Ice Caves No Longer Safe
The ice formations in Leelanau Township, north of the park, are no longer safe to visit. High winds have fractured the ice, moving it to the west. Huge cracks have formed in the cave arches, making them very unsafe and open water is now visible.
Saturday Snowshoe Hikes to Continue into March!
Contact: Lisa Myers, 231-326-5134
The popular Saturday afternoon snowshoe hikes at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will continue into March as long as snow conditions permit. March often provides some of the best snowshoeing conditions of the winter and this appears to be one of those years. Meet at the Lakeshore Visitor Center in Empire at 1:00 p.m. each Saturday. If you don’t have your own, snowshoes will be provided free. Later in the month, when there is not enough snow, rangers will offer guided nature hikes to explore the changing of the seasons.
Inside the Visitor Center, park rangers will first provide basic snowshoeing instructions and then, everyone will travel by car to the trailhead or area the ranger has pre-selected. Once there, the ranger will encourage participants to learn about the park’s unique features and winter’s effect on them by exploring and discovering clues on site. Be prepared and plan to be outside until about 3:00 p.m. Dress in layers and wear waterproof boots to be most comfortable.
Not only is snowshoeing easy, fun, and good exercise, it is also an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages. The ranger-led hikes are mildly strenuous, yet they proceed at a leisurely pace for only one and a half miles at the most. This allows visitors an opportunity for discovery, adventure, and to look for signs of wildlife or evidence of ancient glaciers. Some snowshoers simply want to experience and enjoy a winter wonderland and that is what you will find at the National Lakeshore.
The National Park Service has a supply of snowshoes for use within the Lakeshore. Participants need only purchase the park entrance pass or have an annual pass to join in the fun. Reservations are not required but are suggested, especially if you wish to borrow snowshoes or are with a group. Please call 231-326-5134, extension 328, for details and to make reservations.
Did You Know?
Sleeping Bear Dunes includes two large islands in Lake Michigan - North and South Manitou Islands. Take a day trip to South Manitou Island and explore the island village and lighthouse or take a motor tour of the farming district. If you go to North Manitou Island, plan to camp overnight! More...