Hi there!

 

If you’re looking for hiking trails in Michigan that come with amazing views, then one spot you can go to is Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore! There are 2 national lakeshore parks in Michigan, and this is one of them.

These Sleeping Bear Dunes trails include hiking across sand dunes, hiking to see grand Lake Michigan views, and hiking to Lake Michigan beaches!

 

Best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park. Lake Michigan views. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog

Best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park. Lake Michigan views of sand dunes. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog

Best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park. Lake Michigan views of Manitou islands. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog

Best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park. Lake Michigan beach. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog

Best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park. Best things to do in Sleeping Bear Dunes national park. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

 

First, the quick list of the some of the best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Then, a bit about each of these hikes! Some of the trails have options to go for shorter or longer, depending on how you want to spend your time in the park.

And then, a few more Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trails in case you have extra time in the national lakeshore park.

 

 

5 best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park

aka some of the best hiking trails in Michigan and some of the best things to do in Sleeping Bear Dunes!

 

1. Empire Bluff Trail

Best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park: Empire Bluff Trail. Things to do in Sleeping Bear Dunes. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog
Possibly THE hike to do if you’re looking for just one!

 

 

2. Dune Climb Trail

Best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park: Dune Climb Trail. Things to do in Sleeping Bear Dunes. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog
Do the popular option of just climbing up the first hill, or go further for a solid hike across sand dunes to Lake Michigan and the beach!

 

 

3. Sleeping Bear Point Dune Loop Trail

Best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park: Sleeping Bear Point Trail. Things to do in Sleeping Bear Dunes. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog
You can hike straight to the beach, or go for the longer option of hiking across sand dunes.

 

 

4. Pyramid Point Trail

Best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park: Pyramid Point Trail. Things to do in Sleeping Bear Dunes. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog
You can hike the shorter distance by going straight to the overlook with views of the Manitou Islands, or there’s a longer loop option too.

 

 

5. Old Indian Trail

Best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park: Old Indian Trail. Things to do in Sleeping Bear Dunes. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog
You can make this a hike for Lake Michigan views, and you can go further across sand dunes to hike to the beach.

 

 

Swimming in Lake Michigan?!

Hiking to Lake Michigan beach in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park. Lake Michigan swimming. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

Swimming in Lake Michigan is a popular activity, and that includes the beaches of Sleeping Bear Dunes! Although, some people do find it to be a little cold, it’s mostly considered reasonable to swim in Lake Michigan during the summer. (Unlike Lake Superior beaches that are a bit colder!)

Some of these hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes can take you to a beach shoreline, so you might want to pack your beach gear with your hiking gear!

In any case, always pack water shoes just in case. You never know if you will just happen upon a Lake Michigan beach, and the shores around here tend to have small pebbles. 

Also, in some ways, the Great Lakes can act like an ocean. Rip currents are a thing in the Great Lakes, including in Lake Michigan. Know before you go, just in case!

 

Hiking to Lake Michigan beach in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park. Lake Michigan swimming tips, rip currents. Northern Michigan travel blog

Hiking to Lake Michigan beach in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park. Lake Michigan swimming safety tips, rip currents. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

 

What to know about dune grass!

Hiking in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park: Hiking tips for beach hikes. dune grass. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

When you’re hiking across sand dunes or at the beach on the shores of Lake Michigan, you’ll see dune grass. This is the grass that’s growing in the sand.

In short, try not to step on the dune grass! It’s said to be fragile, and it’s said to be an important part of the sand dunes ecosystem.

As you’re trying to take that perfect picture when you’re in the sand dunes, look out below for where you’re stepping!

 

 

For the best pictures, try to go hiking on a sunny day!

If you are looking for the perfect picture (aka really amazing water color), then it’s best to go hiking in Sleeping Bear Dunes when the sun is out to see the color of the lake at its best. 

For Sleeping Bear Dunes weather, you can check cities like Empire MI weather and Glen Arbor MI weather

 

 

🌳

 

Also be sure to see about camping in Sleeping Bear Dunes a short hike away from a Lake Michigan beach!

 

 

And now…

More PHOTOS of hiking trails in Sleeping Bear Dunes

I did these hikes in August 2020, and these trails were OPEN! But to minimize disappointment, it’s best to check for any special alerts at the official National Park Service website before you go.

