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Shark Enterprises
Joan H. Young
861 W. US 10
Scottville, MI 49454
jhyshark@gmail.com
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this page updated 8/5/19

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Stories containing:
wilderness
Nordhouse Dunes
Manistee National Forest

at Nordhouse Dunes

Nordhouse Dunes

Nordhouse Dunes


Nordhouse Dunes is a National Wilderness Area within the Manistee National Forest. Although only 3450 acres, it is a unique ecosystem, and is one of only two designated Wildernesses in the Lower Peninsula. The trails are minimally signed, in keeping with the ambience of wilderness. With the
Lake Michigan Recreation Area to the North and the Ludington State Park to the south, a long beach hike is a possibility. It gets a lot of use, some say too much- due to the fragile nature of the vegetation on sandy soil. There are about 20 miles of foot trails. Lots of shoreline with no sight of man-made structures.

The trails marked in magenta and yellow on the map are approximate- copied from the Manistee National Forest Map.


Lake Michigan Trail


The trails in Nordhouse Dunes have recently been named. I have changed this website to reflect the new names. This route begins where the Nordhouse Dunes Trail approaches Lake Michigan, runs north, then skirts the back side of the foredune, and then follows a contour of the foredune north, with views of Lake Michigan, to the Lake Michigan Recreation Area. Description is from south to north.

Where the Nordhouse Dunes Trail empties out into open sand, look for a trail which parallels the shore but is within the wooded edge. This is not signed, and it's unclear whether the official Lake Michigan Trail here is in the woods, or through the open sand at the base of the dune on the lake side. Nevertheless, continue north, keeping the lake on your left and you'll be fine.

0.5 miles- At a break in the dune, reach the junction with Dunes Edge Trail. There is a sign for Dunes Edge, which cuts back to the southeast. Just inside the dune ridge is a level area with good campsites. Continue north, at the top of the narrow bluff above the lake and west of the level area. This trail is narrow and hilly with a lot of loose sand.

0.9 miles- Reach junction with Algoma Ridge Trail, which angles back to the southeast.

1.0 miles- Descend and reach a broad valley which continues through a narrow opening to Lake Michigan. There are several well-used campsites here. In very wet times there may be a small creek flowing in the valley, but doubtful in summer. Also pass a Michigan Benchmark survey marker TT63 Tex 1930. The Middle Trail angles off here to the northeast.

Continue past the narrow opening to the beach. The trail continues north along the bluff edge, now more level than it has been to this point. There are more white birch and cottonwood on the lake side. The topography on the inland side now rolls gently away more or less on the level of the trail. The trail continues on this contour. Pass two humps with a volunteer trail to the top. These steep side trails are badly eroded and it would be much better for the stability of the soil if people avoided climbing them. The views aren't really better up there due to trees. You could alternatively have gone down to the beach and walked the water's edge to the north, and another volunteer trail has been made at the base of the bluff at beach level but away from the water. In any case, go north. Climb gently to moderately with views of the lake through hemlock and white cedar on your left and a hemlock/ beech/ maple valley to your right. At the third hump with a trail climbing it you are nearly to the junction with the Arrowhead Trail in the Lake Michigan Recreation Area. Please continue to the actual junction- it's only a few more steps- rather than scrambling up and damaging this sidehill.

1.8 miles - Reach the actual junction with the Arrowhead Trail which climbs up the hill back and to your right which is described in the Lake Michigan Recreation Area page. Then pass the sign indicating the border of the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness. The trail continues to the Lake Michigan Recreation Area. You have now technically left Nordhouse, but the trail description continues to the parking area. The trail continues on the level at the top of the lake bluff.

2.0 miles- Pass a set of steps leading to the beach. Rolling trail through open sand, and pass broad steps ascending to the right marked as north angle of the Arrowhead Trail. Continue straight and descend.

2.1 miles- Reach the Lake Michigan Recreation Area south parking lot and camping loops.

