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 glistening waters of Lake Michigan make a stunning backdrop for the dunes and forests, while abundant wildlife and a diverse ecosystem thrill the nature lover.
Because of its unique climate Sleeping Bear is one of the best places in the country to view spring ephemerals -- the lovely forest wildflowers that bloom and disappear over the course of a few weeks. spring beauties, lady's slippers, Dutchman's Breeches, trout lilies and vast stretches of white trilliums are visible throughout the woodlands. The park is also a splendid place to watch migrating birds, especially waterfowl and raptors. 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.)