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.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers some of the best backpacking in Michigan. Choose from these 4 options for a unique backcountry experience. Review the Backcountry Camping Regulations before you come.
White Pine Backcountry Camp - Permits for White Pine may be obtained at the Platte River Campground Ranger Station during the summer or from the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center the rest of the year. This camp has 6 sites and is located about 2 miles from the Trail's End Road trailhead on the Platte Plains hiking trail south of Empire just off of M-22. The camp is located about 1/2 mile from the Lake Michigan shore where you can obtain fresh water. There is no well water at White Pine, so if you use water from Lake Michigan, it must be treated before drinking it. Click here to see a map and picture of a typical camp site.
Valley View Backcountry Camp - Permits for Valley View may be obtained at the D.H. Day Campground Ranger Station during the summer or at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center during the rest of the year. This camp has 5 sites and is located northeast of Glen Arbor. Take M-22 about 2 miles north of Glen Arbor to Westman Road. Turn right and drive 1/4 mile on Westman to Hyland Rd. Turn left and drive about 1/4 mile to the trailhead. Click here to see a map and picture of a typical camp site.
The camp has 5 sites and is about 1.5 miles from the trailhead. The trail is mostly uphill and there is no water available at the camp, so be sure to take all the water you will need. There is a pit toilet near the camp.
South Manitou Island - Camping is permitted at only three locations - the Bay (25 Individual Sites and 3 Group Sites), Weather Station (20 Individual Sites and 3 Group Sites) and Popple Campgrounds (7 Individual Sites). Obtain a map of the island and hiking trails when you get your permit. Low impact camping is the rule. This minimizes human impact on the fragile natural resources. Learn more...
North Manitou Island - Wilderness camping regulations are in effect on North Manitou Island. A backcountry permit and fee payment must be completed before camping. Obtain a map of the island and hiking trails when you obtain your permit. All trash must be packed off the island. Camping is allowed almost anywhere on the island except within 300 feet of the Lake Michigan high water mark, lakes, streams, ponds, springs, buildings or other camps. Camping is prohibited on any trail.
The only designated campground is the Village Campground contains 8 designated campsites, 2 fire rings and one outhouse. There is a limit of 2 tents and 4 people per site. Learn more...
Don't take firewood to the islands! The State of Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine strictly prohibits transporting firewood to North and South Manitou Islands. Island campers may collect dead and down wood found on the island for personal use during their visit; however, unused wood must remain on the island.
Backcountry Camping Regulations
Did You Know?
The Port Oneida Rural Historical District is a 3000 acre farming area preserved as it was in the early 1900's. This area was farmed for over 100 years and is now part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore More...