Access-   parking for a number of cars at the end of dirt Nurnberg Road, and then follow the Nordhouse Dunes Trail, or enter from the north at the south side of the Lake Michigan Recreation Area
Restrictions-   no vehicles, no wheeled conveyances of any kind, no horses, no bikes, pets must be leashed; campsites must be more than 400 feet from Lake Michigan waterline and more than 200 feet from the Nordhouse Lake waterline. Campsites must be more than 400 feet from roads at Wilderness boundaries, no beach fires. Do not remove any woody material from sandy areas (driftwood, shipwreck timbers, etc). All National Forest regulations apply. Nordhouse is a Recreation Fee Site, which means you need a sticker to park there (self-pay tubes are available for daily passes, yearly passes may be purchased at a Ranger Station). Current fee schedule
Distance and time-   about 2.1 miles, 1 hours
Trail Markers-  minimal signs at some trail junctions
Treadway-   along the shoreline single-track trail on sandy forest soil with some areas of loose sand; or you can walk along the beach itself
Grades-   level to gradual to moderately steep
Ecosystem-   xeric mixed deciduous forest with some conifers- white pine, cedar, hemlock. Open dunes near the beach, Lake Michigan Shoreline, high forested dunes above the beach
Other points of interest-   Ludington State Park to the south; Lake Michigan Recreation Area to the north
Most recent date this info personally checked on foot-   July 2019
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Nippising Trail

The trails in Nordhouse Dunes have recently been named. I have changed this website to reflect the new names. This trail follows the ridge of an inner dune from the Nurnberg Road parking area to the Arrowhead Trail in the Lake Michigan Recreation Area. It is a single-track trail; this is one of the least road-like walks. It passes by Nordhouse Lake, and although there are no open dune views and is generally closed in by woods, I like the feel of the ridgetop. Description is from south to north.

Take the trail that leaves the north edge of the parking area behind the latrine. This quickly divides in two; take the right hand (eastern) trail. The left fork is the Algoma Ridge Trail. Immediately climb a moderately steep hill and descend into a dip across three broad water-bar type steps. Climb again to the top of the ridge, and you are looking steeply down to red pines on the right and less steeply into mixed woods on the left.

0.1 mile - Cross a trail that is dim coming from the left but more used as it descends off the ridge to the right. This is the connection with the Peters Grade. Continue to climb gently.

0.25 mile - You have now climbed to the top of the ridge, and will continue along its top with a certain amount of undulations for the remainder of this walk.

0.5 mile - You can see Nordhouse Lake through the trees on your right, and less than another 0.1 mile you reach the sandy beach of the lake which drops fairly steeply to your right to the water. The trail angles away from the lake and ascends gently, joining for a few yards with the Nordhouse Lake Trail.

0.6 mile - At the junction with the Nordhouse Lake Trail, take the right hand path, continuing along the lake but high above it. Pass the north end of the lake in another 0.1 mile.

1.25 miles - Cross another trail in a small dip which looks like a deer trail to the left, but has been clearly used by humans descending much too steeply to the right, causing erosion. Please refrain from scrambling up or down these side paths. Climb again, and soon you cross an open area near the top of this hill. There is a nice view of wooded hills off to the southeast.

1.5 miles - Cross another trail that descends to the right, again much too steep and badly eroded. Cross several more small open areas, but there are no views in the summer.

1.8 miles - The trail leaves the absolute top of the ridge and cuts around to the west side just below the ridgetop, then descend off the toe of this highest ridge to the top of the next level. You will soon see below and to the right a flat open area that is usually covered with water in the spring.

2.0 miles - Reach a definite trail crossing. The wide left turn is the Middle Trail. The right turn descends steeply to the Peters Grade and the outer bicycle loop of the Lake Michigan Recreation Area. Continue straight.

2.1 miles - Reach the sign marking the northern boundary of the Wilderness area; enter the Lake Michigan Recreation Area. You have now technically left Nordhouse, but the trail description continues to the Arrowhead Trail. Pass several more too-steep trails descending off the ridge to the right. Cross the brow of the hill above Porter Creek, descend a few broad steps, and turn right on the Lake Michigan Trail. Descend to the parking lot.

2.5 miles - Reach the Lake Michigan Recreation Area south parking lot and camping loops.

