Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive at Sleeping Bear Dunes - Map, Hours, Directions, Overlooks | Hiking Trails, Covered Bridge, Things To Do in Northwest Michigan

Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in Sleeping Bear Dunes | By Sherry Trautman | Traveling Michigan | Updated August 28, 2023

Prepare to be wowed! This incredible 7.4 mile drive loops through scenic Beech-Maple forest and towering sand dunes. You will see breathtaking overlooks of Lake Michigan, Glen Lake, and crown jewel of Michigan: Sleeping Bear Dunes.

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  • There are no restaurants or places to purchase food along the drive so be prepared. Bring lunches, water, snacks. 
Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive - Sleeping Bear Dunes, MichiganPierce Stocking Scenic Drive - Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan

Prepare to Be WOWED!


Pierce Stocking Drive Address

The address for Pierce Stocking Drive is simply Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, Empire, Michigan 49630

Pierce Stocking Drive Directions:

  • From Empire, take M-22 north for 2 miles to M-109, then left on M-109 for 2 miles.
  • From Traverse City, take 72 west to M-22 north.  Turn left on M-109 for 2 miles and the entrance is on your left.

Interactive Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive Map

Here is a map of Pierce Stocking Drive. 

Use the Pierce Stocking Google Maps version so it is live while you drive.

Helpful Map Tips:

  • Click on the plus and minus in the left corner to zoom in or out of the map.
  • Click on the icons for more info, addresses and photos of the stops.
  • Click on the map to drag and move it to view surrounding areas.
  • In the Header, click on the rectangle in the upper left of the map to see a menu of all of our stops. Click on anything that looks interesting to see where it is on the map. To hide the menu, click the rectangle in the header. 
  • In the Header, click on the "square" icon in the upper right side to expand the map for better viewing. 

Pierce Stocking Drive Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to pay to get into Sleeping Bear Dunes?

Pierce Stocking Drive Cost: There is a $25 fee at the entrance of the Sleeping Bear Dunes scenic drive that is good for 7 days.  You can pay by credit card or cash when you enter the drive.

You will need to keep your receipt and display it on your windshield while visiting the entire Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (including the Dune Climb).

Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Biking the Sleeping Bear Dunes Scenic Drive: The NPS recommends considering your abilities prior to biking this Sleeping Bear scenic drive as it is very hilly and bikes are hard to see due to the curving nature of the road.

How do you spend a day at Sleeping Bear Dunes? Grab Our Ultimate Sleeping Bear Dunes Guide!

Is Sleeping Bear Dunes worth it? Holy moly, yes! See below!

Are There Bathrooms Along the Drive? Yes! The picnic areas have bathrooms (right before the Dunes Scenic Overlook) and there is a bathroom at the Sleeping Bear Dunes Scenic Overlook. 

Can You Go Down Sleeping Bear Dunes?

Yes, absolutely!  HOWEVER: It's very steep and may take 2 hours to climb back up so make sure you can do it before you run down the dunes!  If you are unable to come back up and a rescue is necessary, the fee is at least $200! 

Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive Overlooks and Things To Do

Pierce Stocking Scenic DrivePierce Stocking Scenic Drive - Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan

There are 12 Pierce Stocking Drive stops along the route but I'm covering the Top 4 with the most wow factor! 

1. Pierce Stocking Covered Bridge

Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive - Sleeping Bear Dunes, MichiganPierce Stocking Scenic Drive - Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan

Within a 1/2 mile of entering the Sleeping Bear Scenic Drive, is one of my favorite parts of the whole drive!  You get to drive through this incredible covered bridge!

2. Dunes Scenic Overlook: Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

The Scenic Dunes Overlook is located on the north side of the drive with incredible views of Glen Lake!  This boardwalk overlook is only a few steps from your car and is just breathtaking.

This stop is on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive map above.

3. Cottonwood Trail: Pierce Stocking Drive

The Cottonwood trail takes you over several sand dunes with incredible views of Glen Lake. Be sure to wear a hat and sunscreen.  The sand can be very hot so we wore hiking boots.

This stop is on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive map above.

This is a view of Glen Lake from the Glen Lake Overlook stop on the Scenic Drive. If you look closely, you can see M-22 separate Big and Little Glen Lake. 

If you haven’t had enough of the dunes, check out the Dune Climb located on state route M-109.  The address is: 6900 South Dune Highway, Empire, MI.

4. Sleeping Bear Dunes Scenic Overlook

The Sleeping Bear Dunes Scenic Overlook is one heck of an incredible view of Lake Michigan!  You can climb down the dunes all the way to Lake Michigan's shoreline but keep in mind it's a TON of work getting back up. 

Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is also incredible in the fall as the leaves enhances the views and the crowds are less. 

The observation deck at the Lake Michigan Overlook is about 450 feet above the lake level and is one of my favorite overlooks.  The view is breathtaking!

As you can see, the angle to the lake is very steep. You can descend down the bluff to the lake, but it is VERY difficult going back up.  We only recommend this if you are very physically fit because if you can't make it back up, the cost for the park to bring you up is exorbitant. 

Climbing also causes erosion of the bluff face. 

There are porta-johns at this stop.

Grab Our Super Popular Sleeping Bear Dunes Guide and Campgrounds Guide!

You will definitely need our Ultimate Guide to Sleeping Bear Dunes since you are visiting Pierce Stocking Drive!

Camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes? 

Grab our list of the Best Sleeping Bear Dunes Campgrounds that's jam packed with information for tent camping, RVing and Backcountry camping. 

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About the Lead Author | Sherry Trautman

Thanks for stopping by!

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We're Sherry and Chris the founders of one of Michigan's most comprehensive and Top Travel Blogs!

    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "Travel-mi.com." A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

    In 2018, Sherry, alongside her husband Chris, embarked on a passionate endeavor with the inception of Travel-MI.com. This venture was not just a business but a full-time commitment to exploring and celebrating the diverse landscapes and communities of Michigan. Together, they tirelessly traverse the state, curating unique experiences, capturing stunning visuals, and weaving engaging narratives that showcase Michigan's rich cultural tapestry and natural beauty. From her early experiences in different Michigander locales to her extensive professional background, Sherry's life and work epitomize a deep-rooted expertise in Michigan travel, making her an authoritative voice in this niche.

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