Dunes Hiking

Location: The Dune Climb on M-109.

Parking Lot: Paved

Restroom: A modern restroom is located near the parking lot.

Water: Drinking water is available at several places at the base of the Dune Climb where the trail begins.

Trail Length: 3.5 miles round trip from the Dune Climb to Lake Michigan.

Terrain: The trail goes through sandy soil of the perched dunes, which makes walking difficult. There is no shade, so wear hiking shoes, apply sun block and bring water.

Trail Tread: Loose Sand

Difficulty: This is the most strenuous hike at Sleeping Bear Dunes. It starts at the Dune Climb and ends at Lake Michigan, about 1.75 miles away. Hikers must climb several large dunes with steep slopes and soft sand. The first view of Lake Michigan is about 0.5 miles from the Dune Climb. You will still have over a mile of strenuous hiking before you get to Lake Michigan – and then you have to hike back.

Comments: This hike takes you through the native plants of the Sleeping Bear Plateau to Lake Michigan. As you hike this trail, you will find that it takes a lot longer to arrive at Lake Michigan than you expect. Wearing shoes, hat, and sun block is highly recommended. The sand in the summer sun is very hot on the feet and some of the plants that live in the dunes have sharp thorns or stems that can hurt your feet.  When you arrive at Lake Michigan, you will find a large wooden shipwreck about ¼ mile north of where the trail comes out. This washed up on the shore in October, 2010. Another shipwreck, which washed ashore in 2012, is located about ¼ mile south of where the trail comes out to Lake Michigan.

Photos of the Trail from the Dune Climb to Lake Michigan in Summer


Photos of the Trail from the Dune Climb to Lake Michigan in Winter

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