Access-   parking for a number of cars at the end of dirt Nurnberg Road, or enter from the north at the south side of the Lake Michigan Recreation Area
Fees-   Nordhouse Dunes requires a Recreation Fee sticker to park there (self-pay tubes are available for daily passes, yearly passes may be purchased at a Ranger Station). Current fee schedule
Restrictions-   no vehicles, no wheeled conveyances of any kind, no horses, no bikes, pets must be leashed; campsites must be more than 400 feet from Lake Michigan waterline and more than 200 feet from the Nordhouse Lake waterline. Campsites must be more than 400 feet from roads at Wilderness boundaries, no beach fires. Do not remove any woody material from sandy areas (driftwood, shipwreck timbers, etc)
Distance and time-   about 2.5 miles, 1.5 hours
Trail Markers-  minimal signs at trail junctions
Treadway-   single track pathway, natural surface, fairly stable footing
Grades-   moderate climbs and descents, undulations following ridgetop
Ecosystem-   forested ridge with xeric mixed trees- white pine, oak, maple
Other points of interest-   Ludington State Park to the south; Lake Michigan Recreation Area to the north
Most recent date this info personally checked on foot-   July 2019
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Algoma Ridge Trail


This trail had an extensive section which was closed and impassible since a large windstorm in 2008, but it has been rerouted to join the Lake Michigan Trail at the top of that ridge, and is now clearly signed. The trails in Nordhouse Dunes have recently been named. I have changed this website to reflect the new names. This trail makes an angle from the Nurnberg Road parking area northwest to the Lake Michigan Trail. The southern end is a partially grown in road that follows the inland side of the foredune, and then climbs to the top of the dune. Description is from south to north. You can make about a 2 hour loop on the Nippising Trail, the Middle Trail and this trail.

Take the trail that leaves the north edge of the parking area behind the latrine. This quickly divides in two; take the left hand (western) trail. The right fork is the Nipissing Trail. Climb a hill, and descend a across three broad pegged-in steps.

0.5 miles - Reach the junction where the Nordhouse Lake Trail leaves to the right (southeast). Continue straight on obvious old road at the base of the dune.

0.7 miles - Angle left up the side of the dune. The roadway continues at the base of the dune. This is the former route of this trail, but it leads to an area of tangled blowdown that was never cleared. There is a sign at this turn. From the top, views of Lake Michigan in the distance can be seen from the forested ridge, and although the trees have grown up considerably you can still see the valley to the right filled with the fallen trees.

1.7 miles - Reach the junction with the Lake Michigan Trail.

Access-   southern end leaves Nordhouse Dunes parking area. North end connects with the Lake Michigan Trail.
Fees-   Nordhouse Dunes requires a Recreation Fee sticker to park there (self-pay tubes are available for daily passes, yearly passes may be purchased at a Ranger Station). Current fee schedule
Restrictions-   no vehicles, no wheeled conveyances of any kind, no horses, no bikes, pets must be leashed; campsites must be more than 400 feet from Lake Michigan waterline and more than 200 feet from the Nordhouse Lake waterline. Campsites must be more than 400 feet from roads at Wilderness boundaries, no beach fires. Do not remove any woody material from sandy areas (driftwood, shipwreck timbers, etc)
Distance and time-   about 1.7 miles, 1 hour
Trail Markers-  minimal signs at trail junctions
Treadway-   single track pathway some on old grown in road, natural surface, stable footing
Grades-   flat and then climbing to the top of a dune ridge
Ecosystem-   forested with mixed trees- white pine, oak, maple; some wetland areas on the southern leg
Other points of interest-   Ludington State Park to the south; Lake Michigan Recreation Area to the north
Most recent date this info personally checked on foot-   July 2019
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Middle Trail

The trails in Nordhouse Dunes have recently been named. I have changed this website to reflect the new names. This trail makes an angle from the Nipissing Trail southwest to the Lake Michigan Trail. You can make about a 2 hour loop on the Nippising Trail, this trail and the Algoma Ridge Trail. Trail description is from east to west.

Leave the Nipissing Trail by a wider trail which angles southwest. (This point is about 0.1 mile south of the Nordhouse Dunes sign if you entered from the north.) It soon narrows to a single-track, and descends gently into a dip and then climbs gently again and begins a long gradual descent.

0.2 mile - Reach the bottom and make a short, gentle climb.

0.5 mile - The trail becomes wider and flatter and angles to the right, then passes through a section that is clearly under water in spring. soon you will see open sky through the trees. Pass a small wet meadow on your left.

0.7 mile - Reach the junction with the Lake Michigan Trail in a somewhat open area popular as campsites.

