There are tons of amazing places to hike in Michiganespecially with our amazing landscape & gorgeous Great Lakes that surround the state to give it its instantly recognizable mitten shape. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore gives you some of the most amazing views — and the hikes to see them are definitely worth the effort.
It's a long road trip north of Detroit, but we're always down for a little road trip! In the summer you can head up with some friends & pitch a tent at the campground & go on a beachy hiking adventure.
There's definitely a time and place for laying out on the beach and swimming in the lake, but there's almost more to do for the nature adventurers out there.
Empire Bluff Trail is a good hike for all skill levels & you can even take your dog up there as long as they're on a leash.
At the signpost signaling the start of the trail, you can pick up a trail map that will keep you from getting lost. It's a mile & a half long and takes you high up above Lake Michigan.
This hike is a great precursor to a day at the beach but it's a fun trail in the winter as well. Although you should be aware that it can get icy up there in the cold months.
The hills of sand are absolutely stunning and when you're at the top of the dune it feels more like you're in the middle of the desert rather than northern Michigan.
From the top of the trail, you can see South Manitou Island along the horizon on a clear day, which is a part of the Ojibwe legend about the dunes.
According to the story, a mother bear and her two cubs tried to swim across Lake Michigan from Wisconsin. The two cubs drowned on the way and became the North and South Manitou Islands.
The mother made it to shore and curled up to sleep on top of the land, thus becoming the Sleeping Bear Dunes & it's absolutely breathtaking at the top.
You have to check out this trail if you want to see the most beautiful lakeshore landscape that Michigan has to offer.
An overview of Sleeping Bear Dunes can be found below.
If you're looking for more breathtaking Michigan adventures, this rock island feels like the floating mountains of Pandora from Disney's 'Avatar' or this island without motor vehicles will take you on a travel back in time.
Empire Bluff Trail at Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes
Price: $25 per vehicle for a seven-day pass to park in the lot. You could also buy a yearly pass for $45. If you arrive on foot, the cost is $15 per person.
Address: Empire Bluff Trail, Honor, MI 49640
Why You Need To Go: It's truly one of the most stunning views in all of Michigan. Whether you like to camp, hike, or hit up the beach, it has something for all types of nature lovers.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.