So the Walk-a-mile Trail is a fun little hike you can do in P.J. Hoffmaster State Park that will allow you to walk on a sand trail and see Lake Michigan!
So if you’re looking for an excuse to hike, you might look to this trail for a little hiking in PJ Hoffmaster State Park!
Now, figuring out how to hike the Walk-a-mile Trail in PJ Hoffmaster State Park isn’t all that difficult. Basically, you go to the main day use parking area of the state park, and you’ll look for the trail that’s along the side of the road as you drive to the parking lot. Then start hiking!
Here are a few quick things to know about hiking the Walk-a-mile Trail in Hoffmaster State Park!
1. You’ll drive to the parking lot of the beach and day use area to find the Walk-a-mile trailhead.
2. You’ll see the Walk-a-mile trailhead on the side of the road off to the right just before you reach the parking lot.
3. The trail will start off by taking you on a dirt trail through a forest.
4. There are a few stairs.
5. You’ll eventually come to a trail of sand.
That means you’re almost to Lake Michigan!
6. You’ll then be on the top of some sand dunes overlooking Lake Michigan!
You’ve made it to the highlight!
It might take you a little over 30 minutes to hike from the parking lot to the Lake Michigan shoreline if you’re following the Walk-a-mile Trail.
From here, you can turn back around to go back the way you came, or…
7. You can head down to the Lake Michigan shoreline.
8. There’s a sand trail to the right and you can hike along Lake Michigan.
When you’re facing the lake, the trail off to the right is the one that leads to the PJ Hoffmaster State Park campground. So you can make it a hike along Lake Michigan from the campground too. You can walk on the sand trail, or your can make it a Lake Michigan beach walk.
9. There’s also a sand to the left, which will take you to the main Hoffmaster State Park beach.
When you’re facing the lake, the trail off to the left is the one that leads to the main PJ Hoffmaster State Park beach and day use area, where you parked.
This is the beach you’d access from the day use area. So you can also make it a loop around by going in this direction and then heading back to the parking lot.
10. The Walk-a-mile Trail is NOT a one mile hike!
You will be walking a mile… and then some. You’ll likely walk closer to 2 miles.
11. The Walk-a-mile Trail is a part of Hoffmaster State Park’s north hiking trails.
Map for the visual! At the top is the campground. At the bottom is the main beach and day use area. The Walk-a-mile trail is between the 2!
Lake Michigan water level
As you may notice in some of the shoreline pictures of Lake Michigan, it looks like there’s almost no beach. These pictures are from summer 2020, and Lake Michigan water level were said to be high.
Lake Michigan beach swimming
Swimming in Lake Michigan is a thing. Although you may find it a bit cold depending on your tolerance. You may find a sign as you enter PJ Hoffmaster State Park listing the water temperature. On this early July 2020 day, the water temperature was 70 degrees!
Also, it’s important to know that although it’s a lake, in many ways Lake Michigan can act like an ocean. Take care! There are no lifeguards at Hoffmaster State Park.
Take care not to walk on dune grass!
You may have also noticed the dune grass in the pictures. Dune grass is said to be fragile and an important part of the coastal ecosystem. So take care not to step on it as you’re having fun on the sand dunes or at the beach!
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More PHOTOS of hiking in PJ Hoffmaster State Park on the Walk-a-mile Trail!
So to get to the Walk-a-mile trailhead start location, you’ll enter Hoffmaster State Park. And as a state park, the “cost” of hiking this trail will be the cost to enter the park. Hopefully you already have a Michigan state parks recreation passport! Otherwise, you can see current state park fees here.
Then, you’ll follow the signs to the BEACH, which is the main day use area. This will take you to the beach parking lot.
Then, you can make your way to the trailhead that you passed on your drive to the parking lot!
You’ll also see a “shoe brush” at the start of the trail. This is to help prevent you from tracking any invasive species that might be attached to your shoes from other places you’ve been.
Start the hike through the forest!
And then eventually you’ll start to see a sand trail which means that you’re getting close to Lake Michigan!
And you’ve made it to the top of the sand dunes in this section of Hoffmaster State Park! There’s Lake Michigan!
And then after you’ve taken in the views from the top of the sand dunes, you can head to the shoreline!
Then, you can continue hiking along Lake Michigan away from the crowds…
Or you can make your way towards the main Hoffmaster State Park beach and back towards the parking lot!
And then you can take the regular beach path back to the parking lot!
There is a picnic area right at the parking lot, so you can then have your post-hike picnic here!
Hoffmaster State Park hiking map
Hike the Walk-a-mile Trail on the north side of Hoffmaster State Park.
Hike the Homestead Trail on the south side of Hoffmaster State Park.
And that’s a bit about hiking to Lake Michigan and sand dunes in Hoffmaster State Park!
Explore more of Lake Michigan:
- Hiking in Muskegon State Park
- Things to do in Muskegon State Park
- Best of hiking in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
- South Haven Michigan beach town
HAPPY HIKING IN P.J. HOFFMASTER STATE PARK!
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