Access-   northest end of this trail connects with the Nipissing Trail. The soutwest end connects to the Lake Michigan Trail
Fees-   Nordhouse Dunes requires a Recreation Fee sticker to park there (self-pay tubes are available for daily passes, yearly passes may be purchased at a Ranger Station). Current fee schedule
Restrictions-   no vehicles, no wheeled conveyances of any kind, no horses, no bikes, pets must be leashed; campsites must be more than 400 feet from Lake Michigan waterline and more than 200 feet from the Nordhouse Lake waterline. Campsites must be more than 400 feet from roads at Wilderness boundaries, no beach fires. Do not remove any woody material from sandy areas (driftwood, shipwreck timbers, etc)
Distance and time-   about 0.7 miles, 30 minutes
Trail Markers-  minimal signage at junctions
Treadway-   single track pathway mostly on old railroad grade, natural surface, stable footing
Grades-   mostly flat with some gentle undulations
Ecosystem-   forested with mixed trees- white pine, oak, maple; some wetland areas on the northern end
Other points of interest-   Lake Michigan Recreation Area to the north
Most recent date this info personally checked on foot- July 2019
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Nordhouse Lake Trail


The trails in Nordhouse Dunes have recently been named. I have changed this website to reflect the new names. This trail makes an angle from Nurnberg Road on the southeast to the Algoma Ridge Trail to the northwest, and crossing the Nipissing Trail at Nordhouse Lake. Trail description is from south to north

Trail leaves Nurnburg Road about 0.25 miles east of the parking area. There is a trail sign. This is a former road that has been blocked off with posts. Walk north on the level.

0.4 miles - The road forks, but either fork is a possible trail. There is a more developed treadway on the left fork, however. Reach the end of the road and see ahead of you a grove of trees on a rise at the south end of Nordhouse Lake. Continue to that slight hill.

0.45 miles - At the slight hill, turn left to skirt the south shore of the lake. When the water is high there will be at least two log bridges (just dragged in place by hikers) to cross. In the spring, this whole area may be under water and impossible to hike.

0.5 miles - Reach the steep and narrow sandy beach on the west side of Nordhouse Lake. Turn away from the lake and join with the Nippising Trail for a few yards. At this point the Nippising Trail turns north, and this trail continues straight.

0.7 mile - Reach the junction with the Algoma Ridge Trail where this trail ends.

Access-   From Nurnberg Road at the south end. The north end connects to the Algoma Ridge Trail.
Fees-   Nordhouse Dunes requires a Recreation Fee sticker to park there (self-pay tubes are available for daily passes, yearly passes may be purchased at a Ranger Station). Current fee schedule
Restrictions-   no vehicles, no wheeled conveyances of any kind, no horses, no bikes, pets must be leashed; campsites must be more than 400 feet from Lake Michigan waterline and more than 200 feet from the Nordhouse Lake waterline. Campsites must be more than 400 feet from roads at Wilderness boundaries, no beach fires. Do not remove any woody material from sandy areas (driftwood, shipwreck timbers, etc)
Distance and time-   about 0.7 miles, 30 minutes
Trail Markers-  minimal signage at junctions
Treadway-   single track pathway partly on old road, some single track, natural surface, possibly not passable in spring
Grades-   mostly flat with some gentle undulations
Ecosystem-   forested with mixed trees, freshwater marsh, kettle lake edge
Other points of interest-   Lake Michigan Recreation Area to the north
Most recent date this info personally checked on foot-   July 2019
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Nordhouse Dunes Trail


The trails in Nordhouse Dunes have recently been named. I have changed this website to reflect the new names. This trail leaves the south end of the Nordhouse Dunes parking area and angles toward Lake Michigan along an old road on wide trail, and ends at the Lake Michigan beach after passing the junction to the Dunes Edge Trail and Lake Michigan Trail.

Leave the Nurnberg Road Trailhead by the southernmost trail behind a kiosk through mixed deciduous and pine forest. 0.125 mile- Reach a fork by a large white oak, take the left branch, trail is mostly level over gently rolling terrain. Stay on the wide path. 0.25 mile- begin to see more hemlocks in the woods. 0.375 mile- come over top of rise and there is a wetland (about 1 acre) below on the right. Standing water in spring, leatherleaf. 0.5 mile- begin climbing a gradual but significant hill in loose sand. Descend into a valley with hemlock and beech, and climb out gradually. 0.8 mile- pass a small wetland on your left, may be dry in summer; trail is mostly level winding between small rolling hills. 0.875 mile- Reach a fork and take the right branch. The left branch is a former path which now dead-ends in a wetland just on the other side of the small hill you see. Pass the wetland on the right fork. 1.0 mile- Reach the top of the ridge beyond the wetland and begin descending gradually

1.1 miles- Reach the junction with the Dunes Edge Trail which goes off to the right.

