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Dunes Hiking Trail

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Address: Empire, MI
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Description:

This 4.5-mile challenging hiking trail is the most popular in Sleeping Bear...

This 4.5-mile challenging hiking trail is the most popular in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Hiking the Sleeping Bear Dunes Trail

We hiked this trail in August. The day we hiked was overcast - probably a good thing. IT would be a hot hike if the sun was bright and warm. We enjoyed walking the open dunes with... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed October 21, 2015
ajkuiper55
,
Kalamazoo County, Michigan
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25 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Kalamazoo County, Michigan
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2015

We hiked this trail in August. The day we hiked was overcast - probably a good thing. IT would be a hot hike if the sun was bright and warm. We enjoyed walking the open dunes with the views of Lake Michigan. Lots of variety here - from sand dunes to trees and forest at the end of the hike.

Helpful?
Thank ajkuiper55
Grand Rapids, MI
Level Contributor
24 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2015 via mobile

Even though we didn't make it all the way, it was great fun and a lot of work. The dunes were beautiful and we made it far enough that we could see Lake Michigan in the background. Bring water. Lots of it. I started in bare feet, but put on my tennis shoes later which I think was better to... More 

Helpful?
Thank mamathoma
Longview, Texas
Level Contributor
14 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2015

This is so much fun but so much work!! Be sure and take water with you! There is a trail that will lead to Lake Michigan, but we were too tired to go that far. We went about a half mile past the sign that said 1.4 miles to go! We got to see the Lake even though we didn't... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Dgrotheim
Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Level Contributor
51 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2015

I've done this hike twice (fall 2014 and June 2015). Both times were great! It's actually "easier" if you do it in cold weather, and you need to bring less water with you. If you are planning on hiking all the way to the lake and back, be prepared that it will take around 3 hours. If you are really... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank EJM87
usa
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 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 

Helpful?
1 Thank kpwillie
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Level Contributor
192 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 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 

Helpful?
1 Thank Jackie255VT
Indiana
Level Contributor
84 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 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 

Helpful?
2 Thank Indianagogirl
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
34 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 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.

Helpful?
1 Thank HBandSP
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Level Contributor
117 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 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 

Helpful?
2 Thank Rick W
Nashville, TN
Level Contributor
754 reviews
502 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 714 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 

Helpful?
2 Thank RetiredTravelerTN

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