Winter Hike Empire Bluff Trail

1.5 Miles Round Trip - 170 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Empire Bluff Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Holly Mandarich

A short hike to the best overlook views in Leelanau county!

Just outside the village of Empire is where this venture starts. This hike may be the most famous hike in the area. The Empire Bluff Trail provides incredible views of the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, South Bar Lake and Lake Michigan!

The hike is slightly hilly, and stays primarily in the trees. At .5 miles you will peer out from the trees on your right and grab your first scenic view in the area. The trail ends at .75 miles at the iconic viewpoint! Totaling the hike at 1.5 miles roundtrip. This is a hike you won't want to miss, particularly at sunset, as the viewpoint does face west!

For winter conditions - if new snow has fallen it is recommended to bring snowshoes. Otherwise snow-boots should work just as well! The park service recommends that you do not descend down from the bluff to the lakeshore, as it can be steep and hard to climb up - being that there is no designated trail.

For a map of the trail, visit the parks website! No fees are required to hike this trail.


Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area


1.5 Miles
170 ft elevation gain
Out-and-Back Trail

Stay Nearby

Honor, Michigan

Platte River Campground

Glen Arbor, Michigan

D.H. Day Group

Empire, Michigan

D.H. Day Campground

Lake Township, Michigan

Gleasons Landing


Leave a Review

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!