Explore the most popular wild flowers 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.

hiking
4 days ago

Beautiful wooded trail. There are a lot of little hills, but nothing major. The spur to the lake is dunes, and definitely the most challenging part of the trail.

I HATED this trail!

Many reviews of this hike were really positive and said that it had a variety of terrain. 85% of the trail is sand dunes, with the remaining 15% is forest. The forest part IS quite nice, but also quite short. Had I known so much of it would be really monotonous looking sand dune, I would not have gone. Before I had even reached the midway point, I was cursing the sand and just thinking about how much I hated this trail.

Clearly some people really like this trail, but I was not a fan.

Great variety of terrain- great views!

hiking
24 days ago

Great hike! Lake Michigan just beyond post 27. About 4 miles round trip.

Agree with review below, a favorite for the lower peninsula. Recommend heading out clockwise...reaching the water last. That way you can look for Petoskey stones as long as you want. Otherwise, you have the remaining hike looming. Terrain changes are amazing. A favorite for sure

Beautiful

Great hike and great views. Be sure to take plenty of water.

Iiiiiiiki n go k
K need m

hiking
2 months ago

This hike is all about Elevation but when you get to the top it will be well worth it. Great Views of Big Glen Lake and Lake Michigan.

Easy trail beautiful scenic lookout

hiking
4 months ago

Great, tough hike! We kicked off our shoes and walked in socks only. It was helpful since the sand bogs down worse in shoes! We actually took our kiddos (6 & 3) and they were tough cookies!! Once we reached the lake there were about 12 people there. Great secluded spot and worth the effort to enjoy the peace at the lake

One of my favorite hikes in Lower Michigan. Excellent views and diverse trail.

hiking
4 months ago

Very difficult - bring water. But the views and the dunes are incredible! Even better are: Sleeping Bear Point Trail or Empire Bluff Trail or Treat Farm Trail.

hiking
4 months ago

Hard dunes, but worth the effort!

Amazing sights!

Exhilarating hike in mostly sand. Lots of amazing views.

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike. black outer trail, and walk to Lake Mi great workout. green trail cuts black trail through the middle, very mild terrain.

Great views and easy hike!

hiking
7 months ago

Great dune hike. Best done on a cooler day.

I felt it was a very tough hike but well worth it. There are a ton of amazing views of the lake and the beach was very nice with amazing views of the islands.

backpacking
8 months ago

Spectacular piece of wilderness in northern Michigan! My girlfriend and I had a couple of extra days on vacation and decided to go on a backpacking trip. We booked a seat on the ferry from Leland to the island and paid our backcountry camping fees the day we left. The island is huge and the trails are well-maintained for the most part. If you want to break off of the main trails, there are numerous"unmaintained" trails that you can follow, but definitely bring a map and compass as these are easy to get lost on. It's relatively easy terrain without a ton of elevation gain, and the soft/sandy soil is easy on the knees and ankles even after long distances. The wildlife is beautiful and you're almost certain to see deer and a huge variety of birds.

We went from Sunday to Tuesday in late August, so we were nearly alone on the island and only encountered a couple of other hikers.

Camping on the island is excellent, but you can only have campfires in the designated campground. If you camp in the backcountry like I did, you cannot have a campfire and will be restricted to using your stove for cooking and lanterns/lamps for light. That said, the backcountry campsites I used were excellent. If you camp near the shore of Lake Michigan you can hear waves crash on the beach as you bed down for the night. If you stay more inland, be prepared for nearly absolute silence in the woods, broken only by the calls of owls and other nocturnal creatures.

A word of warning: The island is infested with poison ivy. It is literally everywhere you go. If you plan on camping in the backcountry be sure to pack alcohol swabs or some other anti-poison ivy product to clean yourself off every few hours. It's a miracle my girlfriend and I didn't get rashes. Additionally, bring first aid tools and extra provisions. The ferry takes about an hour to get to the island, and the nearest hospital is in Traverse City, so be prepared for emergency. The beauty and remoteness of this wilderness area make it one of my favorites in all of the Midwest.

hiking
8 months ago

Really neat experience climbing up a sand dune and down again. Pretty steep hill but definitely doable with a nice view :) Take some water along.

hiking
9 months ago

AWESOME views. About 9 bug dunes to the beach, and then back

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked this trail on a late Sunday morning. We first stopped at the beach, which was gorgeous. The water was crystal clear and there were only a few people on the beach. The trail is well marked with blue posts and as always, hiking in sand adds a different level of difficulty to the hike. The views are incredible throughout and towards the end you are able to "cool down" by hiking on stable ground through some forest. We only passed one person walking in the opposite direction and seemed to have the trail to ourselves. It did seem as if the beach became more crowded when we finished as the parking lot was full of cars and bikes.

nature trips
9 months ago

absolutely love the view

backpacking
9 months ago

Our family of 4 spent 3 nights backpacking on NMI, part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. To reach the island, you must take the ferry that leaves from Leland. The staff there will issue your backcountry permit. Once you are in the island, a ranger gives you a brief talk and then you are free to go wherever you would like. We spent the first night at Lake Manitou. Smallmouth bass fishing is excellent. The fishermen waded in and used a top-water technique. You can keep one per license per day. The second night we camped at Crescent City on the west shore. A little tricky to find the right path to the beach, but just keep trying if you hit a dead end. Beautiful sunset. Last night we camped on the east side of island near the South Cherry Orchard. The backpacking is relatively easy- trails are wide and gently sloping. The centerline trail across the middle of the island is fast- so you could camp on the west side and still easily make it back to the boat the next day. I would recommend buying the $5 map rather than using the free park map. The bugs were manageable with Deet. Beware there are monster patches of poison ivy especially along the beaches. There is only one water spigot near the dock- otherwise you will need to filter. Not everyone has done a good job of digging their cat holes- which is kind of disgusting in some popular places. But, we rarely saw other hikers. The solitude was amazing. The beaches are gorgeous. And I was sad to leave. I would recommend this to everyone but especially to families with beginner backpackers.

hiking
9 months ago

YIKES! This trail was definitely "Hard"! Wear tennis shoes and bring lots of water! Start early! Our group went a little off-trail because it was easier to walk on the plants/harder ground than digging into the sand. Took a few hours because we spent a lot of time at the Lake eating and resting for the hike back. Great to say you've done it though!

hiking
9 months ago

Well maintained trail, with even mulch along the way. First island look out is beautiful and looks like a tropical paradise. Continue to overlook big glen because that water color is out of control beautiful. It has a bit of an incline but nothing too strenuous. Go to get a good idea of your surroundings. Trail is very dog friendly.

hiking
10 months ago

Great views of Big Glen and Lake Michigan. Definitely dog friendly

10 months ago

Fun but going back is tough. Made it to 18 of the 27 markers.

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