1.5 miles- Reach the Lake Michigan Trail, which is not marked, but goes off to the right parallel to the shore.

1.6 miles- Open dune and loose sand to the Lake Michigan shore.

Access-   east end of this trail leaves the Nurnburg Road parking area. The west end terminates at the Lake Michigan beach with a connection with the Lake Michigan Trail
Fees-   Nordhouse Dunes requires a Recreation Fee sticker to park there (self-pay tubes are available for daily passes, yearly passes may be purchased at a Ranger Station). Current fee schedule
Restrictions-   no vehicles, no wheeled conveyances of any kind, no horses, no bikes, pets must be leashed; campsites must be more than 400 feet from Lake Michigan waterline and more than 200 feet from the Nordhouse Lake waterline. Campsites must be more than 400 feet from roads at Wilderness boundaries, no beach fires. Do not remove any woody material from sandy areas (driftwood, shipwreck timbers, etc)
Distance and time-   about 1.6 miles, 1 hour
Trail Markers-  minimal at some trail junctions
Treadway-   old roadway, loose sand, unstable footing
Grades-   mostly flat with some gentle undulations
Ecosystem-   forested with open areas and wetlands ending at Lake Michigan beach
Other points of interest-   Lake Michigan Recreation Area to the north
Most recent date this info personally checked on foot- July 2019
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Dunes Edge Trail

The trails in Nordhouse Dunes have recently been named. I have changed this website to reflect the new names. This trail makes an angle from the Nordhouse Dunes Trail at the southeast, to the Lake Michigan Trail at the northwest. Description is from south to north.

Leave the Nordhouse Dunes Trail at the signpost on wide trail.

0.5 miles - Veer left at a clearing and pass through a break in the dune

0.6 miles - Cross the unmarked Lake Michigan Trail, and reach the Lake Michigan shore.

Access-   from the Nordhouse Dunes Trail and the west end terminates at the Lake Michigan beach with a connection with the Lake Michigan Trail
Fees-   Nordhouse Dunes requires a Recreation Fee sticker to park there (self-pay tubes are available for daily passes, yearly passes may be purchased at a Ranger Station). Current fee schedule
Restrictions-   no vehicles, no wheeled conveyances of any kind, no horses, no bikes, pets must be leashed; campsites must be more than 400 feet from Lake Michigan waterline and more than 200 feet from the Nordhouse Lake waterline. Campsites must be more than 400 feet from roads at Wilderness boundaries, no beach fires. Do not remove any woody material from sandy areas (driftwood, shipwreck timbers, etc)
Distance and time-   about 0.6 miles, 20 minutes
Trail Markers-  minimal at trail junctions
Treadway-   stable footing
Grades-   mostly flat with some gentle undulations
Ecosystem-   forested with open areas ending at Lake Michigan beach
Other points of interest-   Lake Michigan Recreation Area to the north
Most recent date this info personally checked on foot- July 2019
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R.J. Peters Grade


This is an unofficial trail. However, the northern end of this trail is named by its historic use as it leaves the Lake Michigan Recreation Area, and I have simply extended that name to include the entire route. It parallels the Nipissing Trail, but is located in the valley to the east of the ridge, and directly below it. You can make about a 2 hour loop by going north on the Nipissing Trail and returning south via this trail.

The description is from north to south, and actually begins in the Lake Michigan Recreation Area. In the Oak Campground Loop, find the Multi-Use Trail on the west edge of the loop at the base of the dune. There is an interpretive sign about the Peters Grade. The trail stretches straight south, looking very much like what it is... an old railroad grade.

0.14 mile- cross another trail which goes to the camping loop, and also winds along the base of the dune. There is a bench. Continue straight, and pass three steep, eroded trails coming down from the Nipissing Trail, all signed to not use them.

0.3 mile - The multi-use trail turns to the left to continue around the perimeter of the Lake Michigan Recreation Area. A 4x4 post marks this corner. Continue straight.

0.4 mile - Enter Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness. The rail grade continues straight across a wetland area. This may not be passable in wet times, but you can skirt it to the right by going slightly up the edge of the dune. There is a steep, rooty path climbing the dune up to the Nipissing Trail, which is signed. However, continue at the base of the ridge.

This trail has received much more use in recent years, and many of the steep side trails up the ridge have recovered from the damage of people scrambling up and down. The treadway may be obscured at times, but just follow the base of the ridge.

