From a the trailhead the foot path enters a mix of hemlocks, maples and oaks and for most of the hike remains in the forest, keeping you cool even on the hottest summer day. You quickly pass the posted junction with the return of Green Arrow Loop from the west (left). Continue north and the next junction is reached in 0.3 mile. Continue north at this junction to follow the Black Arrow Loop. This route is by far the most interesting and is hilly enough to be marked by black triangles indicating an "Advanced" trail for skiers. For the next mile, you hike over a series of low dunes, forested in mixed hardwoods (maple, beech, oak) and pines. You remain in the woods except when the trail descends to a marsh or pond.
At Mile 1.2, you pass a spot where open dunes are migrating south into the forest, sand pouring down between the trees. From here it\'s 0.3 miles to the posted junction where you head north (right) for the beach. From the junction, you immediately climb a dune, the steepest of the hike, and from the top enjoy a sweeping view of Lake Michigan. Blue tipped posts then lead you past a ghost forest and through open dunes before ending at the shoreline, a quarter mile from the junction.
This is a scenic spot, even though a couple of cottages are visible to the west. To the east you view nothing but the wide expanse of low beach dunes along Platte Bay, while off in the distance is the famous Sleeping Bear Dune. Out in Lake Michigan, you can see North and South Manitou islands and South Manitou\'s perched dunes along its west side are clearly visible. The beach is usually 20 to 30 feet wide, depending on the lake level, and you can walk it the length of Platte Bay.
To return, backtrack a quarter mile to the beach junction and this time head southeast along the Green Arrow Loop. The level route quickly passes a junction to the "middle" trail and in 0.3 miles Green "Easy" triangles mark the return route east (left), while another unmarked trail continues its course south. This final leg is 0.75-mile long and relatively flat. It traverses ancient beach dunes that mark the former location of the Lake Michigan shoreline when the water level was considerably higher in the early post-glacial era. At one point, you pass through an impressive stand of beech, with one huge tree right next to the trail. Eventually, you arrive at the first junction you passed from the trailhead. Head south (right), and you\'ll be back at the parking lot in minutes.