Cottonwood Hiking Trail at Sleeping Dunes
As Mickey and were taking the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, we noticed that #4 on the drive was called Cottonwood Trail. Since one of the activities we wanted to do while in Sleeping Bear National Dunes was to take a hike on a trail, we decided to give it a try. Thus, on the spur of the moment, we decided to take this particular hike. The bad thing about "spur of the moment" ideas is that we were not prepared. We had no water; we were wearing sandals!
The trail is a 1.5 mile walk on the dunes. It was strenuous in spots, but it offered such a great and close look at the diversity of the dunes.
In some places, wind erosion produced bowl-shaped dunes known as "blowouts". In other spots, the build-up of the dune sad partially buried living trees!
1. Starting of the trail
2. One of the "uphill" climbs along the trail.
3. A particularly beautiful scene along the trail
Even though we were not quite prepared, we truly enjoyed our hike on Cottonwood Trail You need to have good walking shoes worn with socks; a walking stick if you need it; a hat to protect you from the sun; sun protection lotion; and plenty of bottled water.
Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive at Sleeping Dunes
At the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, you are able to take the "Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive" from late April until early November. We visited the National Park in the middle of May, 2010 and were quite impressed with the organization, the signage, the facilities, and the breathtaking beauty. There are 12 numbered interpretive stops along the 7.4 mile scenic loop road.
I drove, and Mickey read the information and where to stop for photographs and views.
At the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center, we were given a great map and step-by-step directions.
Our first stop [see photo #1] was The Covered Bridge. Interesting information: "the sides of the original bridge were larely consumed by porcupines, which seem to relish man made structures more than the native wood of the forest!"
Our second stop [see photo #2] was Glen Lake. This lake has such blue waters. The lake appears divided into two parts: Little Glen Lake in the foregroud (only 12 feet deep and Big Glen Lake (130 feet deep). The Hill on the north [left] side of Little Glan Lake is called Alligator Hill because of its shape.
Our thrid stop [%c0see photo #3] was The Dune Overlook Here, we learned that Sleeping Bear Dunes cover an area of 4 square miles...small but diverse: high barren plateaus, lowlands. The panoramic view from the overlook encompasses North & South Manitou Islands, Pyramid Point, Sleeping Bear Bay, the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Glen Lake, and surrounding hills.
Our ninth stop [see photo #4] was the Lake Michigan Overlook which is 450 feet above Lake Michigan...the views are magnificent. When we were there, the park workers were shoring up the bluff which has been wearing back at the rate of about one foot per year Waves wear away the base of the bluff, and sand and rocks from above slide down to the beach
Our 11th stop [see photo #5] was North Bar Lake
The name describes how the lake formed; it is ponded behind a sand bar.
While on this drive, we stopped to take a hike at Cottonwood Trail [another tip].
This car or bike trail is very worthwhile because it is educational and quite beautiful.
noanoa's new Traverse City Page
The entire Grand Traverse area is beautiful. I just spent a week there. It's one of my favorite places on earth. Clear,Clean waters, Rolling Hills and Deep Green Forests. It takes the weight of the world off your shoulders.