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Ludington State Park Hiking Trails

West Coast/Lake Michigan, Michigan

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Ludington State Park Hiking Trails

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  • Hiking along Lake Michigan.- Ludington State Park Hiking Trails
  • Looking out next to the Big Sable Lighthouse at sunset.- Ludington State Park Hiking Trails
  • Looking out over the dunes along the Lighthouse Road.- Ludington State Park Hiking Trails
  • Enjoying a sunset on the Skyline Trail.- Ludington State Park Hiking Trails
  • Beginning the hike to the Jack Pine Campground.- Ludington State Park Hiking Trails
  • Trails are well marked with plenty of signage.- Ludington State Park Hiking Trails
  • The Logging Trail meanders through the woods.- Ludington State Park Hiking Trails
  • Hiking along the Ridge Trail.- Ludington State Park Hiking Trails
  • Several stairs can be found on the Ridge Trail.- Ludington State Park Hiking Trails
  • Looking out at Lost Lake.- Ludington State Park Hiking Trails
  • A view of the Lost Lake Trail.- Ludington State Park Hiking Trails
  • Enjoying the views on the Island Trail.- Ludington State Park Hiking Trails
  • The boardwalk along the Island Trail.- Ludington State Park Hiking Trails
  • One of a handful of shelters found along the trails.- Ludington State Park Hiking Trails
  • The boardwalk and bridge on the Lost Lake Trail.- Ludington State Park Hiking Trails
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views. Lots of variety. Lighthouse. Well-maintained trails.
Cons: 
Can be crowded.
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Region:
West Coast/Lake Michigan, MI
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Highest point: 
707.00 ft (215.49 m)
Net Elevation Gain: 
126.00 ft (38.40 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Park entrance fee
Permit required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Suitable for:
Biking
Total Distance: 
18.00 mi (28.97 km)
Total elevation gain: 
400.00 ft (121.92 m)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
581.00 ft (177.09 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Ludington State Park boasts 18 miles of beautiful hiking trails ranging from paved ADA-accessible paths to steep sand dune ridges and marshy traverses. All of them offer stunning views and wildlife viewing opportunities. Most of the trails link together, forming a web with several popular routes and several ways to tailor your experience.

The South End Ski Trails are located closest to the entrance of the park. These trails wind through sand dunes and wetlands, covering 6 miles over three linked loops. Their exposure to the sun make these trails less popular in the summer, but the protection from the wind make them an excellent choice in the winter.

The Big Sable River Trail and the Skyline Trail also begin near the entrance to the park. The former parallels the Big Sable River on a paved path and docks, passing a picnic area and several intersections with other trails. The path is especially popular among bicyclists. The Skyline Trail is only half a mile long, but it requires a steep climb up several flights of wooden stairs. The views over the dunes to the south are worth the effort, especially in the late afternoon or early morning when the sun casts dramatic shadows over the dunes.

Another popular destination is the Big Sable Point Lighthouse, which is accessible by a 2-mile beach walk, 1.8-mile unpaved road, or the 3-mile Lighthouse Trail. Each option provides great scenery and a unique experience. The lighthouse offers tours and tower climbs from May through October.

The Lost Lake and Island Trails are two of the most scenic trails, and they meander through the wetlands and small ridges near the shores of Hamlin Lake. Boardwalks create bridges and parallel the shoreline, providing unique perspectives along the various coves. Near the northern terminus of the Island Trail, one of a handful of shelters overlooks the lake. The Ridge Trail connects just a bit further on, offering an alternative route back to the main part of the park.

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(9 within a 30 mile radius)

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