible to leave the beach in at least as good condition as they found it. While visitors are encouraged to take out all their trash and to pick up any litter that they see while at the beach, it is important to have a program of regular maintenance to assure the beauty of the beaches. In 2016, volunteers picked up over a ton of litter from Sleeping Bear Dunes beaches! Wonder what they picked up? Click here to see the summary data.
Each year thousands of people kayak, canoe, or tube the two rivers (Platte River and Crystal River) in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to experience the fun of navigating a flowing stream and enjoying the flora and fauna on the river. Downed trees or branches or other strainers and erosion of banks, can make the river trip more difficult or dangerous. River adopters commit to patrolling their river section about once each month on their own schedule to clear small obstructions by hand or with hand tools and to communicate larger obstructions or erosion to Park Roads and Trails group. Also, even though most people who boat the rivers … Read & Learn More
Each year thousands of people use the over 100 miles of trails in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to experience the variety of natural ecosystems that exist in the Park and to see beautiful vistas that are inaccessible from a vehicle. Downed trees or branches due to high wind, snow or ice sometimes block the trail, or erosion can cut gullies into the making a hike more difficult or dangerous. Trail adopters commit to hiking their trail about once each month to clear small obstructions by hand or … Read & Learn More
The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes publishes 13 inexpensive visitor guide booklets covering a wide variety of topics from visitor information, area history, and environmental or scientific topics related to the Park. Many extensive research reports have been written about these topics, but they were in large reports which were expensive and not easily accessible to the average visitor. These booklets are short, easily read, and inexpensive. The booklets are available in several locations in and near the National Lakeshore for a donation of $3 per booklet or 3 booklets for $5, which covers the cost of printing. About 50,000 … Read & Learn More
This is the only bicycle trail in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. In winter it is groomed for cross-country skiing (both classic and skating styles) and snowshoeing. It is mostly paved, but has a short section of packed gravel through the Port Oneida Rural Historic District. The trail spans about 22 scenic miles between Empire and Bohemian Road.
The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is the biggest recreational project supported by the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Prior to the Summer of 2012, there were no trails in the National Lakeshore where bicycles could be ridden. This new trail provides a wonderful new recreational opportunity for families and individuals to experience the Park outside of their cars. We hope people will park their cars and either walk or safely ride bikes to many of the popular destinations in the Park. Check out this… Read & Learn More
The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes operate and maintain the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. That requires volunteers AND money! It requires about $1,000/mile of trail each year to maintain the trail. That means about $22,000/year!
Volunteers are needed now. We have Trail Ambassadors who will regularly use the trail and assist visitors with questions and safety related issues, and a Trail Crew, who does maintenance like downed tree removal, sweeping and ski grooming. If you are interested in volunteering for the SBHT Trail Team, click here to send us an e-mail.
Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail Ambassadors are volunteers who ride, walk, or ski the SBHT on a regular basis. They wear a bright orange vest that identifies them as an Ambassador, and they are available to answer trail user questions and provide directions or other help to our visitors. Ambassadors model good trail etiquette and report any trail maintenance issues to the Trail Crew.
Trail Ambassador Duties:
You are representatives of the National Park to visitors using the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, so do your best to help our … Read & Learn More
Trailhead parking for this section is at the corner of Voice Road and Bar Lake Road near the end of Lacore Street just north of Empire, MI. The parking lot is gravel with a short gravel spur to the asphalt trail. There is a vault toilet at the trailhead.
The trail winds through a valley from Bar Lake Road parallel to Voice Road. It is not visible from Voice Road most of the way to M-22. This section of about 1.5 miles is mostly up hill (about 3-5% grade) until you get beyond the intersection of M-22 and M-109. There are some short steep grades (10-12%) … Read & Learn More
Winter on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is special. Light fluffy snow covering the trees and trail make it ideal for photography, skiing, or snowshoeing through a secluded winter wonderland! Most of the trail is groomed in the winter with a corduroy base for skate skiing, snowshoeing, and classic tracks on the outside for classic cross-country skiing.
The SBHT is groomed by the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. The cost of grooming is paid through donations from people like you! Please click … Read & Learn More
We launched our Interactive Map for the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail in June, 2015. Over 60,000 people used the trail during 2015 and we had 20,000 page views of the map between June and September. Now that the map has been online for over a year, we expect even more user activity this year.
