Sleeping Bear Dunes: Bay View Trail
Bay View Trail in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is better known as a destination for cross-country skiers than hikers, primarily because of its link to Homestead Resort. The downhill ski resort also rents Nordic ski equipment as well as offer chilled skiers a place to warm up and re-fuel after their outing. During the summer, the lack of impressive dune scenery that the rest of the park is so well known for has many hikers looking elsewhere for a trail to explore.
But uncrowded paths is only one of Bay View’s charms. The trail system passes through a mix of beech-maple forest, old farm fields and pine plantations while at its north end features historic barns, farmhouses and a one-room schoolhouse, many of which are being restored by the National Park Service. Being only one of three trails in the Port Oneida Rural Historic District (Pyramid Point and Sleeping Bear Heritage are the other two) allows Bay View to offer hikers historic charm as well as a stroll through meadows and woods. A fall trek here often makes for can be a delightful afternoon of spectacular autumn colors and no people.
Who needs dunes?
The four loops of Bay View total almost 8 miles with the premiere of the system being a 6.4-mile hike. For hikers the most popular loop by far is the northern half that includes Farms Trail, a side trip to Lookout Point and portions of Low Trail and High Trail for a 3.7-mile walk. This is the hike described here and includes several historic buildings and the most impressive terrain and views.
The main trailhead is on the north end of Thoreson Road, a quarter mile from M-22. The trail system can also be picked up from Olsen Farm, Miller Barn and Homestead Resort. In 2015 Low Trail and parts of Farms Trail were paved to be utilized as part of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.
|Difficulty - Easy|
|Groomed Classic Skiing|