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Cottonwood Trail is a 1.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Empire, Michigan that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from May until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 1.6 mi Elevation gain 170 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Kid friendly Hiking Nature trips Walking Bird watching Forest Views Wild flowers
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Reviews (68)
Photos (40)
Recordings (54)
Completed (141)
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Dawn Peterson
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Hiking

Such a gorgeous day to be out in this awesome trail.... can’t beat the views and easy hike!! This trail from young to old...!!

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Landon Reed
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Hiking
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Cory Peters
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Hiking

All trails are sand which is somewhat difficult to hike but the trails were in good control. You can hike most areas of the dunes so the trails aren’t exact.

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Heather Bosman
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Hiking

Get the views of Lake Michigan, Little Glen lake and Big Glen lake without having to do the Dune climb! Tip: head left at the fork so the views come at the end of your hike.

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Miles Plothow
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HikingScramble

Great trail with great views. Equal amount of uphill down hill

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Jason Escamilla
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Hiking

This is a good trail to get a scenic upper view of the dune climb and surrounding area to the west. There are parts of the trail that are undergoing rehabilitation, which will be marked by “do not enter” signs. Overall an easy hike.

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Justin Kusz
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HikingNo shade
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Kaitlin K
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Easy, neat walk to see the views of the lake.

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Dax Duncan
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Hiking

Fun trail with cool overlook over sleeping bear dune and Glen Lake. Recommend doing it in morning as it’s all sand and very little shade.

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Elena Musser
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Hiking

Great hike with views of Lake Michigan and the Glen Lakes. Mostly sand... watch out for the Poison Ivy!!!

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Laurie Ramroth
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Hiking

Great dune hike. Best done on a cooler day.

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Ashley Schmuker
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Beautiful views! A bit hilly and lots of sandy walking areas.

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Kathy Kosch
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Hiking

Moderate trail. Nice trail to the top of the climbing dune at Sleeping Bear Dunes. Trail accessible from the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Trail map markers along trail colored dark green. This trail does cross other trails but we were able to follow the dark green posts. Met great people along the trail.

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Kaitlynn Casaert
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Hiking

Good trail

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Dan Cowan
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Bird Watching

Hard to follow the trail, other trails cross over it.

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Michael Dickinson
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Hiking

Stop by the park office for a trail map for this and other trails in the Sleeping Bear Dunes Management Area. The Trail head is well marked but by nature of the sand, many old trails cross this trail. Great photography and easy/moderate difficulty. Would recommend for children and healthy seniors.

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Rachel Fast
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Hiking
First to Review

A bit decieving! It can be rather hard to actually stay on the marked trail. A variety of other trails shoot off from the main path. Friend and I ended up crossing the dunes and brush from point 4 (trailhead) to point 9/10 (scenic lookout). Took us 3 hours!

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Lance Ching
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Hiking
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Cassie Neary
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Hiking
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Jane Zlojutro
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Hiking
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Bryan Watkins
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Mountain biking
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Dana Fall
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Hiking
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Matt Bowker
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Hiking
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Jason VanDyken
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Hiking
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Matt Olson
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Hiking
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Leslie Grappin
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Hiking
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Dan Hutchings
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Hiking
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Ruth Kuzmanic
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Hiking
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Josh Gilmour
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Hiking
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Brian Pak
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Hiking
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