Distance: up to 11.25 km one way
Location: Moran, MI
I didn’t find this listed anywhere as a hike, so I made up my own name for it. If there is an official name for this route please let me know.
While it’s no secret that Lake Superior is my favourite great lake, I must say that Lake Michigan is definitely a very close second. This is the longest stretch of beach I’ve walked along on the great lakes so far!
This Lake Michigan beach is found in the Hiawatha National Forest within the St. Ignace Ranger District, west on US 2, from Pte. Aux Chenes to beyond the National Forest boundary. The Point Iroquois Lighthouse, Horseshoe Bay, Naomikong Point and Overlook are also located within the Hiawatha National Forest.
It’s great to enjoy the view of the lake and the sand dunes while walking along the shoreline. The water birds in the area are fun to watch too. Early in the morning you can see ducks, like the common merganser and hooded merganser. There are also shore birds, to see like the spotted sandpiper, running up and down the beaches. I like to take this walk off season when the beach is not packed with people, say anytime between September and May. I will be sure to go back and check it out over the winter too.
Remember that sand dunes are very fragile, and there are no recreational or off-road vehicles allowed on them. Also only walk on established paths when crossing the dunes so that you do not cause any damage.
From the intersection of US-2 and I-75 near St.Ignace, drive west on US-2 for approximately 19 km (12 miles) and park on the side of the road out of the way of the traffic. Some people may want to park a vehicle at both ends of the route so that they will only have to walk it in one direction. I usually just walk out and back whatever distance is comfortable for my hiking partners. You can also choose to start walking from pretty much anywhere along the route, as there is road-side parking almost all the way along.