Beautiful. Rough. Expansive. Sandy. Excellent. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is an awe-inspiring piece of land. The dunes are just so massive, creating incredible vistas, sheltering delicate flora, changing over time. I drove the very pretty Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive with its overlooks of Sleeping Bear, Lake Michigan, and heavy forests and sweeping dunes. Spent about 90 minutes enjoying the 7.4 mile loop road. One of the best roads anywhere.
Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive
From there I headed up to Glen Haven Village, which the NPS website describes as a “visit to Glen Haven, the small village on the Lake Michigan shoreline, is a step back to a time when small villages and docks supplied fuel to steamers along the Great Lakes. Glen Haven is the best preserved cord wood station on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and perhaps the entire Great Lakes. Glen Haven was a company town and eventually diversified into farming, canning of fruit, and tourism.” Spent some time chatting with Patrick, a college professor during the winter and national park volunteer during the summer. Cool to get a couple background stories on the area.
Next I headed over to Sleeping Bear Point and trekked out on the dunes loop trail, a short but strenuous 2.8 mile trail that traverses several dunes and forested areas. Walking in sand that swallows your ankles is tiring! And since the sand is always moving, at times you follow the trail only by finding the next blue-topped marker post. I was sure to keep at least one post in view all the time. The workout was worth it, as I got to experience great views, ghost forests (part of ongoing environmental changes in the dune landscape), and fields of ferns (and some poison ivy which I was able to avoid). Great hike for an afternoon that was quickly turning late. Enjoy the slideshows!