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Sleeping Bear Dunes: Valley View Trail

Trail Details

County
Leelanau
Regions
Northwest
Latitude
N 44° 54' 36.36"
Longitude
W 085° 57' 11.88"
Distance
3 mile round-trip
Trail Type
Foot path
Terrain
Forested ridges
Difficulty
Easy
Nearest City or Town
Glen Arbor
(map loads here)
view location
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore features sweeping panaromas, towering dunes or long stretches of deserted shoreline. The Valley View Trail has none of those. In the past this short trail led to a handful of backcountry campsites, tucked away in a quiet and often overloaded area of the park and surrounded by an impressive forest of hardwoods. But the ridge that the trail climbs and follows was hit hard during the great wind storm of 2016 that resulted in so many fallen trees that the National Park Service decided it was not worth the manpower and cost to remove the timber.  Thus what was an easy walk is now considerably more challenging and not recommended for families as it was ...
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Description
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore features sweeping panaromas, towering dunes or long stretches of deserted shoreline. The Valley View Trail has none of those. In the past this short trail led to a handful of backcountry campsites, tucked away in a quiet and often overloaded area of the park and surrounded by an impressive forest of hardwoods.

But the ridge that the trail climbs and follows was hit hard during the great wind storm of 2016 that resulted in so many fallen trees that the National Park Service decided it was not worth the manpower and cost to remove the timber.  Thus what was an easy walk is now considerably more challenging and not recommended for families as it was in the past.

 
Amenities & Services
Camping
Foot Path
Difficulty - Challenging
Trail Guide

Valley View Trail begins next to the information sign in the parking lot and immediately crosses Hyland Road. On the north side it enters that beautiful forest and remains in it until you reach the campsites. Nearby is M-22 and you can hear the traffic rumbling by until the trail swings sharply east and begins steadily climbing a ridge. You gain almost 75 feet in the next half mile topping off on the forested dune where the trail swings north and follows the rounded crest of it.

At Mile 1.25, the trail swings east again, descends off the dune, climbs a smaller one and then descends gently into a small open meadow. The Valley View meadow is ring in by hardwoods and sumac. On its east side are five numbered campsites, two of them with fire rings, all of them just inside the trees. Sites three and four indeed have a view of the valley from the make-shift benches other backpackers have created.

Facilities

Print this map! The park trail maps - available at D.H. Day Campground Office or from a box at the trailhead - are very simplistic. The walk-in campground has no source of drinking water.

Hours & Fees

The trail is open year-round and all visitors are required to have a weekly vehicle entrance permit, an annual park pass or a per-person pass if they arrive on foot, bicycle or motorcycle. Campsites are $5 per night. Passes and camping permits can be purchased from the Philip Hart Visitor Center in Empire.

Directions

From the town of Glen Arbor head north on M-22 for two miles. Across from the main entrance of the Homestead Resort, turn right (south) on Westman Roadand then quickly turn east (left) on Hyland Road. The posted trailhead is a 100 yards east on Hyland Road.

Information

Call the Philip Hart Visitor Center (231-326-5134), the D.H. Day Campground Office (231-334-4634) or check the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore website (www.nps.gov/slbe).  For lodging or travel information contact Traverse City Tourism (800-872-8377; www.traversecity.com).

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