One of the most challenging yet picturesque hikes in Lower Michigan. 160+ foot open sand dunes surrounded by Lake Michigan, Little Sable Lighthouse, Silver Lake, a trout stream, and forest.

This is a challenging 7 mile loop that rewards hikers with some of the best sights in Lower Michigan.

The trailhead begins at the Silver Lake State Park Pedestrian Dune Access. Your difficult hike starts with a steep flight of steps from the parking lot. After the steps, keep climbing until you reach the top of the first dune. While there is no designated trail, you will want to make your way out to Lake Michigan-approximately 1.5 miles straight ahead. Along the way, you will encounter numerous open dunes to hike down and climb, interdunal ponds, and a forest. Once you make it to the beach, start hiking south. It is about a 2 mile beach walk until you reach Silver Creek. Once you reach the small river, you will need to cross it (water will likely be knee-to-waist deep). After crossing, Little Sable Lighthouse will come more into view. Stop at the beautiful lighthouse for pictures and a much-need rest.

Once you are ready for the final 3 miles of your hike, follow the lightly trafficked road (Lighthouse Drive). The road reaches the creek you crossed and then heads east along the creek's edge. Continue following the road for another half mile, until you reach Ruckel Bridge on your left. This bridge crosses the creek and will take you back up to the dunes. From here, you have two choices. Hike 2 miles back across the open dunes or gradually make your way east where the dunes and Silver Lake meet. The easier hike is hiking the beach along Silver Lake, and this is a breathtaking scene. You will have towering dunes on your left that suddenly fall into the sandy blue lake. Eventually, both options will lead you back to where you parked after climbing up and down a few more open dunes.

Enjoy! 

Pack List

  • Lots of water
  • Sun protection
  • Swim suit
  • Hiking shoes
  • Sunglasses
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RT Distance 7 Miles
Activities Photography, Swimming, Hiking
Skill Level Advanced
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Beach
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Swimming Hole

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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