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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
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General Information

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Copyright: - US National Park Service
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Description - Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was designated to protect the diverse landscape along Lake Michigan's shoreline and the two wilderness islands, North and South Manitou. Beautiful forests, white sand beaches, towering 460-foot dune formations, ancient glacial phenomena, and a host of culture features, characterize this 56,993-acre national land. Most folks visit this national park to view the beautiful dunes but quickly realize there is much more including a 1871 lighthouse, three former Life-Saving Service/Coast Guard Stations, an extensive rural historic farm district, Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire, Michigan, and the Maritime Museum.

Attractions - The recreation opportunities at this National Lakeshore are diverse enough to please many types of visitors. An excellent place to begin your trip through the park and gather information is the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire, Michigan. It features an exhibit area with a slide presentation, a large-scale relief map of the park, a bookstore and well-informed staff. Other information centers can be found on South Manitou Island in the Glen Haven area.

Scenic driving on the lakeshore is a popular activity. The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, a 7-mile (12 km) self-guided auto tour, offers world-class vistas of the Glen Lakes, the Sleeping Bear Dunes plateau, Lake Michigan, the Manitou Islands and North Bar Lake. The park features 13 mainland hiking / cross-country ski trails totaling 55 miles (94 km). The islands also support many miles of hiking trails. Horseback riding is allowed only on the Alligator Hill hiking trail. Ranger-guided nature hikes along the Cottonwood Trail are a regular feature of the summer season.

Two campgrounds are available for public use within the lakeshore. D.H. Day Campground is open from mid-April through November. It is a primitive campground, with vault toilets and potable water, but no trailer hookups. The Platte River Campground remains open year-round with fully modern facilities, including electrical hookups and restrooms with hot water. Coin-operated laundry and showers are available at this site. Calling 1-800-365-CAMP reserves a campsite. Two mainland backcountry campgrounds are available for self-contained backpackers. Mainland backcountry facilities are available for winter use. Backcountry camping is also available on both Manitou Islands.

A pastoral picnic area, appropriately named Picnic Mountain, invitingly suggests red-checked tablecloths, wicker baskets and cool refreshments. Picnic tables and grills are readily available; comfort facilities are located onsite. Handicap accessible.

Other features of Sleeping Bear include the Dune Climb, the Maritime Museum, The Cannery (historic boat museum), campfire programs, Junior Ranger programs, canoeing, and boating.

Recreation - The site offers boating, swimming, fishing, picnicking, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, scenic driving, nature study, camping, and winter sporting opportunities.

Climate - The climate in northern Michigan varies as much as the seasons. Summertime high temperatures can reach 90 degrees with much cooler evening temperatures. Wintertime temperatures below freezing are common. Layered clothing for changing weather and rain gear are recommended.

Location - Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore lies on Michigan's northwestern coast. The site includes 35 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and two wilderness islands. It is accessible by State Highways 22, 72 and 109. The largest community in the region is Traverse City.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Charlotte F. (Dearborn Heights, MI)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: North Manitou Island spring of 2004 My daugter's science club (16 9year olds and 12adults)spent two nights camping and exploring the island. We all had a wonderful time the views were amazing. We actually got to see a full moon rising over Michigan it was spectacular. The rangers were all very helpful and informative. The children and adults alike definalty have memories to last a lifetime. It was one of the best group trips I have ever been on.

Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: SLEEPING BEAR DUNES: Our family of seven (years old: 39, 38, 8, 6, 5, 3 and 6 months)hiked sleeping bear dunes and had a memoriable experience. It was overcast on the day that we hiked so the sand was cool. We hiked to the top of the first dune and raced each other to the bottom many times. It is a little slow going up but you can take giant steps running down. My husband and I took turns holding our infant at the bottom and could at all times see the others playing on the dunes. It wasn't as messy as I thought it was going to be as the sand was very dry and brushed off easily. The dunes continued as far as we could see. Just when we thought we were at the top they continued even further. Someone told us about a three mile hike from which one could see the lake. We chose not to take that path as the we were having fun on the front dune which was close to our car and restrooms.


More Information

Contact Information:
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 9922 Front Street , Empire, MI, 49630-9797, Phone: 616-326-5134

Additional Information:
Michigan Lakes and Rivers - Michigan is one of the most unique states in the nation boasting not only thousands of acres of interior natural lakes along with miles of waterways but also expansive shorelines that touch four of the five Great Lakes: Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie.
Michigan National Forests and Parks - The federally administered forests and parks of Michigan pervade nearly every region of the state and consist of diverse natural and historic attractions.
Northern Michigan - Flat agricultural and industrial lands of southern Michigan evolve into scenic rolling glacial hillsides covered with hardwoods and conifers and bisected by some of the state's largest waterways including the famed Au Sable and Thunder Bay rivers.

Links:
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore - Official agency website

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