Maple Bay Natural Area straddles both sides of North US31 between Traverse City and Elk Rapids. This popular property has many recreation opportunities and is conspicuously demarcated by beautiful sunflowers planted on both sides of the highway in the summer months. To access the trails and incredible beach beach visitors turn down a gravel drive on the west side of North US31 past Maple Bay Farm (including a farm house, root cellar, sugar shack and pole barn building) to a parking area on top of a bluff where agricultural fields meet forests. The trail descends the bluff steeply to its foot where many dune zones, including dune swale complexes, can be seen. These areas are sensitive and home to several endangered plant species. The trail system includes approximately 2 miles of trail and can be extended with a walk on the beach. Please note the trail to the beach is somewhat steep and .3 mile.