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.
Hit the Dunes on Snowshoes!
Now that the snow has arrived, join a National Park Ranger on snowshoes and explore Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in all its winter splendor! Snowshoe walks are offered every Saturday during February. Meet at the Lakeshore Visitor Center in Empire at 1:00 p.m. If you don’t have your own, snowshoes will be provided free. (If there is no snow, rangers will still offer a guided winter hike.)
Inside the Visitor Center, park rangers will first provide basic snowshoeing instructions and then, everyone will travel by car to a certain trail 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. 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 an organized group. Please call 231-326-5134, extension 328, for details and to make reservations.
Did You Know?
Where can you go to climb sand dunes over 200 feet high? The Dune Climb at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore also gives you a great view of Glen Lake. The hike to Lake Michigan is over 1.5 miles through the dunes from here. Take some water and wear good shoes! More...