How To Visit the Michigan Giant Sequoia Trees at Lake Bluff Farms in Manistee
Did you know that Michigan has three giant sequoia trees? These towering redwoods are typically only found in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California and there are estimated to only be around 80,000 of them remaining. Last year was when we first learned that there were three of these trees right here in West Michigan so we made it a top goal for 2022 to head up to the Lake Bluff Sanctuary in Manistee to see them in person. Today we’ll share some photos from our visit and directions on how you can go see these magnificent trees in person! Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Michigan Giant Sequoia Trees:
The Michigan Giant Sequoia trees are located at Lake Bluff Farms, which is home to a 70 acre bird sanctuary, trails, 1,500 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline, and the historic Gray home (which has recently been transferred to a nonprofit and may someday open as a retreat center that can host groups for overnight stays and events). You can learn more about the mission of the current caretakers of Lake Bluff Farms at lakeblufffarms.com. The good news is that this property is open to the public so visitors can check out the amazing trees and try and see some of the birds that pass through this beautiful site.
The giant sequoia trees are located just south of the house, and a sign in front notes the largest of the three as the Michigan Champion Giant Sequoia. It also provides some backstory on how these trees ended up here beside Lake Michigan: In 1948, six trees 6″ high brought from California by Mr. and Mrs. Gray were planted at Lake Bluff; three remain. They can live for 3500 years. This Michigan champion is 95+ feet high. They are typically 200-250 feet tall. The tallest known is 311 feet.The natural distribution of this tree is a limited area of the Western Sierra Nevada in California. They grow in scattered groves that are generally found at 4,600 to 7,000 feet in elevation. Giant sequoia is usually found in a humid climate with dry summers and snowy winters. This is the world’s largest tree in terms of total volume and is the fastest growing tree in the world at 1 to 2 feet per year. Girths can be 35 feet. The bark of an adult can be as much as 3 feet thick at the base and provides protection against fire.”
The three giant sequoias aren’t the only notable trees on this property. Near the house you can find the Michigan Champion Sycamore Maple, and the former Michigan Champion Cottonwood can be found on the Cottonwood Path in the southern part of the property.
Trail maps are available online and can help guide you through the trails as they pass many different kinds of trees (most are labeled), plants, birds, and even the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan. Additional trails can be found on the other side of Lakeshore Rd.
Lake Bluff Farms is just north of Manistee. From the intersection of U.S. 31 and M-110, head north on M-110 for two miles (following signs for Orchard Beach State Park) and look for Lake Bluff Farms on the left. There is room to park a few cars on this side, and an additional parking area on the other side of the road.
You can stay up to date with everything to do with Lake Bluff Farms by following their Facebook page. There is no admission charged for entrance, but donations are encouraged and can be left in one of the tubes near the house or visitor center. Enjoy the pictures from our visit, and don’t forget about this magical place the next to time you head to Manistee or Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore!