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!


The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail (aka SBHT)

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

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. It is also pet friendly. Please leash and clean up after your furry friends. Thanks! 

The SBHT is also groomed in the winter months for Cross-Country Skiing!

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

Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

Photo ® from Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, Lake Michigan overlook by Raquel Jackson

Whether you want to hike is optional, enjoy this “Must do” scenic drive while visiting the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in the Empire and Glen Arbor, MI area.

See spectacular, world-class overlooks from this 7.4 mile drive that loops through Maple and Beech dominate forests. This scenic loop provides insight to the history and variety of vegetation that thrive among the Park. Overlooks include vistas of the Glen Lakes, the Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Lake Michigan shoreline. 

You may opt to stop and take a hike along the Cottonwood Trail or break for a picnic at one of the designated areas on the drive. 

Plan your visit to Pierce Stocking & Learn more.

NEW! Kettles Trail

Located on West Baatz Road near its intersection with South Fritz Road, west of Leelanau County Road 669. 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. The Kettles Trail provides the best access to examples of the ‘ancient glacial phenomena’ cited here. 

3 miles long | The first 1,000 feet leads to an overlook are is fully accessible via a compacted stone surface. | The remainder of the trail is accesses steep hills, ponds, bogs and showcases the kettle topography. | Moderate Hiking | Advanced cross-country skiing in winter.

Click here for a detailed map on how to get there.

Kettles trailhead opened in Oct. 2019 in cooperation with the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park Service & the Friends of Sleeping Bear.

Old Indian

Photo courtesy of Charlotte Davis ®

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

Dunes/Sleeping Bear Point

Photo from

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

View + Download Trail Map

Alligator Hill

Photo courtesy of Charlotte Davis ®

Photo courtesy of Charlotte Davis ®

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

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

View + Download Trail Map

Good Harbor Bay

Photo courtesy of Charlotte Davis ®

Photo courtesy of Charlotte Davis ®

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 Charlotte Davis ®

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


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

View + Download Trail Map

Empire Bluff

Empire Chamber_bluff lake michigan

A infamous destination for spectacular photography, this trail is a 1.5 mile round trip – out and back | Moderate, Hilly | Through Beech-Maple Forest, fields with dune plants take you to a world class vista of Lake MI. Your mind and heart will be blown. 

View + Download Trail Map

Palmer Woods Forest Reserve

Photo by Drew Palmer

A popular and newer development by the Leelanau Conservancy, Palmer Woods is good all seasons for: Hiking / Snowshoeing, Hunting, Mountain Biking, XC-Skiing

Features moderate hills, Great for Kids, Pets Permitted on Leash, with a Scenic Vista

The reserve includes 721 Acres with 7.4 Miles of Trails (and growing)

Located at: 5677 S Wheeler Rd, Maple City, MI 49664

Learn more

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!