The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a breathtaking symphony of water, sky and towering sand dunes on our Lake Michigan shoreline. Part of the national park system since 1972, Sleeping Bear is one of America’s most profoundly beautiful landscapes: a 64-mile curve of sweeping vistas, miles of perfect freshwater beaches, forested wilderness islands, and miles of hiking trails. The dark blue of Lake Michigan makes a stunning backdrop for the dunes and forests -- especially when autumn turns their leaves to brilliant gold, orange and scarlet -- while abundant wildlife and a diverse ecosystem thrill the nature lover.
Although the water can get too cold for swimming by late fall, there's still lots to do at Sleeping Bear in autumn. The abundance of hiking trails throughout the park offer visitors the chance to take in the awe-inspiring vistas of Sleeping Bear. The newest trail, the paved Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, is a multi-use pathway that will run for 27 miles from the northern end of the park to a point just south of Empire. (For a complete listing of hiking trails, please visit our Trails page.)