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Dunes Hiking Trail

Address: Empire, MI
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Ranked #6 of 12 Attractions in Empire
Type: Hiking Trails, Outdoors
Activities: Hiking
Owner description: This 4.5-mile challenging hiking trail is the most popular in Sleeping Bear Dunes National...
More attraction details
Attraction details
Type: Hiking Trails, Outdoors
Activities: Hiking
Owner description: This 4.5-mile challenging hiking trail is the most popular in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
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20 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    13
    4
    3
    0
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
usa
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2014

This is a 3 hour hike if you are in good shape. If not you will likely turn around but still have a good time climbing the first two dunes. Not for elderly people in weakened health. If time is limited do the pierce stockton drive there is an excellent overlooking dune that is much steeper than these but can... More 

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Grand Rapids, Michigan
Top Contributor
106 reviews 106 reviews
21 attraction reviews
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2014

I'm so glad I did this, but I say this with a strong warning that this is a strenuous hike. It's 3.5 miles round trip, but could easily take you 3 hours plus however long you spend once you are at the lakeshore. Every time you reach the crest of a dune hill, you think you are there, but you... More 

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Indiana
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
31 attraction reviews
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2014

I didn't plan on hiking all the way to the lake, but my 14 year-old and 12 year-old really wanted to finish the climb. This trail takes some want-to. I've hiked in the Smokies and the Rockies and am fairly fit, but hiking over sand is a new experience. Plus, we were trying to hurry because we left my five... More 

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
15 attraction reviews
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2014

A lot of variable terrain. Very sandy trails, so 1 step forward, then slide 1/2 step back. Very hot inland away from the shore breeze. Be sure to go out with plenty of water.

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Grand Rapids, Michigan
Top Contributor
118 reviews 118 reviews
37 attraction reviews
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2013

When the ranger told me this was 110 feet I thought "no big deal." I expected it to be a little tougher because of the sand, but it was a lot tougher. It took me over 20 minutes to get to the top and I stopped to catch my breath about 8 times. I didn't realize that it would go... More 

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Nashville, TN
Top Contributor
588 reviews 588 reviews
372 attraction reviews
535 helpful votes 535 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2013

Make the Dune Climb early in the day while you have fresh energy and the day is not so warm. We climbed the initial 110 foot dune -- beautiful golden sand set against a brillant blue sky on a gorgeous day. We made sure to use sunscreen before the climb; we wore our hats and took a 2 liter bottle... More 

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2013

The vista is stunning! But be prepared, it isn't at the top of the first sand dune. OMG. take your time!!!!!! and give yourself more than an hour. 4-6 if you want to hike to the lakeshore. The sand is deep and gives way as you hike, barefoot. Shoes are almost impossible on the actual dunes so it takes a... More 

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Thompsonville, Michigan
Top Contributor
137 reviews 137 reviews
33 attraction reviews
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

We did the Dunes Trail with four families with kids from 12 to 4 years old. It isn’t an easy hike due to the sand and moderate incline, but it is doable if you take the slow and steady approach. The view is worth it at the end, but it is similar to the view you can get at other... More 

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Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
22 attraction reviews
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2013

We hiked the Dune Climb all the way to Lake Michigan and it was beautiful but definitely a challenge on a hot summer day. Only 4 miles round trip, it felt much further with all the climbing and loose sand. A shorter climb would still be fun if a hike all the way is not what you want to do.... More 

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SAINT PETERSBURG
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
18 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2012

This trail is definitely not for the unfit. You must carry your own water and the trail starts with a hike up the Dunes and continues about a mile and a half back to the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. You can climb down the bluff to the water but it is a djfficult and strenuous climb both down and up.... More 

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