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.
Snowshoe Hikes at Sleeping Bear Dunes
Park rangers say “Let it snow!” so you can explore Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) on snowshoes this winter! Join the rangers for a guided snowshoe hike this holiday season and every Saturday throughout the winter. The first hike of the season will be on Saturday, December 28 at 1:00 p.m. Then, snowshoe hikes will be offered every Saturday at 1:00 p.m. through March 8. Meet at the National Lakeshore visitor center in Empire. If you don’t have your own, snowshoes will be loaned at no charge. Participants need only purchase the park entrance pass or have an annual pass to join in the fun. Reservations are required whether you need to borrow snowshoes or have your own. Ranger-led snowshoe hikes are limited to 30 participants. Please call 231-326-4700, ext. 5010 for details and to make reservations. If you make a reservation but then need to cancel, please call and let us know so we can contact visitors that are on our waiting list.
Snowshoe hikes are fun for all ages. Inside the visitor center, rangers will first provide basic snowshoeing instructions, and then everyone will travel by car to the trailhead or area of the National Lakeshore pre-selected for that day. Once there, the ranger will help participants 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.
Did You Know?
The Piping Plover is an endangered species that makes its home on the wide open beaches of Lakes Michigan and Superior. Several nesting pairs have made the shores of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore their home. Their nesting areas have been marked so they will not be disturbed.