Michigan Trail Tuesday: Pyramid Point Trail, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
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.
The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has close to 100 miles of marked trails, including the Pyramid Point Trail that leads to spectacular views of Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands from atop a 260 foot tall sand dune. This trail is somewhat tucked away from the busier parts of the park, providing a little more peace and quiet than the Dune Climb, Sleeping Bear Point or Empire Bluffs. In addition, it only takes a hike of 1.2 miles round trip to visit the lookout and return to the parking area; or the entire loop covers 2.7 miles and passes through fields and forest right now.
There is a parking area off of Basch Rd. (reached by taking Port Oneida Rd. towards the lakeshore from M-22 and following it to its end) that can fit close to 20 cars, and more parking is available on the side of the road. The Pyramid Point Trail starts off flat and wide as it passes through a field.
After .4 miles you will reach a fork, with the trail continuing on to the lookout in another .2 miles or splitting to the right and starting the loop through the meadow. The trail to the lookout begins to steadily climb after the fork, but it is still wide and smooth and shouldn’t be a problem for most able-bodied persons. Once you travel the final .2 miles and reach the lookout, you’ll immediately understand why this is regarded as one of the most beautiful vistas in the entire lakeshore.
From Pyramid Point you can see miles of dunes, the clear waters of Lake Michigan, the North Manitou Island Lighthouse, North Manitou Island, and South Manitou Island. If the weather is right you can see for miles, possibly being able to see the tall tower of the South Manitou Island Lighthouse or even a passing freighter. To help control erosion it is asked/recommended that hikers not attempt to descend the dune to the lakeshore (it also could take an hour or more to make it back up). Plan on spending some time here just to soak it all in.
To hike the rest of the look, retrace your steps to the fork from earlier. You’ll make your way through a forest that is especially beautiful in the fall, then pass meadows that were farmed in the mid-1800s. There are some significant elevation gains on this trail before breaking back out at Basch Rd. The final stretch of this trail follows the road back to the parking area.
Be sure to add Pyramid Point to your list of places to visit the next time you’re at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Also, be sure to check out our list of 22 Things to See at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore for more great places to visit. This is one of the pet-friendly areas of the park. For a full list of where pets are and are not allowed at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, head to https://www.nps.gov/slbe/planyourvisit/pets.htm.