A few examples of what a business looks like on our interactive map are listed below. Click on the links. Then click on the arrows in the large picture in … Read & Learn More
CLICK TO GO TO THE MAP
When you open the Interactive Map, you will notice tabs along the bottom of the screen. Click or touch the Features On/Off tab and select the things you want to show up on the map (Parking lots, bathrooms, beaches, vistas, businesses that support the Trail, etc.). As soon as you click on a feature type, it will appear. You can change this anytime by clicking on the Features On/Off tab and changing your selection. You many have to zoom in to … Read & Learn More
The proposed Bay to Bay Backpack and Kayak Trail project is in the early stage of an Environmental Assessment. Initial Public Scoping was completed between August 15 and October 15, 2014. About 110 comments were received from the public during this time. These comments will help the Park staff and volunteers shape the proposed trail concept. The planning process will progress through the winter and spring, so by summer of 2015 the project team will be ready to share potential plan alternatives at public meetings.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) Superintendent Dusty Shultz announced that the National Park Service (NPS) proposes to develop a hiking and paddling trail that follows the Lake Michigan shoreline in the park from Platte Bay to Good Harbor Bay. To do so, the National Lakeshore will prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA), which will describe and analyze alternatives for this trail.
The 2009 Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Final General Management Plan / Wilderness Study / Environmental Impact Statement (GMP) proposed a trail for hikers and Lake Michigan paddlers that would parallel the Lake Michigan shoreline within the National Lakeshore and would make use of active beach areas or … Read & Learn More
The Bow Lakes region of the National Lakeshore is an isolated area of about 1,000 acres southeast of Glen Lake and north of M-72. It is accessed off of Baatz Road or Lanham Road (not plowed in the winter). This area was added to the boundary of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in the early 1980s because of the unique glacial topography including kettle bogs and lakes. About half of this area is owned by the National Lakeshore at this time, but property will be acquired in the area on a willing-seller basis … Read & Learn More
Campers and visitors to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore can donate their redeemable beverage bottles and cans at campgrounds and eventually at the Dune Climb and other day-use areas of the Park. Until now, these containers would have been thrown into the trash and ended up in landfill.
This summer, the Friends are supporting Clare Fastiggi, a summer intern who is studying the feasibility of creating a sustainable bottle and can redemption program. She has started a pilot program to collect empty containers in Platte River Campground and DH Day Campground and we will be doing a data collection trial at … Read & Learn More
Each year Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore conducts more than 60 search and rescue missions. Most of these occur at the Dune Climb and at the Lake Michigan Overlook stop on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. This project is an attempt to educate visitors about the safety issues they may face at these two popular spots in the park. Volunteers and Park staff will be available to give advice on appropriate planning, protective clothing, sunscreen, water/food, etc. to lower the number of visitor safety issues that require a Search and Rescue.
Volunteers and Park staff will be stationed at the Dune Climb and Pierce Stocking Drive Lake Michigan Overlook during peak … Read & Learn More
The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes has agreed with Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to “Adopt” a portion of M-109 from Glen Haven to a little south of the Dune Climb. This is a section of highway used by about 1.5 million people each year who visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. While our visitors are usually very good about not littering, there is always some trash that finds its way to the roadside. As part of our mission to care for the resources within the Park, we will do our … Read & Learn More
One of the key elements of the mission statement of the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is to “heighten visitor experiences”. The very nature of a national park means that some places and experiences might be difficult for some visitors with limited mobility or impairment of hearing or sight. But we are committed to looking for ways to make more experiences in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore easier for people of all abilities to enjoy.
The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes and the National Lakeshore were selected to receive a grants from the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America’s national parks, and the North Face Explore Fund to support our Winter Snowshoe Hike Program. The NPF grant is part of the Open OutDoors for Kids program.
The North Face Explore Fund grant provides funds to pay for transportation costs, snowshoes and snowshoe repair, and educational materials. Watch the … Read & Learn More
The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes has begun raising funds to support an Environmental Assessment to evaluate the impacts of an proposed Mountain Bike trail in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
The National Park Service uses an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Study to evaluate potential developments within the National Park lands. These studies involve planning processes that include public input at the beginning, during, and at the end of the assessment process. Typically, several different alternatives are created and studied. One of the alternatives is always a “No Action” alternative which evaluates leaving the land as it is currently managed. Once the study is completed and public input has been … Read & Learn More