Explore the most popular kid friendly trails in Ludington State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

6 days ago

The lighthouse had just opened the first weekend in May. My 8 year old loved the easy walk. We went up to the top-$5 for adults. Helpful volunteers manned the house.
Tip: you can’t wear a child in a carrier to go up the lighthouse stairs. The lighthouse does sell cold drinks and a few snacks. Open from May to Oct.

15 days ago

I took the Lost Lake Trail, Island, then Ridge. It ended up being 4.15 miles according to my gps. This Trail was not easy at all, more like moderate. Beautiful views, so proud of myself for conquering this solo!

28 days ago

A nice hike through the dunes. We couldn’t go in the lighthouse when we went (April) though I’m not sure if it’s open during the summer season or not. The beach was gorgeous. We only saw a few other people along the way, though I imagine it’s busier during the summer season.

trail running
4 months ago

I did this trail along with the lost lake & island trail in December after a heavy snowfall. At points the snow drifts were up to my knees and absolutely no trail to follow. Admittedly I lost the trail a few times but they are marked so well that it was easy to get back on track. This run was absolutely epic! With the extreme cold, whipping winds, crazy climbs and stunning views this was definitely a run to remember. I can’t wait to make it back!

7 months ago

My husband, 7- month old adventurer, and I had just finished the Lost Lake Trail in Ludington State Park and wanted to get a second hike in near the dunes and to see the light house so we selected this trail.

This trail was less than excited as the start was walking through the camp grounds (bonus was clean flushing toilets!) before joining up on a gravel road. The trail was a gravel road (combo of sand and gravel areas) all the way to the lighthouse. This stretch was about 1.7 miles. Unfortunately the dunes blocked the views of the lake (which you could hear but not see). We were able to keep a steady clip tho and I can see how the gravel allows for a greater number of walkers and bikers to get to the lighthouse.

Big Sable Point Lighthouse was beautiful situated out alone in the dunes. A very kind staff of volunteers allowed us to hangout in the gift shop during a little rain spell and even played a video on the history of the lighthouse for us. My husband climbed to the top of the lighthouse ($5/person and the climber has to be a meter tall- aka baby and I hung out below). The views gained from the top of the lighthouse allowed you to see for miles in all direction.

We cut the loop short and headed back to the car on the same gravel path we came from due to the rain and cool temperatures. The hike itself was pretty windy for being tucked behind the dunes.

Overall the gravel path was disappointing but the light house and views from there were beautiful.

We hit the park on a couple of amazing days weather wise. Made for some great time in the woods.

Lighthouse was awesome! Overall a great hike. Some sand dunes to traverse that offered a bit of a challenge.

7 months ago

Loved this hike, was more wooded then I first expected, but all in all wonderful.

Best trail to experience the essence of Ludington State Park. Great trail for wildlife viewing off-season.

Best marked trail for experiencing the dunes.

Best trail for peace and quiet in the park in my experience. Good for those who have had too much sun. All forested and cooler.

Perfect for energetic children. Our grandchildren love all the stairs and the dune climb at the top. Great views of the dunes in the southern portion of the park.

8 months ago

I found this trail to be more "moderate" than easy. Great views with some up and down climbs. More difficult than Island Trail, but beautiful!

9 months ago

The service trail was a bit hot in the sun and we also had to dodge the bus that was trolleying people and forth. Half way to the lighthouse, we ditched the trail and took the beach the rest of the way. It was so worth it. The other half of the trail seemed a little unclear due to the ponds forming at the base of several dunes, but the lighthouse was really neat with a great view from the top and a gift shop. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Short hike, but the steps on the Skyline Trail take you up and above the dunes with a beautiful view toward Lake Michigan. Right off the main path, but really easy to overlook on their trail map. I promise that the views are worth it! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

9 months ago

Just a portion of our hiking over in Ludington. One of my favorites with a nice mix of woods, beach, and views of the dunes and Lake Michigan. Moderately challenging and surprisingly not very busy for a weekend in July. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

9 months ago

Lots of stairs! Boardwalk trail through the woods with a view of the dunes and lake.

