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.
Expect delays on M-22 at the Platte River Bridge, which is being replaced, starting on Monday, March 10 and continuing through September. Traffic will be limited to a single lane controlled by a traffic light. Work is not scheduled on the weekends, however, only a single lane of traffic will be available. Please plan accordingly and exercise safe driving practices appropriate for a construction zone.
We appreciate your patience and look forward to the project's completion. When finished, it will enhance the natural and recreational quality of the Platte River and establish an even deeper appreciation of this very special free-flowing river listed on the Nationwide Rivers Inventory.
Most visitors to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore arrive and travel through the Park by car, RV, or motorcycle. You can easily get to all attractions by driving on M-22 through most of the Park and then taking the M-109 loop about 2 miles north of Empire. You can take M-109 to the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, the Dune Climb, Glen Haven, and D. H. Day Campground and then back to M-22 in Glen Arbor.
Download a Map of the Park or stop in the Visitor Center and pick one up.
Planning to visit North or South Manitou Island? Get a reservation with the Manitou Transit (231-256-9061) for the ferry ride. Remember there is no food available for sale on either island, so take it with you.
Access to South Manitou Island is by private boat or by passenger ferry service operated by Manitou Island Transit. The ferry service operates from the Fishtown Dock located in Leland, MI. The ferry operators have been servicing the islands for many generations and the company is still run as a family business.
Between June and August, the ferries for each island leave daily from the Fishtown Dock in Leland at 10:00 AM. Reservations are recommended. Plan to arrive at the Fishtown Dock 45 minutes prior to departure. Leland is located 27 miles north of Empire on M-22.
The boat trip can be cool even in summer, so plan ahead and bring a jacket. In case of rain, bring rain gear. Wear comfortable hiking boots. Mosquitoes are common in summer. Poison ivy is abundant. There is no food service or store on the island. Bring a lunch. Be sure to return to the dock in time for the boat departure.
Visitors to the islands are also required to secure an entrance pass to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Park passes are available at the Fishtown Dock during the summer months from 8:30 am to 10:00am, or at any fee collection station within the park.
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.