1.3 miles - You will be able to see Nordhouse Lake through the trees. Continue along the west shore of the lake, and the trail will no longer be on a flat grade, but higher up on the bank. Just keep the lake on your left and the hill on your right.

1.4 miles - Come to the beach where this trail more or less joins with the Nipissing Trail. From here southward, the Peters Grade Trail is more of a bushwhack than a trail, so you can leave here if you wish, or you can continue along the base of the ridge. The walking is not difficult. Continue around the lake at the base of the dune.

1.7 miles - Reach a large open field at the base of the dune. There is a steep trail going to the ridge, but there is a better choice just ahead. Continue across the field, less than 0.1 mile, and you will see an old road angling up the ridge. Use this to join the Nipissing Trail. Turn left.

2.0 miles - Reach the parking lot.

Access-   south end of this trail connects with the Nipissing Trail. The north end is accessed from the Multi-Use Trail of the Lake Michigan Recreation Area
Fees-   Nordhouse Dunes requires a Recreation Fee sticker to park there (self-pay tubes are available for daily passes, yearly passes may be purchased at a Ranger Station). Current fee schedule
Restrictions-   no vehicles, no wheeled conveyances of any kind, no horses, no bikes, pets must be leashed; campsites must be more than 400 feet from Lake Michigan waterline and more than 200 feet from the Nordhouse Lake waterline. Campsites must be more than 400 feet from roads at Wilderness boundaries, no beach fires. Do not remove any woody material from sandy areas (driftwood, shipwreck timbers, etc)
Distance and time-   about 2.0 miles, 1 hour
Trail Markers-  none
Treadway-   single track pathway mostly on old railroad grade, natural surface, stable footing
Grades-   mostly flat with some gentle undulations
Ecosystem-   forested with mixed trees- white pine, oak, maple; some wetland areas on the northern end, passes beside Nordhouse Lake.
Other points of interest-   Lake Michigan Recreation Area to the north
Most recent date this info personally checked on foot- July 2019
Back to map

Camping-
Dispersed camping is permitted with the following restrictions: campsites must be more than 400 feet from Lake Michigan waterline and more than 200 feet from the Nordhouse Lake waterline. Campsites must be more than 400 feet from roads at Wilderness boundaries, no beach fires.

There are unofficial campsites along Green Road, just outside the wilderness boundary. Green road is sand, very rough, but these sites are well-used by small RV's and trailers. No facilities of any kind.

Handicap Accessibility-  latrine is accessible but must be reached on natural surfaces. The interface with the cement slab is a bit rough.

Rest Rooms-   accessible latrine
Potable Water-   none

Access-   parking at the west end of dirt Nurnberg Rd.
Fees-   Nordhouse Dunes requires a Recreation Fee sticker to park there (self-pay tubes are available for daily passes, yearly passes may be purchased at a Ranger Station). Current fee schedule
Restrictions-   no vehicles, no wheeled conveyances of any kind, no horses, no bikes, pets must be leashed; campsites must be more than 400 feet from Lake Michigan waterline and more than 200 feet from the Nordhouse Lake waterline. Campsites must be more than 400 feet from roads at Wilderness boundaries, no beach fires. Do not remove any woody material from sandy areas (driftwood, shipwreck timbers, etc)
Seasonality-   wind off the lake can be brutal in winter, but the area is open
Ecosystem-   Lake Michigan shoreline, through perched dune wetlands, open sand blowouts, wooded dunes
Other points of interest-   Ludington State Park to the south; Lake Michigan Recreation Area to the north
most recent date this info personally checked- July 2019
Additional Facilities-   accessible latrine, bear-proof trash cans, one picnic table
Maintained by- Huron-Manistee National Forest , call 231-723-2211
More- In lieu of the Forest Service parking fee, Interagency passes are also accepted. Display on your dashboard when you park.

Huron-Manistee National Forest info on the dunes

Comment by liz, Aug 6, 2008. anyone that has hiked north out of the nurenburg parking lot on what you call the north angle trail must go do it again! the destruction from the june 08 storm will absolutly overwhelm you. an entire valley of trees has been wiped out. you have to climb to the ridge path to get through as the path at the foot of the dune is completely obliterated in a tangle of downed trees. when you get to the top of the ridge and look out over valley it is shocking to see that not one decent sized tree has been spared. Oh, just go see for yourself. All of you.