Now…

Best hiking trails in Sleeping Bear Dunes

 

Empire Bluff Trail

List of best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park: Empire Bluff Trail. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

If you’re looking for just one hike to do in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore that allows you to see the beauty of Lake Michigan, the Empire Bluff Trail might be the hiking trail to choose! This will give you classic views of Lake Michigan and the Sleeping Bear Dunes pictures you’ve probably seen.

The trail is listed as 1.5 miles round trip. It goes through a forest and there are a few notable hills that may give you a workout if you’re not used to them! The views will be your reward!

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: forest hike on Empire Bluff Trail. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: forest hike on Empire Bluff Trail. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Empire Bluff Trail. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Empire Bluff Trail. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Empire Bluff Trail. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Empire Bluff Trail. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Empire Bluff Trail. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

 

Empire Bluff Trail: See more about this Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trail.

 

 

Dune Climb Trail

List of best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park: Dune Climb Trail. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

The Dune Climb is another classic Sleeping Bear Dunes activity. There are a few different ways you can appreciate the dune climb.

Right at the parking lot of the dune climb is the most popular part. It a big hill of sand! The thing to do is to climb up it! Or you can just watch others climb up it. 😉

If you are up for more hiking across sand dunes, then you can go further. It’s a solid hike to walk across the dunes all the way to the shoreline. This will take you to a Lake Michigan beach! 

This Dune Climb trail is listed as 3.5 miles round trip. It is all through sand. This means it will take you more effort to walk!

Officially, it’s recommended that you give yourself 3-4 hours. If you’re speedy, you can possibly do it in 2 hours. But you might want to add in some extra time for the beach! This is a good sunset spot too.

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Dune Climb Trail. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Dune Climb Trail. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Dune Climb Trail. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Dune Climb Trail. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Dune Climb Trail. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Dune Climb Trail to Lake Michigan. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Dune Climb Trail. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Dune Climb Trail to Lake Michigan. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Dune Climb Trail to Lake Michigan. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Dune Climb Trail to Lake Michigan beach. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Dune Climb Trail to Lake Michigan beach. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Dune Climb Trail to Lake Michigan beach sunset. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

 

Dune Climb Trail: See more about this Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trail.

 

 

Sleeping Bear Point Dune Loop Trail

List of best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park: Sleeping Bear Point Trail. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

This is another hiking trail that can take you to a Lake Michigan beach. This one will take you to Sleeping Bear Point beach.

There’s the trail that you can take straight to the beach (maybe 20-30 minutes round trip), or for some of the best views at Sleeping Bear Point, take at least part of the loop trail which is across sand dunes.

Officially, the Sleeping Bear Point loop trail is listed as a 2.8 mile hike. The loop trail won’t take you directly to the beach, and that will be a few extra minutes on the trail to the beach.

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: forest hike on Sleeping Bear Point Trail. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Sleeping Bear Point Trail sand dunes. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Sleeping Bear Point Trail sand dunes. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Sleeping Bear Point Trail sand dunes. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Sleeping Bear Point Trail sand dunes. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Sleeping Bear Point Trail beach hike. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

 

Sleeping Bear Point Trail: See more about this Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trail.

 

 

Pyramid Point Trail

List of best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park: Pyramid Point Trail. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

Another stunning overlook of Lake Michigan.

You can take the trail that leads directly to the Pyramid Point overlook (maybe 30 minutes round trip).

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Pyramid Point Trail. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Pyramid Point Trail. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Pyramid Point Trail. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

Or if you’re looking for a longer hiking option (maybe 1 hour or so), then there’s a loop trail you can trail to hike through “meadows.”

The Pyramid Point Trail is listed as 1.2 miles round trip straight to the lookout and 2.7 miles if you do the loop trail.

This is also a spot where there’s a big hill that goes straight down to the shoreline. It’s officially not recommended to go down because of the strenuous nature of the climb on the way back up. 

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Pyramid Point Trail. Sand dunes. hiking safety tips. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

 

Pyramid Point Trail: See more about this Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trail.

 

 

Old Indian Trail

List of best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park: Old Indian Trail. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

This trail starts off in the forest and will take you to a spot where you can see Lake Michigan. From here you can hike further across sand dunes to get to a Lake Michigan beach!

