Explore the most popular birding trails in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Fantastic hike with a very special woman and some awesome friends. This was a hard one... more difficult mentally than physically. Just when you think your there, your not... We loved it!!!

Beautiful trail!

Not a hard trail and the view is incredible!

It’s hard but rewarding!!!

hiking
1 month ago

Went today and walked the whole thing barefoot. 55 degrees and cloudy were perfect conditions for this trail. Great cardio workout. Pure Michigan

We hiked all the way to the lake, myself (40 something) and two athletic sons. We made it to the lake in 41 minutes, that was a non stop good pace. The expression on people's faces when you meet them at the top of the first section at post marker 4 and advise them there are 27 total, priceless! There is something special about this area, perhaps Mama Bear keeps an eye on all of us when we are in her dunes...enjoy!

hiking
2 months ago

This was a great hike. The sand was really loose on the trail and made for slow going up hill, but the views at the tops were worth it!

hiking
2 months ago

Great for kids!

hiking
2 months ago

Weather makes all the difference! We went right after a light rain/sprinkle that even helped pack the ground a bit, leaving the air about 79 degrees. I walk regularly but not a ton of recent hiking and I could’ve done it twice, running every downhill. If you can make it past the first dune, you made it up the biggest, and while there’s still a bunch left, you can do it!! Be smart. Bring a hat and PLENTY of water regardless of the weather. You never know. We did 1 hour each way, but keep maybe 2 hours each way in case. The number markers go up to 28! Secluded beach at the end makes it worth it!! Have fun!

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome trail but challenging. The trail seems like it goes on forever. Just when you think you are close to the Lake, you go over another hill to realize you are not quit there yet. Gorgeous views once you do make it to the Lake.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful, plan to do again in the fall. Make sure to read Douglas’s comment below. The mapping is off.

Great little loop with a 5 yr old. Well kept trail. Beautiful sand dunes/ beach at half way point. The forest is spectacular

2 months ago

Easy, neat walk to see the views of the lake.

Right off the trailhead you can either go left or right. If you go to the right, it’s just a short walk to an incredible and secluded beach where you will be one of a few people occupying the beach. We ended up staying there and swimming for hours!
However, the left side of the trail at the Y has “okay” views and tons of dunes. It was alright, maybe 2/5 stars.
But that beach was soooooo amazing! So clear!

Great shaded trail. Dogs are not allowed on the spur to Lake Michigan.

Very challenging and fun day hike! Beautiful views from multiple dune peaks.

hiking
2 months ago

Great challenging hike. The icy water of Lake Michigan is a wonderful mid-hike treat.

on Dune Climb Trail

hiking
2 months ago

We went at sunrise for our Dune Climb. I highly recommend it as this place gets crowded fast & early! Only drawback, a few of the restrooms were not yet open and/or clean. It took us just under 2 hours to complete the hike all the way to the Lake Michigan shoreline and back. There was a good variety of dunes, native grasses and trees. If you are able, we recommend running down the dunes as it's just plain fun!!

The trail and dune run/walk are the same until the trail veers to the left at post 4, there are 27 in all very straight forward to follow. Must bring a bottle of water and sandals or shoes if the sand is hot. Best to do the trail in the morning, we did it in 2 hours, allow for 3 to be on the safe side. beautiful trail.

This is a great trail for all ability levels. There are many opportunities for photography traveling through the woods.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful, a wonderful challenge, a lot of fun, and rewarding. Wonderful views!

hiking
3 months ago

The trail shown here is not the NPS marked and maintained trail. The left (west) leg of the attached map is the right (east) leg of the actual NPS Good Harbor Bay Trail. The NPS Trail is accessed at a well identified Trailhead on E Lake Michigan Rd.

trail running
3 months ago

Great way to start the day, awesome views, good ascent/descent (approx 670ft of ascent from trailhead following the advanced loop, minus the 0.8 mile “scenic overlook” of Big Glen). Thought the island view was lights-out.

hiking
3 months ago

When the sun is blazing it gets hot! The climb is strenuous and there is very little shade. Water, a snack, and footwear is a must. The views are beautiful and water is gorgeous once you arrive to the lakeshore. There is little beach and it’s quite rocky.

Great dune CLIMB! Strenuous, water is a must. Also can do in varied footwear. The lake is a little rocky when you get there. NO shady areas to rest.

The best views

hiking
3 months ago

It is a no joke good time but it is not easy. If you think you will take your family to the lake for a quick swim this is not the route. It is the best view in Michigan hands down. Warning bring sandals, the sand was very hot. Everyone in our group got blisters on their feet. We only made it two thirds of the way to the lake but it was worth it. The run down is always fun for the kids(and adults). Picnic tables and bathrooms are available at the bottom. Parking is plentiful.

hiking
3 months ago

I took a Unplanned Day trip Adventure with two of my boys ages 11 and 9. We pulled over to climb what we thought to be One big dune. Out of curiosity we kept on going and Our adventure ended up being Over three miles of 9 up hill dune climbs to Lake Michigan. 27 Trail marks one way. Bring Water and A Snack!

very challenging. Highly recommend starting very early in the a.m. especially during the summer. Bring lots of water. My 7 y.o. walked in and out, however my 3 y.o. walked in and I shoulder carried him out. Easy for him but very challenging for Daddy.

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