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Dunes Trail

  4.9 ( 9 ) Favorite


3.7 mile 6.0 kilometer loop
94% Runnable


Ascent: 454' 138 m
Descent: -453' -138 m
High: 830' 253 m
Low: 594' 181 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 15% (9°)


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Trail shared by Jeff Menaker


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A strenuous route over sandy terrain includes cresting 9 sand dunes to reach Lake Michigan.

Jeff Menaker

Features Lake · Swimming · Views


Take a strenuous run up and up and down and up and down (a few more times) over sand dunes on your way to a refreshing dip in Lake Michigan. Along the way, enjoy multiple views of Glen Lake and Lake Michigan, as well as the spare dune ecology. This is an out and back trail. Be prepared for hot sand and no escape from the sun.

Need to Know

TAKE WATER. It's easy to be deceived by the shorter distance, but the trail is entirely on sand and there's almost no overhead cover. Pack plenty of water and wear or carry shoes as the sand will get hot.

Runner Notes

Though short in distance, running up steep dunes can provide an excellent workout.


From the Dune Climb parking area, head up the large sand dune. Focus on the center section. As the dune levels out the first time, look for a series of blue tipped wooden posts marking the path. The trail will climb and descend several dunes over approximately 1.8 miles on the way to Lake Michigan.

After cresting the last dune, the trail reaches a small sandy beach where visitors will be rewarded with the ability to swim in the cool waters of Lake Michigan.

Once you've had your fill of the lake, return the same way that you came. As the trail approaches the initial climb, Glen Lake becomes visible. Run down the initial climb to return to the parking lot.

Flora & Fauna

You'll mostly see dune ecology here, which can be sparse in comparison to other areas in Michigan.

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Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 9 votes


  4.9 from 9 votes
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in Michigan


75 Views Last Month
1,377 Since Jul 20, 2016



Wide shot from the highest point after the dune climb.
Aug 12, 2016 near Beulah, MI
The beach at the end of the trail is sandy and seemingly endless. Very easy to get your own private section.
Aug 12, 2016 near Beulah, MI
Visitors take a rewarding swim in Lake Michigan.
Jul 20, 2016 near Beulah, MI
The dunes are perfect either to climb, or to run down.
Jul 20, 2016 near Beulah, MI
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore - Dune Climb
Sep 13, 2017 near Beulah, MI
Climbing on sand dunes.
Sep 13, 2017 near Beulah, MI


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