Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
400.00 ft (121.92 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
18.00 mi (28.97 km)
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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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Park entrance fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Great views. Lots of variety. Lighthouse. Well-maintained trails.

Cons

Can be crowded.

Trailhead Elevation

581.00 ft (177.09 m)

Highest point

707.00 ft (215.49 m)

Net Elevation Gain

126.00 ft (38.40 m)

Features

ADA accessible
Near lake or river
Vault toilet
Historically significant
Fishing
Bird watching
Wildlife
Big vistas
Geologically significant
Shelters
Wildflowers
Lighthouse
Potable water

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

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