Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Empire, MI
Sleeping Bear Campground

July 14-15, 2009

Back to the 2009 Summer-Fall Travel Directory

We continued driving up the western side of Michigan along the Lake Michigan shoreline. As planned our next stop was Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. After reading the Michigan information we were a little disapointed. Maybe it is because we have been to the largest sand dunes in the US, Great Sand Dune National Park in Colorado. Those dunes covered over 30 square miles (all sand) and had peaks greater than 700 feet. These dunes were mainly covered with trees, shrubs, and grass. If you have never been to any of the large sand dunes in the US (NC outer banks, Oregon Dunes, Death Valley, or Great Sand Dunes) then they would be good to see.

Sleeping Bear Dunes got it’s name from a Chippewa Indian legend:
“Many years ago, in the land that is now Wisconsin, a mother bear and her two cubs were driven into Lake Michigan by a raging forest fire. They swam and swam, but soon the cubs tired and lagged far behind. Mother bear finally reached the opposite shore and climbed to the top of a bluff to watch and wait for her cubs. Her cubs drowned and turned into the North and South Manitou islands. Sleeping Bear, a solitary dune overlooking Lake Michigan, marks the spot where mother bear waited.”

Dune Overlook
On top of Sleeping Bear Dune overlooking the Manitou Islands.

Lake Michigan Overlook - 450 feet above Lake Michigan
Unfortunately, on this day, the sun was hiding behind thick clouds.
When the sun is shining, the water takes on a light green color at the shoreline and as the water gets deeper it turns into a blue. It almost looks like the Caribbean.

The dune drops off at about 45 degree angle.

This is the dune alongside the Lake Michigan overlook.
Many kids like to slide, run, roll, or fall the 450 feet down to the lake.
Then realize on the way up that it was a mistake.
To make a picture of the whole dune required 3 pictures.
So the next picture is lined up with the fellow marked with the blue line.

The fellow at the left blue line should be standing up straight.
I was not holding the camera level.
The blue line on the right will mark where the next picture should connect.

I rotated the picture so he is standing almost upright.
You can see the people crawling back up on their hands and knees.
Some are sitting and resting.

The bottom of the dune.

A family starting back up after playing in the cold water.

Two fellows about a quarter of the way back up.
The guy on the left is really tired.

Back to the 2009 Summer-Fall Travel Directory