Michigan Trail Tuesday: Saugatuck Dunes State Park
Michigan Trail Tuesdays is a new feature that will showcase a different trail or trail segment each week. The Mitten State is home to thousands of miles of trails, including the new Iron Belle Trail that runs from Detroit in the southeast to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula.
With another Michigan winter in full swing, we’ve decided to focus the Michigan Trail Tuesdays posts on trails that are just as much fun to visit in the winter as they are the rest of the year. Saugatuck Dunes State Park is located south of Holland, and it features two miles of Lake Michigan beachfront and 13 miles of hiking trails. This Ottawa County gem is fairly undeveloped in comparison to nearby parks (Holland State Park, Grand Haven State Park), as there is no campground and the beach is only reached after a hike of nearly one mile.You can find full trail maps for Saugatuck Dunes State Park at: http://www.michigandnr.com/publications/pdfs/RecreationCamping/saugatuck_dunes_map.pdf
In addition to the beach, one of the main draws for this park is its sand dunes. The park has four trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels: the Beach Trail (2.5 miles), the Livingston Trail (2.5 miles), the North Trail (2.5 miles) and the South Trail (5.5 miles). You can see a full set of pictures from our winter visit to this park in our Photo Gallery Friday: Saugatuck Dunes State Park in Winter post. Remember to dress warm and plan ahead, and always wear proper footwear. For our visit we had success in most areas with hiking boots with strap-on traction covers, but snowshoes and/or hiking poles would be great as well. Some trails are set up for cross-country skiing as well.
In the summer months, these trails are popular with hikers and birdwatchers. Trails at this day-use park wind through woods, up and over dunes (dune heights reach up to 200 feet) and along a beautiful and undeveloped stretch of shoreline on Lake Michigan. If you’re looking for some great trails that won’t be as crowded as those at other area parks, add Saugatuck Dunes State Park to your must-visit list.