Sleeping Bear Dunes Adventure
I have been to Sleeping Bear Dunes dozens of times, but discovered a new way to experience this beautiful place a few years ago. This off the beaten path adventure is for you if you would like to see more, cover more mileage and would rather do a loop vs an out an back excursion. I really enjoy this 7-mile loop that begins on a paved path for 2 miles, traverses the dunes from miles 2 to 5 and runs along the beach for the last 2 miles.
Be sure to bring snacks, plenty of water and a hat. You will want to put on sunblock as well if you start later in the day. This adventure takes 2-3 hours. You will need running or walking shoes for the first part and a backpack to carry your running shoes for the last 5 miles because you will likely want to go barefoot.
Begin in the historic village of Glen Haven. Park your car, put on your running or walking shoes, sunblock and grab your backpack with water and snacks. Head away from Lake Michigan for a few yards up the drive to the paved trailhead. Travel South on the trailhead for about 2 miles. This is a pretty flat, but scenic section.
After two miles you will enter the Sleeping Bear Dunes Dune Climb parking area. This is where you have the option to take off yours shoes. I always opt to do this, but it is up to you. Begin the climb up the main dune and then travel the 3 miles up and down to Lake Michigan.
When you reach Lake Michigan you can take a dip and then turn right heading North back to your car. This section is beautiful and nice to walk with the waves washing over your feet. On a warm, sunny day you may decide to take more than one dip. You won't see a lot of people on this section because most people hike from the Sleeping Bear main parking lot to Lake Michigan and back.
When you arrive back at your car be sure to drink plenty of water and then head to Glen Arbor to Boonedocks for lunch & a cocktail or beer!