Hiking through Sand at Warren Dunes State Park, Michigan

We thought our first day in Michigan was a bust. We woke up to pouring rain and what seemed like day 200 of spring allergies. My sinus headache had me wanting to spend the day in bed, but once the rain subsided, we all wanted to make the most of our stay and do a little exploring. So, I took a couple more allergy pills and away we went.

We headed about half an hour west of our campground to Warren Dunes State Park along Lake Michigan. I randomly came across this park while looking for wineries in the area and learned that it is one of the more popular state parks in Michigan and had fabulous reviews. Being only 30 minutes away, we knew we could not go wrong.

Even though we struggled to find a trail map or any information online or once we arrived at the park, we found a trailhead with a map (that had some very important information missing) and bundled up for a hike. Although the rain was past us, it was still very windy and only in the upper 40s. Thankfully, we still had some heavier clothes in the truck, especially for Bird.

We set off on the trail not really knowing what to expect. Although we were walking through a green and thick forest, the trail was sand…like several inches deep sand. It was an interesting juxtaposition that Will and I both continually commented on as it was a very unique experience. At several points on the trail, we could see huge sand dunes and catch glimpses of Lake Michigan.

The deep sandy trail certainly posed a challenge, but Daisy was in heaven. She pranced along the trail like a puppy. Unlike the rocky trails we are used to, this was soft and cool on her paws, and I think she would have gone miles further if possible.

About halfway through our hike, we finally found a map with the pertinent information we needed to fully understand where we were and where we needed to go. From there, we left the forest environment and were surrounded by dunes. While the dunes are challenging to climb up, they are incredibly fun to run down, and we had the best time letting ourselves go and just enjoying the moment.

We hiked a total of about 3 miles, and even though the trails were not very well marked, we thoroughly enjoyed the hike and the unique challenges it posed. I have never seen landscapes like the ones we encountered on this trail, and it was an amazing experience.

When we returned to the truck, Will stayed with Daisy while I took Bird down to the see the lake, as most of the beach did not allow dogs. Bird is enamored with the water, and while I had hoped she would be sidetracked by the rocks on the beach, she gathered a couple of rocks and made a beeline for the water. We observed the water from a distance then made our way back to the truck.

We rounded off our unexpected adventure with a quick stop at a winery and a distillery and still made it back to the camper in time for Bird’s nap. An unexpected win all around on a day we thought was a bust.

It is days like this that remind us that we can make the most of the weather, allergies, or whatever comes our way. This is the reason the truck is always stocked with extra clothes and gloves because we never know what surprises we may find if we are open to opportunities for adventure.

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