New Section of Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail Opens to Public
This June, the newest segment of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, which runs through Port Oneida to Bohemian Road in Maple City, opens to the public. The 3.6-mile addition will bring the total trail length to 17 miles.
The new section includes 1.8 miles of crushed aggregate in Port Oneida, 1.8 miles of asphalt and a 500-foot boardwalk along Narada Lake. The lake is located about 5 miles north of Glen Arbor and is visible from M-22. However, it’s currently only accessible by a narrow trail through a tunnel of trees. The new section of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail will provide a safe access point to the lake and the historic North Unity School.
Once the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is completed, it will run for 27 miles from Good Harbor Beach at County Road 651 in Cedar to Manning Road just south of Empire.
Each year, the number of people using the trail grows. Last year about 60,000 people were counted, according to Kerry Kelly, Chairman of the Board for the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Their surveys show that 85-90 percent of trail users are families.
The 10-foot wide trail is handicap accessible and is designed for walkers, runners, skiers, bicyclists, wheelchairs and strollers. Some stretches do have steep grades, but are noted on trail-head signs and marked with warning signs on the trail. This interactive trail map shows trail conditions, pictures and even upcoming events allowing visitors to choose their route ahead of time. Viewers can also see where hills are located and plan to avoid them if necessary.
In addition, the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, the group that manages and operates the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, is currently working on adding benches, bike racks and picnic tables at various places along the trail to make it even more user friendly.
- Stop at road crossings
- Ride single file when other users are present
- Wear a helmet when skating or riding
- Stay to the right and alert others by saying “on your left” when passing
- Do not block the trail – move to the side when stopped
- Keep pets on a leash
Since the trail is located in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, users will need a park entrance pass. An annual pass costs $30 per vehicle and a seven-day pass costs $15.