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Varied habitats, seldom-used trails and two overnight locations make this a great backpacker destination.

The Platte Plains Trails is a network of three large loops that encompass approximately 14 miles of wilderness habitat. The main trailhead is located at the Platte River Campground. Two other trailheads are offered as well. It is difficult to pinpoint the best thing about this trail since it boasts several outstanding features. The trailhead is located in a developed campground, but few campers venture out on the trail making this a wonderful remote hike. Another highlight of the trail is the spectacular views afforded along the way and at three separate overlooks. The third great trail feature is White Pine Campground, a remote six-site campground where backpackers must be willing to "carry it all in" and "carry it all out."

Over the course of 14 miles diverse habitats are explored. From pine woodland at the trail's start to beautiful bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan, to mixed hardwood forests with low-lying areas to open fields, to lakes and streams, this trail has it all. As the habitats change, so do the wildlife viewing opportunities. Binoculars, compass, water, proper attire, and bug spray are recommended.

Note: Hunters do use this area during the fall hunting season; wear blaze orange when hiking.

Directions: From Empire, MI, South Trailhead: Head south on M-22 for 9 miles. Turn right onto Lake Michigan Road and follow signs to Platte River Campground. Trail begins at campground.

Distance: 13 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

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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.

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