Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail
Kerry Kelly 2012
This trail is handicap accessible and is designed for walkers, runners, skiers, people on bicycles, in wheelchairs, and babies in strollers. Because people will be using the trail in a variety of ways, please be aware of others going at different speeds.
The historic logging village of Glen Haven is only 2 miles away, so park your car at the Dune Climb and ride your bike or walk along the base of the dunes and through the cedar forest to the museums, blacksmith shop, general store, and beaches of Glen Haven.
Parking for the trail is at the Dune Climb and at Glen Haven. The trail begins at the north end of the picnic area and parking lot. A park pass is required to park at these sites.
The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes manages and maintains the bike trail. They have over 40 Trail Ambassadors who ride or walk the trail on a regular basis. If you see one of these folks wearing the bright orange vest, feel free to ask them questions about the trail or the Park. They'll be happy to assist you.
To learn more about the trail and the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, or to become a Trail Ambassador, check out their web site.
Download a map.
Kerry Kelly 2006
One of the first interpretive stops along the trail demonstrates how the dunes are moving. In 1985, this wooden beam was placed at the edge of the sand dune. It is marked every foot from the end. When this photo was taken in 2006, the dune was at about 55 feet from the end, so the dune is moving an average of about 2.6 feet per year.
The dunes here rise to a height of 150 feet at an angle of about 25 degrees. Sand dunes are formed by the wind. Grains of sand are just the right size to roll or bounce along the ground pushed by a brisk wind. When the wind dies down, the sand comes to rest eventually forming a dune. Since the prevailing winds are from the southwest, the dunes are moving to the northeast. Active dunes exist only about 1 mile from the Lake Michigan shore. Further inland, the winds lose energy allowing plants to become established in the sand.
These dunes are not desert dunes. Dig under the surface and you'll find moisture, which sustains a variety of specialized plants which help stabilize the dune.
Did You Know?
Each year Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Park Partners sponsor the Port Oneida Fair the first weekend of August to celebrate the history and culture of rural America. Come and see what farm life was like around 1900 and learn about the arts and crafts of the time. More...