The Old Indian Trail is listed as a 2.5 mile loop, and it will be a little further off of this loop to hike to Lake Michigan.

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Old Indian Trail forest hike. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Old Indian Trail sand dunes. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Old Indian Trail sand dunes. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Old Indian Trail sand dunes. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Old Indian Trail to Lake Michigan. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Old Indian Trail to Lake Michigan beach. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Old Indian Trail to Lake Michigan beach. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hikes: Old Indian Trail to Lake Michigan beach. Michigan hiking trails. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

 

Got a few days in Sleeping Bear Dunes and looking for more hiking trails?!

 

Alligator Hill Trail

This hike will take you to 2 lake overlooks, Lake Michigan and Glen Lake.

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trails: Alligator Hill Trail. Michigan hikes. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trails: Alligator Hill Trail. Michigan hikes. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trails: Alligator Hill Trail. Michigan hikes. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

 

Alligator Hill Trail: See more about this Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trail.

 

 

Cottonwood Trail

This hike with sand as your trail will allow you to see the Dune Climb and views of Glen Lake. The trailhead is located on Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trails: Cottonwood Trail, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Michigan hikes. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trails: Cottonwood Trail, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Michigan hikes. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trails: Cottonwood Trail, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Michigan hikes. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

 

Cottonwood Trail: See more about this Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trail.

 

 

Bass Lake Loop Trail (Platte Plains)

This trail starts and ends at Bass Lake, making a loop. Along the way, you can go for a Lake Michigan overlook, and hike further to the beach. This is also the way to get to the White Pines backcountry campground.

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trails: Bass Lake loop trail, Platte Plains. Michigan hikes. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trails: Bass Lake loop trail, Platte Plains. Michigan hikes. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trails: Bass Lake loop trail, Platte Plains. Michigan hikes. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trails: Bass Lake loop trail, Platte Plains. Michigan hikes. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

 

Bayview Trail farm loop (Port Oneida rural historic district)

Sleeping Bear Dunes has a number of historic sites to see if you’re interested in exploring the history of the area. This trail is located in the Port Oneida rural historic district. Hiking the farm loop of the Bayview Trail will take you on part of the Sleeping Bear heritage trail, and you can also see the historic Charles Olsen farmhouse and barn. 

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trails: Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. Bayview Trail, farm loop, Port Oneida rural district farm - charles olsen farm. Northern Michigan travel blog

Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trails: Bayview Trail, farm loop, Port Oneida rural district farm - charles olsen farm. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

 

And another spot for a great view of Lake Michigan!

While we are talking about spots to get great views of Lake Michigan…

There is also the Lake Michigan overlook that’s a stop along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. The is THE famous Lake Michigan overlook of Sleeping Bear Dunes.

This isn’t so much a hike, although you could walk a little bit further to make it a hike if you’re looking for a sand dune hike!

This is among the most popular spots in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, so you can expect a lot of people at the overlook.

 

Best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park: Lake Michigan overlook sand dunes on Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog

Best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park: Lake Michigan overlook sand dunes on Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

 

Lake Michigan Overlook: See more about this Sleeping Bear Dunes activity.

 

 

And that’s a bit about the best of hiking in Sleeping Bear Dunes!

 

See more pictures of Sleeping Bear Dunes:

 

Also see the best of the national lakeshores in Michigan!

 

More for your Michigan road trip!

If Sleeping Bear Dunes is just one part of your Michigan road trip, here are more ideas for the rest of your trip! Drive time listed from Empire MI.

 

HAPPY HIKING IN THE SLEEPING BEAR DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE PARK!

 

Best hikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park. Best things to do in Sleeping Bear Dunes national park. Best hiking trails in Michigan. Northern Michigan travel blog

 

 

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Things to pack for your Michigan vacation!

The ultimate beach towel for travel?!
Turkish towels are considered to be more lightweight than your average beach towel while still being absorbent. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
How to be a little bit more eco-friendly during your road trip!
Instead of using plastic silverware, try out bamboo silverware like this set!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phone
You can beach-proof your phone with a simple waterproof phone case like this.
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!
Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're swimming in Lake Michigan or Lake Superior! Less sunscreen also means less chemicals from that sunscreen will enter our precious Great Lakes!
Get your travel bags more organized!
Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.