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My favorite northern Michigan hike, the one I share with almost all of my visitors, is a short trek to an amazing view at Empire Bluff! The trail is pretty easy though granted the three quarter mile is completely up hill. Initially, the path through the woods from the parking area takes you past an old farm with only new growth trees and old equipment to mark the site. Just past post four, you are rewarded with a sneak peak of Lake Michigan and South Bar Lake. Once you reach the Bluff, the views of Lake Michigan, South Manitou Island, and South Bar Lake are exposed and just beautiful! Some days on Empire Bluff are windy and wild, and some are calmly serene. Often you will find a crowd gathered to watch the sunset on the Bluff boardwalk. If you are up for more of a challenge, an unofficial trail continues south for several miles past the boardwalk heading through the woods and up and down dunes along the shoreline. Further south this de facto trail intersects a path that starts at Norconk Road by the Tweddle and Treat Farms. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a beautiful place to explore and Empire Bluffs is one of the highlights of this treasure! For more information on this and other Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore hikes check out link below.
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