Ludington Michigan-Working Page, started 8/31/2020, Will Be Finished Soon as we are traveling!
Be sure to click this Ludington Google Map so you have a real time map as you drive!
8800 W. M-116, Ludington, MI 49431
Ludington State Park has over 18 miles of well marked hiking trails.
Coast Guard Trail
1.5 miles long, 1 hour walking time -- This trail winds through the wooded dunes from the Lake Michigan beach to the Beechwood Campground and links all three campgrounds together. On your hike, you'll see the historic site of one of the earliest life-saving stations on Lake Michigan. Also featured are marshes, wildlife living in and near them, and acres of forest blown down due to storms.
3 miles long, 2 hours walking time -- The Lighthouse Trail winds over and through open and wooded sand dunes. At one end is the Beechwood Campground and at the other end is the Big Sable Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse is open daily May through October for visitors to tour and climb the tower. The trail's natural features are the drastically different environments found within the sand dunes, which give you a sense of being small among the rolling dunes. The Lighthouse Road, which travels from the main entrance parking lot up to Big Sable Point Lighthouse, is a 1.8 mile trek through hard packed sand and occasional gravel. At a good pace, you can walk it in 40 minutes, and there are benches along the way.
3 miles long, 2.5 hours walking time -- The Logging Trail meanders through the wooded sand dune valleys, giving you plenty of shade on a hot summer day. This historic trail loops around, beginning and ending at the north end of the Pines Campground. The trail continues through a deciduous forest that has replaced the white pine forest, cut down over 150 years ago. The two trail shelters were built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corp Camp that was located where the Hamlin Beach is today. In the winter, this trail is a popular groomed cross country ski trail.
Ridge Trail and Island Trail
4 miles, 3 hours walking time -- The Ridge Trail and Island Trail make an ideal hiking loop for a diverse view of nature. The Ridge Trail begins off the paved walkway, just east of the Park Office. The Island Trail begins at the Hamlin Lake boat rental area. Both trails come together to complete a loop about two miles out. The Ridge Trail follows the top of a tall wooded sand dune, stretching for miles. Vistas are numerous and inspiring. The Island Trail follows the beautiful sandy shoreline of Hamlin Lake. All kinds of aquatic creatures and birds are seen along this shoreline. Take a picnic, because there is a lovely historic shelter overlooking the vast open sand dunes and Hamlin Lake.
Sable River Trail
1 mile, 30 minutes walking time -- The Sable River Trail has been improved over the last few years to accommodate people in wheelchairs who wish to access the Hamlin Dam and Big Sable River. This is a relaxing walk on the dam and along the river boardwalks and paved pathway. Interpretive panels along the walk point out important historic sites and changes over the last 200 years. Fishing is very good near the dam and on the river, especially when the fall salmon run begins. In the winter, the river and dam area comes alive with migratory waterfowl and playful river otters. If you're lucky, you may see a Bald Eagle swoop down to pluck a fish from the river.
Lost Lake Trail
1.5 miles, 1 hour walking time -- The Lost Lake Trail circles a little watery cove off Hamlin Lake. The trail loops around, beginning and ending near the Hamlin Lake Beach House. The east side of this trail shares itself with the Island Trail and snakes through a series of small islands connected by foot bridges. The north end of the trail winds through a wooded sand dune ridge overlooking a picturesque Lost Lake. The east side of the trail follows the shoreline, exposing the natural animals and plants living near the shore. An extensive boardwalk extends over the lake near the Beechwood Campground, giving hikers a unique feeling of being out on the water. Deer, muskrats, river otters, large waterfowl, turtles and song birds populate this area and are easily viewed.
boardwalks along Lost Lake. If you are not camping you can park at the Hamlin Lake day use area.
.5 mile, 30 minutes walking time -- The Skyline Trail runs along a tall sand dune ridge, on the south side of the river between the footbridge and Hamlin Dam. The trail begins at the west end of the parking lot and exits onto the Sable River Trail. This trail is completely elevated, made even higher by an extensive wooden boardwalk system. Several vistas let you look out over miles of sand dunes and Lake Michigan. On a clear day, you can see 20 miles to the Silver Lake State Park Sand Dunes. On the back side is an area where you can leave the boardwalk and run up and down the steep slope of this sand dune.
South End Ski Trails
6 miles, 3 hours walking time -- The Ski Trails of the south end of the park are actually three looped trails tied together. The South End Ski Trails start from the west stairway of the Skyline Trail. The trails weave through the sand dune valleys of thick jack pines and wetlands. The protection from the blistering winter winds in these valleys provides a perfect venue for cross country skiers. In the summertime, extreme dry, hot temperatures require hikers to take plenty of water and sun block. Wildlife thrives in these valleys, using the wetlands and shrubby pines for shelter and food.
2-4 hours, depending on skill level -- The Canoe Pathway begins and ends at the Hamlin Lake Watercraft Rental/Dune Grass Concessions area near the swimming beach. From there, you cross the river and head into Hamlin Lake. As you travel close to the south shore, you'll enjoy a variety of landscapes, from swampy area filled with reeds and cattails, to the "Carp Ponds", named for the many carp that spawn there in the spring. Within the marshlands along the trail is an excellent habitat for duck, geese, herons and others. Near the beginning of the trail you'll encounter two large, sandy hills, known as Desperation Point. Local sailors gave it this name because of the unpredictable shifting winds found there. The trail is not demanding for a canoeist with minimal experience, but care should be taken to avoid various submerged tree stumps. Ask about guided canoe trips, where a Michigan DNR interpretive specialist explains the flora, fauna, and history of the area.
