Thursday, August 22, 2013

Old Indian Trail in Sleeping Bear Dunes

Last week, while in Michigan, I got up early on Friday and went hiking in the gorgeous Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, specifically on the Old Indian Trail.  This trail was historically used by local Indian tribes to gain access to Lake Michigan.  I've marked my 4.25 mile track on the map below.  The star shows my starting and ending point, and the arrows show direction of travel.

This image shows the elevation profile for the hike.  You can see that while there was some uphill and downhill, especially on the way in, it was not a real rugged hike - less than 200 feet elevation gain and loss.

This is a view of the initial trail, moving through open forest.  The woods got deeper quickly, and it was a pleasant mix of the types of trees that one finds in the north.  There were also a goodly number of mosquitoes, which are clearly not endangered in the state of Michigan!
I liked these two big yellow mushrooms.  If you look closely, you will see a slug on the left hand mushroom.
 This small garter snake tried to hide but I spotted him or her anyway.  I didn't see a lot of wildlife on my hike.  I did see two deer (in separate locations) and a flock of wild turkey on the drive to the hike, and I did see another animal that I plan on writing a "What Am I?" post about tonight or tomorrow.
After about 1.7 miles, I crested the dunes and came to my first view of Lake Michigan.  Although it is the third largest of the Great Lakes, it is still plenty huge.  Can you imagine the forces that gouged out this lake?
Here is a panoramic view of this Great Lake from the dunes and beach:
I walked about a half mile up and down the beach.  The last time I walked on a beach was at Shackleford Banks.  There were no sea shells here, of course, but I did find some great skipping rocks and some other interesting rocks.
I thought that this lone tree among the dunes was interesting.  How did just one tree take root and survive here?
Returning to the top of the dunes, I looked back on Lake Michigan one last time, gazing out at South Manitou Island far out into the lake.  I always hope to have time to do a backpacking trip to this island or its sister island, North Manitou.  But I always run out of time.  Some day, I will be retired and will do this.
From this point, it was only a mile and half or so of pleasant walking to return to my car and head back.  I am glad I got in a nice morning hike to Lake Michigan.


  1. Looks like another great hike.
    We been there too and it is amazing how big the lake is. Looks like the ocean only with fresh water.

  2. It is a nice hike. Yes the Great Lakes are amazing.