Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, this cordwalk route traverses the entire length of a field of sand dunes with fantastic scenery throughout.
Heading north from the nature center, you'll circle a big depression in the sand and have occasional views of Lake Michigan on the left where there aren't trees in the way. At the end of the north section, there's a spur trail leading to an overlook of the lake.
There are several areas to park and start the run, though the Sanderling Nature Center is the best place to start, because you can learn more about the dune environment before experiencing it firsthand. The entire trail surface is a cordwalk—a series of boards strung together with steel cables to help traverse the dunes—running the length of the dunes. It's absolutely imperative that you do not step off the cordwalk and onto the bare sand as this is very damaging to the fragile plants (including some threatened species) that grow on the dunes. All official spur trails are also cordwalks, so don't be fooled into following use trails on bare sand.
Heading south from the nature center, you can take the Creeping Juniper Nature Trail, which has interpretive signs to introduce you to the variety of flora that thrive in the dune environment, such as creeping juniper. You'll instantly notice that, unlike desert dunes, these dunes are completely covered in dune grass and more rounded thanks to the wind erosion resistance granted by the plants. Depending on the season, you may also see wildflowers growing. After connecting back with the main cordwalk, the trail continues south to the campground. Short spurs along the cordwalk lead to viewpoints of the dunes.