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Pyramid Point Trail: Explore Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

pyramid point trail in empire mi

By William Orr

Discover Pyramid Point Trail: Leelanau County’s Crown Jewel

Calling all hiking enthusiasts to Pyramid Point Trail!

If you’re interested in incredible heights, outdoor adventures, momentous sand dunes, and the most spectacular view in Michigan, look no further than Pyramid Point in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore for your next adventure.

About Pyramid Point

Pyramid Point is the crown jewel of Leelanau County, offering unrivaled natural beauty and a majestic seascape that will leave you awestruck. Rain or shine, the scenery at Pyramid Point is second to none. Gazing from its outlook, you will be overcome by the sheer and utterly powerful sublimity of Lake Michigan.

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is easily accessible to all Michiganders and tourists alike, with an easy-to-moderate level hike and a lookout only a half-mile walk from the parking lot.

 So, without further ado, here’s your friendly guide to hiking the beautiful Pyramid Point.

pyramid point

Unveiling the History of Pyramid Point

The history of Pyramid Point is as remarkable as its trails and breathtaking views. According to Jim DuFrense in his guidebook “The Trails of M-22,” the site’s unique terrain formed as a result of a massive mile-wide glacier that once thrust into the cliffside, eventually eroded over time.

In the 1970s, the location attracted hang-gliders who took advantage of the site’s strong winds, soaring above the gleaming waters of Lake Michigan. Today, Pyramid Point is renowned for its astonishing views and dazzling height.

Now, with the history behind us, let’s delve into how to get there, which trails to take, and the must-see sights!

Pyramid Point in Sleeping Bear Dunes

How to Get To Pyramid Point: A Journey Worth Embarking On

Situated on the west coast of Leelanau, Pyramid Point in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers a tranquil escape from the summer crowds. Don’t worry; reaching Pyramid Point is not only possible but also quite straightforward.

To get there, simply drive west on M-22 and turn north onto Port Oneida Road. From there, follow the dirt trail Basch Rd east (be prepared for a bumpy ride!) until you reach the parking lot. It’s just a half-mile hike from the parking lot to the summit! Please note there is a vault toilet located in the parking lot.

map of pyramid point

Use the Interactive Map of Pyramid Point

The Trails and Sights to Behold At Pyramid Point: A Nature Lover’s Paradise

There are several paths to explore when hiking Pyramid Point, with the easiest being the path to the summit.

At the entrance to the site, you’ll find a well-marked trail weaving through shrubbery and tall grass. Follow this trail, and you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by a serene forest.

A rustic wooden staircase built into the earth awaits you, offering an easy ascent. After a few hundred feet on the staircase, you’ll encounter the first trail junction.

Head left to reach the lookout, located about a quarter of a mile uphill from this point. Alternatively, veering right will take you further into the forest, leading to two other points along the trail. For most visitors and novice hikers, we recommend sticking to the left trail, as it provides a quicker and more breathtaking route.

Seasoned hikers can explore the additional paths mentioned later.

sleeping bear dunes national lakeshore

Trail’s Peak

After a quarter-mile hike, you’ll arrive at the trail’s peak (watch your step—the ground transitions from dirt to sand, so consider wearing sandals!). At the lookout, prepare to be awestruck by the beauty that unfolds before your eyes.

The thick forest, adorned with early hues of brown and green, dramatically opens up to reveal the deep blue expanse of Lake Michigan and the celestial sky. The shoreline below seems distant, with birds and animals appearing as minuscule specks in the distance.

The Manitou Islands scattered across the horizon remain untouched by human hands, offering a glimpse into their natural state from centuries past. This trail and its remarkable scenery are truly unforgettable, leaving a lasting positive impression on all who visit.

Prepare to be changed by the sheer magnificence of Pyramid Point!

Pyramid Point Summit

Upon reaching the summit, you’ll have the option to turn right and head towards the larger sand dunes in the area. These paths can be more challenging, so exercise caution.

In addition to your safety, it is essential to preserve the beauty of the 373-foot-high dunes and prevent their collapse into the waters below. By staying on the designated paths, you play a vital role in conserving one of Michigan’s most awe-inspiring locations. So, dear hikers, please take care!

guide to empire michigan

First Trail Junction

The second path at the first trail junction connects to the southernmost point of the open dunes. From there, it loops around towards Basch Road and the entrance of Pyramid Point. When you head right at the first junction, you’ll encounter a lush forest extending for nearly a mile until reaching the second trail junction.

The beauty of the greenery is unparalleled, with the dense foliage often obscuring the sky. As you ascend the high hills, you’ll find yourself nearly a thousand feet above sea level at some points along these paths. It’s a sight to behold and an experience that transcends words.

These trails span approximately 2.6 miles before bringing you back to the entrance. Don’t be fooled—2.6 miles can be challenging, but the exhilaration of the journey is worth every step. You simply can’t afford to miss this incredible adventure.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a nature enthusiast seeking awe-inspiring views, don’t miss out on the incredible beauty that awaits you at Pyramid Point.

PRO-TIP: If you visit in the winter, stop by Visitors Center for trail maps for crosscountry skiing and ski trails. You can also visit year-round for information on more stunning nature walks though beechmaple forests, informatioon on where mountain bikes are allowed in the park and more.

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About the Author-

William Orr has been a native Michigander all his life. He was born in Plymouth, Michigan in 2002 and now attends college at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor studying English and Communications. William is currently a content writer for My Michigan Beach and in the future, he dreams of becoming a novelist. William’s interests include guitar, fitness, and writing.