Comment by Stef, July 31, 2008. My husband & I just returned from a camping excursion at Nordhouse Dunes. According to the Ranger, a tornado passed through the area in June 2008. We had to take an alternate driving route to the wilderness area due to multiple road closures. The trail itself is in good condition, though there are several groups of trees that have fallen near the trail. The established campsites were easy to find and the beach was glorious.
Thank you very much for this informative site - we used your description of the "Beach Trail" to navigate to the beach and it was very accurate and easy to follow.
The Piping Plover interpretive sign is located near the rest rooms - the Nordhouse Dunes informational sign is now near the Beach Trail trailhead. I'm not sure whether these have been rearranged since you last visited... Thanks again!

Comment by Tim Hower, July 29, 2007. We hiked the entire loop July 21-22. We hiked from the south trail head to the north trail head along the ridge trail and then 3/4 of the way back down the beach trail to where we set camp and then hiked the rest of the way out the next day. The weather was beautiful but cold in the morning. There were a spattering of other hikers on the trail including a group from camp pretty lake. One of whom had to be taken out on a backboard by the coast guard after an accident while playing football on the beach.

Trail Condition Report, by Heather Boivin, August 14, 2006. My husband and I backpacked into the Nordhouse Dunes for the first time July 14-16, 2006. The trail was wide and very well maintained. For this we were grateful, as we hiked in at dusk. There are no trail markings because this is a designated wilderness area. We did use our GPS since we were unfamiliar with the area, and it did become dark before we could pitch our tent. You are free to pitch your tent along the dune ridge as long as you remain 400 feet off from Lake Michigan and 100 feet off the main trail. There are many nice camping spots where other backpackers have stayed previously. If you are looking for beauty and seclusion, you will certainly find it here.

Comment, April 28, 2004. Some land is private to the south, and not all state park

Trail Condition Report, by Marie, July 1, 2002. Just backpacked in this past weekend! The foot trail from Nurnberg Road to the beach front is in excellent condition. Some of the bigger hills are very loose, but all else is still pretty hard-packed from the spring moisture. Some grooming might be in order - overhanging branches get caught on the pack! - but overall looks good! We had an excellent trip.

Trail Condition Report, by Tim, July 30, 2007. We hiked the entire loop July 21-22. We hiked from the south trail head to the north trail head along the ridge trail and then 3/4 of the way back down the beach trail to where we set camp and then hiked the rest of the way out the next day. The weather was beautiful but cold in the morning. There were a spattering of other hikers on the trail including a group from camp pretty lake. One of whom had to be taken out on a backboard by the coast guard after an accident while playing football on the beach.

[Counties] Lake County Manistee County Mason County Oceana County

To reach the Nordhouse parking area you must find Nurnburg Road. This is a turn to the west off the "back way" from Manistee to Ludington/Scottville. From US 10-31 between Ludington and Scottville, turn north on Stiles Rd. This will make one jog to the east and back north and become Quarterline Rd. Nurnburg Rd. is 2 miles north of this jog. Turn west (left) and drive 6 miles to the end of this dirt road.

From Manistee, drive south out of town on Maple Street. This will make one jog to the west and back south and become Quarterline Rd. Nurnburg Rd. is 4.5 miles south of this jog

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Hiking Trails
Interpretive Trails
Accessible Trails
Small Boats
Camping
Horseback Riding
Bicycling
Swimming
Picnicking
Fishing
Skiing
Disc Golf
Snowshoeing
Exercise Trails
Scenic Views
Geocaching
Playgrounds
Historic Sites
Wildlife Watching


Bass Lake
Buttersville & Pere Marquette Shrine
Cartier Park
Copeyon Park
Custer Bridge
Ford Lake
Gun Lake
Hackert Lake
Hamlin Marsh
Hoags Lake
Indian Bridge
Kibby Creek
Lake Michigan Recreation Area
Long Lake
Long Skinny Park
Loomis Street Boat Ramp
Lower Branch Bridge
Ludington City Park
Ludington School Forest
Ludington State Park
Ludington Volksmarch
Ludington Waterfront Park
Ludington Waterfront Walkway
Maple Leaf & Logmark Access
Mason County Campground
Memorial Tree Park
Nordhouse Dunes
North Country Trail
Pere Marquette River Flats
St. Mary's Lake
Scottville
Scottville Riverside Park
South Bayou
Stearns Park
Summit Township Park
Sutton's Landing
Victory Township Park
Walhalla Bridge
West Shore Community College
Wilson Hill Park
US 31 Freeway Rest Area

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