Each year thousands of people use over 50 miles of trails on the mainland 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 win block the trail, or erosion can cut gullies into the trail making a hike more difficult or dangerous. Trail volunteers commit to hiking their trail about once each month to clear small obstructions and to communicate larger obstructions or other trail issues.
Trails in the Adopt-a-Trail Program
At this time, there are 14 hiking trails in this program. Some trails have additional loops or spurs.
You can get more details about each trail from our online Hiking Trails brochure. This brochure is also available in paper form, for a free-will donation, at several locations within the park, including the campground offices and the Visitor Center in Empire.
Full Descriptions of the trails and maps can be found on our Trails Page.
How to become an Adopt-A-Trail Volunteer:
Having volunteers regularly hike the trails assures that they will be clean and in good condition for future visitors.
Skills and Abilities Needed by Volunteers:
The volunteer’s physical conditioning must be good enough to permit walking moderate distances. They should be comfortable interacting with park visitors and using their best efforts to answer questions and provide a positive image of the park as well as the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes organization.
Time Commitment of Volunteers:
Volunteers are asked to patrol their trail once per month from April through October. Patrolling more frequently, and patrolling other trails is encouraged.
Duties & Responsibilities of volunteers:
The volunteer will patrol the trails and provide a situation report including windfalls, drainage problems, erosion, vandalism, and litter. Volunteers certified for using hand tools by the Park are allowed to cut low-hanging limbs or branches and small downed trees that block the trail.
The volunteer may also pick up litter, remove leaves and debris from drainage, and remove sand from boardwalks. The volunteer may greet and provide park education and assistance to park visitors using the trail.