9 months ago

Great view and swimming

10 months ago

Great views! You can even find mini beaches if you want somewhere to swim without the crowd.

Saw lots of wildlife on this trail.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016


Friday, November 18, 2016

Just plain fun. Great views clean path

Thursday, September 08, 2016

One of the best state parks to camp and hike. Multiple hiking trails of decent length and great views and good times all around.

paddle sports
Thursday, August 25, 2016

Great canoe variety. Lost lake for calm waters. Hamlin Lake for scenery. Big Sable River for floating.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Very nice walk along the river with many places to get into the water. Mostly on a paved trail so it is an easy walk.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Great hike, but on a hot day take more water than you think you need! Much of this trail is sand and dunes, so wear appropriate shoes. Very nice payoff at the end with the beach and Big Sable lighthouse. We camped at Pines and hiked from there - was just under 4 miles round trip...Take a camera!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Nice path, great walk by river and dam.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Using stairs to see dunes feels like cheating, so we added a two part loop hike through the dunes (out to marker 29 and back) to earn the views.

The boardwalk is nice & easy, so a little more high traffic. Didn't see a soul on the actual dune trails, but it was raining while we were out. The dam was pretty cool. And we saw a lot of deer among the dune scrub.

Overall, very enjoyable!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

This is a great trail for kids, and also for those who aren't quite up for the park's Ridge Trail but want to get a taste of the deep, densely forested dune valleys gracing Ludington SP. Good views of Lake Michigan and the foredunes, too. You'll need to climb a long staircase to access the trail, but once you're up there it's an easy boardwalk through the treetops. This trail makes a nice combination with the Sable River Trail--park in the Hamlin Dam lot, cross the dam bridge and follow the easy, flat Sable River Trail to the Skyline Trail access stairs, adding about a mile to your hike (see the park's trail map: http://www.michigandnr.com/Publications/PDFS/RecreationCamping/ludington_hiking.pdf). Or, if you're feeling more ambitious, the staircase running down to the dunes from the Skyline Trail's south side brings you to the northernmost point of the ski trails, three stacked loops through interdunal scrub and wetlands adding anywhere from 1-6 miles to your hike, as well as likely sightings of deer, birds and butterflies. (See the park's ski trail map: http://www.michigandnr.com/Publications/PDFS/RecreationCamping/ludington_ski_trails.pdf; note that the Jack Pine Loop no longer exists, nor does the Visitor Center.)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The map on this page is misleading--it shows the dirt road running between Pines Campground and the lighthouse (called the Lighthouse Road), not the actual Lighthouse Trail, which runs between Lost Lake and the lighthouse. You can indeed easily walk (or bike) the Lighthouse Road, starting from either Pines Campground or the Lake Michigan Beach House just southwest of it, but it's a far prettier and more satisfying hike to take the Lighthouse Trail, where you can enjoy the succession from beach to foredunes to interdunal wetlands to dune forest that makes Ludington SP special. (See the park's trail map here: http://www.michigandnr.com/Publications/PDFS/RecreationCamping/ludington_hiking.pdf.) Our favorite route is to start at Hamlin Beach, from which the Lost Lake Trail takes you to the Lighthouse Trail, then return after visiting the lighthouse (restrooms, gift shop, tour) by walking about a mile down the Lighthouse Road to the Coast Guard Trail, which takes you through some lovely dune forest back to Hamlin Beach (the Coast Guard Trail ends at Beechwood Campground; just cut across the campground to pick up the Lost Lake Trail taking you back to Hamlin Beach). This adds up to about 5 miles of moderate hiking, with around a quarter of it involving soft sand and/or climbing. Good chances of seeing deer, birds, butterflies and dune wildflowers.

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