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Stites Natural Area

Trail Details

County
Leelanau
Regions
Northwest
Latitude
N 44° 58' 36.84"
Longitude
W 085° 39' 40.68"
Distance
0.65 mile roundtrip
Trail Type
Foot path
Terrain
Forested ridges
Difficulty
Easy
Nearest City or Town
Suttons Bay
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Description
Within walking distances of Suttons Bay restaurants and shops on Main Street is your escape from the madness of mid-summer in this popular tourist town. The Leelanau Conservancy’s newest preserve is Stites Natural Area, an ecological gem located only a half mile up the road from M-22.

Located in the village, so close to Suttons Bay Schools that the high school cross-country team trains there, Stites offers spectacular ridgeline views, century-old hardwoods and rich fall colors. In the spring, the forest comes alive with wildflowers, including trillium and yellow and pink lady’s slippers.

Stites is so new the preserve opened with only a limited trail, but a more extensive system is in the planning stages with segments appearing as soon as 2021.

The narrow, winding ridgelines within the preserve, the result of glacial activity, will provide the terrain for an interesting trail system, including views in late fall and winter that stretch all the way to Old Mission Peninsula.
Amenities & Services
Difficulty - Easy
Two-Track
Trail Guide

While the natural area’s steep hills and valleys were an impediment to developers, they will provide the terrain for an interesting trail system. Stites is so new the preserve opened with only a limited trail, but a more extensive system is in the planning stages with segments appearing as soon as 2021.

The current trail system makes for a round trip walk of 0.65 miles along a former two-track.  From West Broadway, the trail heads west and then south, climbing immediately, sometimes steeply, to gain more than 80 feet before topping off on a ridge. You then descend most of the second half to the turnaround at the end, reached at Mile 0.3.

Look for more trail development in the near future by checking into the Leelanau Conservancy website.

Facilities

There is a parking area at the trailhead on West Boardway but no other facilities.

Hours & Fees

Stites is open year-round and there are no entry fees to the natural area.

Directions

The Stites Natural Area trailhead is posted on the left side of West Broadway, a half mile west of its intersection with M-22 (St. Joseph Street) in Suttons Bay.

Information

For more information, contact the Leelanau Conservancy (231-256-9665; leelanauconservancy.org) or stop at the conservancy office, 105 North First St., in Leland. For lodging or travel information contact Traverse City Tourism (800-872-8377; www.traversecity.com).


Geo-referenced maps from MichiganTrailMaps.com range from $1.99 to $2.99 each.

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