NEW Kettles trail opens in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Posted October 21st, 2019 | Copied and re-shared here from an Editor post on the Glen Arbor Sun

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes invited the public to help celebrate the opening of the Kettles Trail during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sunday, Oct 20. The celebration took place at the trailhead on West Baatz Road near its intersection with South Fritz Road, west of Leelanau County Road 669. The Friends provided light refreshments. Guided hikes of the trail were offered following the ribbon cutting.

photo from Friends of Sleeping Bear

This trail is the first visitor amenity in the “Bow Lakes” area of the park. Congress added the Bow Lakes area to the National Lakeshore in 1982 specifically because of its geological features, especially the “kettle” topography. Superintendent Scott Tucker noted, “It is fitting that we are opening the Kettles Trail on what is literally the eve of the National Lakeshore’s 50th anniversary year. The Kettles Trail will provide visitor access to some of the best examples of the ‘ancient glacial phenomena’ that Congress cited when it established the park on October 21, 1970.” 

Work on the Kettles Trail involved crews from the National Park Service, Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, the SEEDS Youth Conservation Corps of Traverse City, AmeriCorps YouthWork, and numerous individual volunteers.

The new trail is three miles long, and the first 1,000 feet leading to an overlook are fully accessible via a compacted stone surface. The remainder of the trail is compacted earth and accesses steep hills, ponds, and bogs of the kettle topography. The rest of the footpath offers moderate hiking and advanced cross-country skiing this coming winter.

Click here for a detailed map on how to get there. Use of trails and access to the park in the lakeshore requires a park pass. Learn more from nps.gov on the Hiking Trails within the park and what to expect.