Sleeping Bear Dunes - Platte Plains Trail
Ever so slowly I'm completing the trails of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The Platte Plains are an area of low dunes located south of Empire whose trails are renowned for their solitude in an otherwise busy lakeshore area. Indeed, on this hike my brother and I encountered not a single soul while away from the big lake, though I must admit it may have been due to the line of thunderstorms that was heading in about the time that we set out...
The hike encompassed what should have been a straight-forward loop amounting to a distance of 8-miles. What we found, however, was a somewhat confusing, poorly marked trail system that had us scratching our heads at numerous junctions. On top of all this the rain moved in shortly after we began, soaking us for the first few miles, after which swarms of man-eating mosquito's plagued us until we reached the bug-free sanctuary of the shore. The final leg of the hike made up for the first as the sun broke out and we were able to enjoy one of the finest beach walks in the northern lower peninsula. Between the bugs and the rain we made very good time, completing the eight miles in right around two and a half hours. By no means the most scenic or exciting trail I've been on it was no doubt a very different experience than some of the other trails I've been on at Sleeping Bear...all and all an enjoyable success...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 44.715204, -86.118846
Route Type: Loop
Mileage Hiked: 8.0 miles
Trailhead Temp: 88'F
Min. Elevation: 575'
Max Elevation: 690'
Trails Used (blaze color): Lasso Loop (blue), Railroad Grade (unblazed)