High Lake Levels Cause Problems at Sleeping Bear Dunes

Park rangers are warning visitors to use extra caution at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

High lake levels are making beaches almost non-existent in places. 

With summer right around the corner, the Sleeping Bear Dunes is expecting thousands of visitors.

But the near record high water levels on Lake Michigan are shortening the beaches on the lakeshore to the point where there is little to no beach at some of the popular dune climbing areas, like the overlook at Pierce Stocking Drive.

Visitors are still more than welcome to climb in those areas, but the park says hikers need to be ready for the hazards it could bring.

“Just keep in mind what your own capabilities are. If it looks like it would be really difficult to climb through that tree or climb up that cliff, don’t do it. Just settle for a little bit shorter trip on the beach. Go find that wide spot, and there’s a few still here and there, and those are the spots where you’ll probably want to hang out,” said Tom Ulrich, deputy superintendent at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The park is telling visitors that the 400-foot hike down the dune at the Lake Michigan overlook is not a great idea this year.