Torch Bay Nature Preserve
The preserve includes mature forested dunes, a dune-swale complex, beach ponds and more than 700 feet of Grand Traverse Bay beach. Extending across it is a limited trail system with the majority of it being the nearly mile-long Torch Bay Nature Trail. Amenities are meager but do include an unimproved boat launch ideal for launching kayaks or paddleboards.
The wooded tract was destined to become a subdivision of upscale homes in 1991 when Torch Lake Township residents contacted the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy in regards to preserving the area. The GTRLC worked with the property owners and using a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and purchased the property in 2000. Locals used additional funds from a Coastal Zone Management grant and volunteer labor to build the trail system, interpretive shelter and viewing platforms of the beach pond and south wetland.
This hike is a 1.4-mile walk through the woods that includes almost all the trails and finishes with a stroll down Traverse Bay Road back to the trailhead.