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Dunes Hiking Trails features two trails, one point-to-point, the other a loop trail.

The South Trail (Dunes Trail) is a point-to-point trail affording a 3.5-mile round trip hike between the Lake Michigan shoreline and Dune Climb. Surrounded by tall native grasses, low-growth wildflowers and sparse windswept trees, allow at least 4 hours to complete the trail. The 150-foot Dune Climb is quite memorable making this one of Sleeping Dunes' most popular hikes.

If you aren't up to the rigors of South Trail, the North Trail features similar terrain without the endurance factor. Located near the Maritime Museum, this trail makes a pleasant side trip for museum visitors. The trail is a loop route of 2.8 miles with a 0.4-mile lead-in spur. In addition to the picturesque dunes, colorful spring wildflowers brighten the path.

Important notes about the trails: Hikers hiking in groups are cautioned to stay together. It is easy to become disoriented among the dunes. Hunters use this area during the fall hunting season, therefore, wear blaze orange is advised.

Directions: From Empire, MI, North Trail / Maritime Museum: At the junction of M-72 and M-22 lies the NPS Visitor Center. Take M-22 north to M-109 (about 6 miles). From the Dunes Climb Trailhead continue north 1.5 miles past the junction of M-109 and M-209. Signs mark the trail entrance.

Elevation: 890 feet

Elevation Gain: 150 feet

Distance: varies miles

Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous

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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 all rights reserved.