2015-12-06-15.09.18--wide-920x375 Bikes-at-Dune-Climb-2013 Bay-to-Bay-Kayaker-2013 Bay-to-Bay-Hiking-2013 River-Clean-up-2011_4132 Adopt-A-Beach Clean-up on Good Harbor Bay

Echo Valley Mt Bike Trail

The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes has the funds needed to support an Environmental Assessment to evaluate the impacts of an proposed Mountain Bike trail in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We are waiting for Park management to allocate staff to the project.

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Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail

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!

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Bay to Bay Trail Planning

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.

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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.

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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?


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Beach Clean-upHelp 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.

More information: Adopt-A-Beach program

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Adopt-A-Beach Clean-up

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.

The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes in cooperation … Read & Learn More

Beach Patrol Data Entry

Adopt-A-Beach Team on patrol


Adopt-A-Beach Volunteers enter your Beach Patrol data below and click the SUBMIT button.

Your data will be collected and sent to the Alliance for the Great Lakes to be entered into their database.

[formidable … Read & Learn More

Adopt-a-Beach Summary Card


Please pick up everything you find. Record only the items found on the data card.

Pick up “pieces” of items, but do not record these fragments on the data card as this can distort the data totals.

Please watch this space:  Coming soon, BARK Rangers will have their own separate page for reporting time.

[formidable … Read & Learn More


Al and Terri Kasper patrol the Platte River

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

River Patrol Data Entry

Traverse Area Paddle Club canoes Platte River

Adopt-A-River volunteers – please enter your river patrol data on the following form. Click the SUBMIT button at the end of this page to send the data to your coordinator.

[formidable … Read & Learn More


Adopt-A-Trail Volunteer

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



Booklets_4565_300x225The 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

Ride, Hike, and Ski the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail


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 (CR-669).

Winter Ski Conditions

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A little fresh snow makes conditions better.

Groomers were out today between Glen Haven and Empire. The fresh snow and Ginzu groomer allowed them to get a good, soft surface with classic tracks.

Ski conditions are best between Glen Arbor and Glen Haven and from Empire … Read & Learn More

How did the SBHT get Built?

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

Who is Using the SBHT?

SBHT-Use-2012_7162-300xTrail use surveys were conducted 2012 – 2015.

  • Trail use by age shows a higher proportion of users in the age range of 50 – 70.
  • About 80-90% of the users are groups of family and friends.
  • 85-90% of trail users rode bikes on the trail.
  • 70% of trail users drive to the trailhead but 27% rode their bikes to the trail.
  • About 66% of bike riders wore helmets. We strongly encourage the proper use of helmets, and hope to see that percentage grow in coming years.
  • When asked to rate the trail and their trail experience from 1 (bad) to 5 (best), 43 out of 44 people rated … Read & Learn More

Support the SBHT

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.

Donate to Install a Bench. This is a donation to raise money to … Read & Learn More

SBHT Ambassadors


Trail Ambassadors

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

SBHT Description

Empire to the Dune Climb

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

SBHT Winter Page


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

Get on the Map

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

Supporters - SBHT Operations & Maintenance

Local businesses support the operations and maintenance of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail by donations and participating on the Interactive Map.

Empire Businesses

Glen Arbor Businesses

IMAP Landing Page

Interactive Map Instructions

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

Bay to Bay Trail


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.

The proposed trail would parallel the mainland … Read & Learn More

Bay to Bay Environmental Assessment


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

Kettles Trail

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

Recycling Program


P7169549-300x225Campers 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

Preventative Search and Rescue - PSAR


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 provides a trained volunteer 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


Evaluating accessibility at the SBHT Donor Plaza

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.

Lou-iTouch-7-15-2014-019-250x333 Accessibility workshop at DH … Read & Learn More

Snowshoe Hikes



The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes and the National Lakeshore were selected to receive a grant from the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America’s national parks, to provide educational snowshoe programs this winter! Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes also received a grant from the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation to provide additional snowshoes, hats, mittens, and art supplies for this program.

The National Lakeshore will be offering personalized snowshoe field trips for fourth grade classes in the months of January, February, and March. Learn … Read & Learn More

Echo Valley Trail


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

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