Climbing the Dunes

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2 minutes, 40 seconds

Be prepared. Plan like a Park Ranger. Do you know what you need to hike in the dunes? Are you aware of rip currents in Lake Michigan?

Kids running down the Dune Climb

Everybody wants to climb the Sleeping Bear Dunes, so come to the Dune Climb located north of Empire on M-109. You will find pure, wind-blown sand to climb, then run or roll down the dunes to the picnic area for a break and some refreshments and then head up the dune again.

Climbing the dunes is great exercise and there is a beautiful view of Glen Lake from the top. With the parking lot and picnic area at the base of the dune, you can stop climbing when you get tired and let gravity bring you back down.

This is a great playground for kids of all ages. The memories created here draw us to bring our children and grandchildren here to share the fun and create their own memories.

The Dune Center is the visitor center at the Dune Climb. It contains a park store and modern restrooms are nearby. A large picnic area is also available at the foot of the dunes.

View of Glen Lake from the Dune Climb
View of Glen Lake from the top of the Dune Climb

Kerry Kelly 2005

Those who have a lot of energy can take a hike on the Dunes Trail to Lake Michigan. This is the most strenuous trail in the park. While only 3.5 miles round trip, it is all sand and you will find climbing the dunes all along the trail to be a challenge. This is especially true on hot, sunny days. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and take lots of water. The hike is worth the effort, because you will see a variety of wildflowers and the sight of Lake Michigan is outstanding. Don’t forget, you have to walk back.

You can also hike, pedal, or roll along the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. You can catch the trail at the trailhead is located in the northwest corner of the Dune Climb parking lot.

Last updated: June 2, 2022

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9922 Front Street
Empire, MI 49630


231 326-4700

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