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Dunes Trail

Difficult
 4.8 (14) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A strenuous route over sandy terrain includes cresting 9 sand dunes to reach Lake Michigan.


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Map Key

3.7

Miles

6.0

KM

Out and Back

830' 253 m

High

594' 181 m

Low

454' 138 m

Up

453' 138 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

15%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Lake · Swimming · Views

Family Friendly Ther is a large parking area, visitor center, restrooms available in the parking lot. Many families focus on the initial dune climb rather than the entire trail, as it's a great goal for youngsters.

Overview

Take a strenuous hike up and up and down and up and down (a few more times) over sand dunes on your way to a refreshing dip in Lake Michigan. Along the way, enjoy multiple views of Glen Lake and Lake Michigan, as well as the spare dune ecology. This is an out and back trail. Be prepared for hot sand and no escape from the sun.

Need to Know

TAKE WATER. It's easy to be deceived by the shorter distance, but the trail is entirely on sand and there's almost no overhead cover. Pack plenty of water and wear or carry shoes as the sand will get hot.

Description

From the Dune Climb parking area, head up the large sand dune. Focus on the center section. As the dune levels out the first time, look for a series of blue tipped wooden posts marking the path. The trail will climb and descend several dunes over approximately 1.8 miles on the way to Lake Michigan.

After cresting the last dune, the trail reaches a small sandy beach where visitors will be rewarded with the ability to swim in the cool waters of Lake Michigan.

Once you've had your fill of the lake, return the same way that you came. As the trail approaches the initial climb, Glen Lake becomes visible. Hike down the initial climb to return to the parking lot.

Flora & Fauna

You'll mostly see dune ecology here, which can be sparse in comparison to other areas in Michigan.

Contacts

Shared By:

Jeff Menaker

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 14 votes

#667

Overall
  4.8 from 14 votes
5 Star
86%
4 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#4

in Michigan

#667

Overall
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2,021 Since Jul 20, 2016
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Photos

Wide shot from the highest point after the dune climb.
Aug 12, 2016 near Beulah, MI
The beach at the end of the trail is sandy and seemingly endless. Very easy to get your own private section.
Aug 12, 2016 near Beulah, MI
Hiking over sand to Lake Michigan
Jul 20, 2016 near Beulah, MI
Visitors take a rewarding swim in Lake Michigan.
Jul 20, 2016 near Beulah, MI
The dunes are perfect either to climb, or to run down.
Jul 20, 2016 near Beulah, MI
Glen Lake, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Jul 20, 2016 near Beulah, MI

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Check-Ins

Aug 21, 2021
Don Childrey
2mi
Jul 4, 2021
Allison K
4.11 miles per gps. Baby's first hike and NPS 3.7mi
Jan 9, 2020
Danielle H
3.7mi
Aug 3, 2019
Alex Johnston
3.7mi
Jul 11, 2019
Natalie Cole
3.7mi — 8h 02m
Apr 1, 2019
Emily Goergen
Nov 3, 2018
Rachel Harden
Oct 21, 2018
Perrie Howes
Gorgeous viewa