Here is a PDF of the Canoe Trail. This canoe or kayak route is about 4 miles long and follows the shore of beautiful Hamlin Lake and then heads through a couple inland marshes after short portages.It took us a little under 2 hours to complete. I would plan on at least a couple hours for this trip.. If you do not have your own kayak or canoe there is rental concession in the pavilion at the beach that has them starting at $10 per hour.
If you are looking to stretch your legs after paddling the start of the Island Trail is just North of the take out at the beach. Combining the Island and Lost Lake Trails makes a nice loop that is just under 2 miles around the shore of Lost Lake. To access this hike follow the trail at the North end of the beach about 0.1 miles into the woods along the lake. Then watch for the boardwalk on the right heading out to the islands. The trails are all well marked with maps at each intersection.
Grab your walking shoes because you will need to walk there! Nestled among jack pines, just a quick two mile walk along a breathtaking trail, stands Big Sable’s striking black and white tower. At over one hundred feet tall, this historic beacon is a huge attraction for everyone visiting Ludington State Park.
The Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association maintains the Big Sable Point Lighthouse, north of Ludington State Park. The lighthouse is open for tours daily 10am-5pm from May 7 to October 28, 2018. You can climb to the top, or visit the gift shop, located in the originial Keeper's Quarters. Lighthouse in the Dunes Field Trips are available by registering in advance with Alan Wernette, State Park Naturalist, at (231) 843-9261. Or you can e-mail Alan at Wernettea@michigan.gov.
There is a $5 donation fee to climb the lighthouse tower; $2 for children 12 & under. On selected Saturdays through the summer, buses transport visitors from the park rangers house located just inside Ludington State Park to the lighthouse and back for an additional transportation fee. Buses are available from 12pm to 5pm on those days; the round-trip fee is $5 for adults and $2 for children 12 & under. Due to weather conditions and staffing, it may be wise to call ahead at (231) 845-7417, or visit www.splka.org for more information.
We decided to walk the about 2 mile walk despite cold and rainy weather of the very end of October. Though it was colder, the path had great views and we explored an area where there was a shipwreck (sadly the water was too high this year to be able to see the shipwreck) and the pathway is very nice and easy to walk. Once you get to the lighthouse there is lots of area to roam and a cute gift shop inside. Then you can pay $5 to climb up. It was worth the $5 for the view. All the staff were very kind and accommodating. We chose, due to the weather getting worse, to pay the $3 one way to ride the bus back and it was so worth it. We will absolutely be back to visit again!
Stearns Outer Drive, Ludington, MI 49431
Stearns Beach is beautiful! Nice powdery sand and clear blue water. Beside the beach there is a pier that goes to the lighthouse. The beach also has a nice playground for children to play. A very nice place to visit!
Stearns Park lies at the end of Ludington Avenue on Lake Michigan. It has a very, very large groomed beach and a breakwall leading to the lighthouse. In the summer, you can climb to the top of the lighthouse. The park has a lovely picnic area under large, stately trees. There are tracks laid to the water so those in wheel chairs, walker users, or stroller users can easily access the water. The sunsets are absolutely breathtaking.The sky turns every color you can imagine, pink, purple, blue, butter milk, flame red and more. Clean, white sand beach, playground for the kids, bathrooms and concession stand. Free parking! Walking distance to hotels and downtown shopping!
Sterns Park is also home to the Ludington Skate Park
Park at Stearns Park to walk out to the North Breakwater Light
See the Badger come into port at the end of the day. Amazing sunset views.
217 South Lakeshore Drive, Ludington, MI 49431
402 W Ludington Ave, Ludington, MI 49431
50's style diner with homemade Ice Cream
225 S James St, Ludington, MI 49431
Slow-smoked barbecue plates with homestyle sides doled out in airy, industrial digs with a hip vibe.
701 Maritime Dr, Ludington, MI 49431
2688 W Conrad Rd, Ludington, MI 49431-9314
Amber Elk Ranch is located 7 miles east (about 10 minutes) of Stearns Park or downtown Ludington. Petting zoo, wagon tours, gift shop, Saturday BBQ
Monday - Friday: 11am - 6pm
Saturday: 11am - 7pm, BBQ 1pm - 7pm
Sunday: 1pm - 6pm
Called the "Project" by locals, the plant can be reached by driving south on Lakeshore Drive, off Old US-31. Visitors can climb to the observation deck, which overlooks the plant's 842-acre reservoir. The view is incredible from the top, with Stearns Beach and the Ludington North Breakwater Light clearly visible in the distance. The observation deck is open Memorial Day-Labor Day.
1687 S Lakeshore Dr, Ludington, MI 49431
A replica 19th century pioneer style village with an original courthouse on a 23-acre site.
S. Lakeshore Drive
Historical Landmark, hilltop monument. Commanding monument on the hills above the Pere Marquette Lake dedicated to a Jesuit missionary.