• Looking out at the lake

    Sleeping Bear Dunes

    National Lakeshore Michigan

Hiking Trails

You can hike about 100 miles of designated trails in the Lakeshore. There are thirteen trails on the mainland for hiking, and most of them are maintained during the winter for cross country skiing, and snowshoeing too. Each trail has a trailhead with a parking area. Hiking trails on the dunes are marked by blue-tipped posts.

Trail maps are available in this section, at the visitor center, or at the trailhead. Read the Trail Regulations and Safety Information. A Park Pass is required for all trail use within the Lakeshore: Fee Information. There are also hiking trails on North Manitou Island and South Manitou Island.

Do you think you can hike all of the trails in one year? Then check out the Trail Trekkers Challenge.

 
Hiking Trail

Hiking trail

Each trail has its own unique beauty and challenges. Some have beautiful views from high vistas overlooking lakes, hills, or dunes. While others take you through fields of wildflowers with views of fields and lakes or forest in the background. Others take you through the sand dunes to explore the hardy vegetation and wildflowers that flourish in this harsh environment. The table below will give a brief description of each trail with a link to the trail map.

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Name

Distance

Terrain

Vegetation

Comments

1

Old Indian

2.3-3.7 miles
2 Loops

Flat to gently rolling with a few sections of steep hills

Evergreens and hardwoods

Trail leads to a view of Lake MI

2

Platte Plains

4.6-15.1 miles
Several loops

Mostly flat

Pine-oak-aspen

3 views of Lake MI

3

Empire Bluff

1.5 miles
Round Trip

Hill

Beech-maple, fields, dune plants

Overlook on high bluff over Lake MI

4

Windy Moraine

1.5 miles
One Loop

Hilly

Beech-maple, old fields, pine plantation

Views of Glen Lake, Lake MI, and Dunes

5a

Shauger Hill

2.4 miles
One Loop

Hilly

Beech-maple

Crosses Shauger Hill Rd and Scenic Drive

6

Cottonwood

1.4 miles

Rolling dunes

Grasses, shrubs, wildflowers of the dunes

Loose sand - strenuous
Views of Lake MI and sand dunes

7

Dunes

3.5 miles

Steep, rugged dunes

Grasses, shrubs, wildflowers of the dunes

Strenuous hike through dunes leads to Lake MI
2-4 hr round trip

8

Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail

9.7 miles, one-way linear trail

Flat between the Dune Climb and Glen Arbor; hilly between the Dune Climb and Empire

Mostly wooded; beech-maple and some cedar. Small area of open dunes

Paved walking and bike trail currently extends from Empire to Glen Arbor. Main trailhead at the Dune Climb

9

Sleeping Bear Point

2.8 miles

Rolling dunes

Grasses, shrubs, wildflowers

Loose sand, views, and access to Lake MI

10

Alligator Hill

2.7-8.2 miles
Several Loops

Hilly

Beech-maple, fields, pine plantation

Several loops, overlook of Lake MI and Glen Lake, horses are permitted.

11

Bay View

1.5-7.5 miles
Several Loops

Hilly

Beech-maple, fields, pine plantation

Panoramic view of Lake MI and countryside

12

Pyramid Point

2.7 Miles Round Trip

Hilly

Beach-maple forests & fields

Trail leads to a high outlook over Lake MI.

13

Good Harbor Bay


2.8 miles
One Loop

Flat, wet in places


Wooded, some dunes

Boardwalk over creek


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