Sleeping Bear Dunes: Sleeping Bear Point Trail
The Dunes Trail is actually two separate routes through the dunes in this corner of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and most visitors head to just one of them - the park's popular Dune Climb and its 4-mile round-trip trek to Lake Michigan.
Not nearly as many people make their way to the other trailhead at the end of M-209 located on Sleeping Bear Point itself. Yet step-for-step few trails anywhere in the state are as interesting as this route where the open dunes create excellent vantage points and the Manitou Passage provides a good reason to stop and gaze.
Don't underestimate this short hike. Walking in sand can be strenuous and in the middle of the summer sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, suntan lotion and a quart of water are needed to survive the desert-like heat that radiates off the dunes.
But this trek is not nearly as long or strenuous for young children as the trail from the Dune Climb. And when combined with a visit to the park's Sleeping Bear Point Coast Guard Station Maritime Museum and a dip in the cooling waters of Lake Michigan after the hike, I can't think of a better way for a family to spend an afternoon in the park.
|Difficulty - Moderate|