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 as they become available if there is sufficient funding.
This area has not been developed and visitor access is very limited due to lack of trails and parking. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore with the support (volunteers and funding) of the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is planning to develop a small parking lot, loop hiking trail, and interpretive information to facilitate visitor use of the area as described in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore’s 2009 General Management Plan. The trail will be approximately 3.5 miles long and the first half-mile from the parking lot to an overlook with an interpretive sign at the top of one of the glacial kettles will be made universally accessible.
Once built, this trail will be used by school groups on educational field trips to teach about the effects of the glaciation of this region and about some of the unique bog habitats. This area is also one of the best ares in the Park to observe spring wildflowers. The high elevation creates good conditions for lake-effect snow in the winter and as a result, this area provides some of the best snowshoeing in the Park.
A steering team has begun to develop plans for the trail development. The first of the plan was to conduct an Environmental Assessment (E/A), which was completed in October, 2014.
Click here to go to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Planning Web Page for the Kettles Trail for more details about the E/A.
The Park Interpretive staff is developing some interpretive signs to describe the geological formations and unique habitats in this area.
The proposed trail route was studied throughout 2016 and 2017 to be sure it does not negatively impact the fragile habitats in this part of the Park. A small parking lot and trailhead signs will be built near the intersection of Baatz and Fritz roads after the final trail has been built.
We plan to start construction in the spring of 2018. If you are interested in helping, contact us.