Trails & Scenic Outlooks

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By now you may have heard of the Dune Climb and Inspiration Point. Our beloved Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park provides an endless amount of recreation and exploring. Here is a list of some of our favorite trails and lookouts in the area. We’ve also included descriptions and links to trail maps!

~Happy Hiking!

View + Download an Official Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park Trails Booklet

Map includes Tips, Rules for the Park, Trail Names, Distances, Difficulty Level + Features!


Old Indian

Photo courtesy of Dancing Frog Press ®

2.5 mile, 2 loops | One Easy Loop, One Moderate Loop | Hike through forest with view and access to Lake MI

More info + photos on NPS.gov


Dunes/Sleeping Bear Point

Photo from NPS.gov

2.8 mi loop | Strenuous | Features Dunes + Vista of Lake Michigan

View + Download Trail Map


Alligator Hill

Photo courtesy of Dancing Frog Press ®

Photo courtesy of Dancing Frog Press ®

Loop 1: 3 mile | Loop 2 : 4.6 mile | Loop 3: 4.7 mile | Moderate | Woods, hilly, with vista of Lake MI and vista of Glen Lake. Total of 9 miles if trails divided into loops.

More Info + Download Trail Map


Pyramid Point

Hike Pyramid Point trail for spectacular view of Lake Michigan

Photo from NPS.gov

Overlook & back: 1.2 mile | Loop: 2.7 miles | Moderate | Woods, stunning vista, from high elevation, of Lake MI and the Manitou Islands

More about Pyramid Point trail on NPS.gov

View + Download Trail Map


Good Harbor Bay

Photo courtesy of Dancing Frog Press ®

Photo courtesy of Dancing Frog Press ®

2.8 Mile Loop | Easy | Through Woods and Wetlands. Trail good for year round use. Hike throughout 3 seasons and snowshoe or cross-country ski in the winter months.

View + Download Trail Map


Bay View

Photo courtesy of Dancing Frog Press ®

2 Loops: Farm – 2.4 miles | Ridge – 4 miles | Easy to Moderate | Woods and Meadows. Total of 8 miles of trails divided into loops | Hike 3 seasons and snowshoe or cross-country ski in the winter.

Lookout Point gives a panoramic view of Lake Michigan and the surrounding countryside. The trail along the edge of the woods on top of the bluff overlooks fields of wildflowers and former farmland with Lake Michigan in the background.

View + Download Trail Map


Cottonwood

1.5 Mile Loop | Moderate | Rolling dunes, through Grasses, shrubs and wildflowers with a Vista of Glen Lake and Lake MI

A self-guided brochure is available at the trail-head. It describes the plant life and geology of the dunes. Much of the trail is through loose sand and is strenuous.

View + Download Trail Map


Scenic Drive/Shauger Hill Trail

Shauger hill is a 2.4 Mile Loop | Moderate to Advanced | Hilly, Beech-Maple Forest | Loops include unplowed Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, totaling 8 miles of trail.

Offers views of Lake Michigan and the dunes, with steep edges and bluffs. Shauger Hill Trail section is a designated cross-country ski trail that pets are not allowed on between Dec 1 – March 31st. The unplowed roadway is pet friendly, if they are taken on 6′ leash.

More about the Scenic Drive Ski Trail/Shauger Hill on NPS.gov

View + Download Trail Map


Empire Bluff

Empire Chamber_bluff lake michigan

1.5 mile round trip – out and back | Moderate, Hilly | Through Beech-Maple Forest, and fields with dune plants take you to a Vista of Lake MI

View + Download Trail Map

The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail (aka SBHT)

Heritage Trail open to: bike, walk, hike, non-motorized, maintained year round, snowshoe, ski

Photo courtesy of Dancing Frog Press ®

Experience the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore via foot, bike, ski, or even wheelchair! The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is a gem of our area that you don’t want to miss.

To view the new interactive online map of the SBHT, click here.

The first 4-mile section of trail connecting Glen Arbor to the Dune Climb opened June 2012 and takes your family to places like Glen Haven, DH Day, Group Campgrounds & Glen Arbor. In June 2014, the 5.5-mile segment from the Dune Climb to Empire opened, creating a 9.5-mile paved connection between Glen Arbor and Empire.

As of Spring 2015, the section connecting Glen Arbor to Port Oneida, was completed. A beautiful winding and serene hike from Port Oneida to Bohemian Road was completed in 2016, adding a total of 7 additional miles to the Heritage Trail, including a section of boardwalk over wetlands and views of barns and historic homes included in the National parkland.  

The trail now spans 27 miles from Empire to Good Harbor Bay.

Visit the SBHT in the winter months for Cross-Country Skiing on the groomed trail!

The SBHT is being paid for by grants & private donations. To donate, please click here: Become a Friend of the Sleeping Bear.

Have a favorite scenic outlook, serene spot, or a hike that’s not listed here? Got some nice photos from the trails or overlooks? We’d love to see and post them!

Submit it to us and we’ll consider posting or adding it to the list!

~Happy hiking!