Another beautiful sandy park along the shores of Lake Michigan. On a sunny day, this park would have appeared even more stunning. Unfortunately, this day the clouds dominated the sky and threatened drizzle all afternoon. Even so, the natural allure of this location is hard to deny.
Just a few miles south of Sheboygan, this park would be a constant summer weekend getaway for me if I were a local. Exploring the park, I was highly impressed with the sheer amount of open sandy beach space, perfect for an afternoon gathering.
Upon checking in for camping, I asked which trail we should hike first as the rain might only allow us to pick one. Without hesitation, I was told that the Dunes Cordwalk Trail was a must see for any first time visitor. Sold!
Length: 2 miles one way, it’s a linear trail so 4 miles if you plan to come back on it, which we did.
Difficulty: Moderate – sections of the trail are hilly thanks to the dunes, at a few points the cordwalk is unsteady and tips where the sand under it has washed or blown away, this requires a little agility and solid footing to navigate through
Pros: Unique – 2 miles of cordwalk (or boardwalk!) isn’t something you find at every park, the trail is along the lake the entire time, the trail passes by the nature center which is worth checking out
Cons: Low-lying areas seem prone to flooding which requires a little bit of off-roading, poison ivy along portions of the trail, too skinny to pass other hikes on, so there were times we had to wait for the hikers ahead of us to gain ground or for a group coming back to pass
If you plan to visit the park just to hike, this trail is easy to get to. The trail is capped at either end by parking lots and has a parking lot by the nature center in the middle of the trail. If you are camping in the park, expect more of a journey prior to reaching the trailhead. Connecting trails will only bring you so far from the campground. There was a bit of walking through parking lots or on the road to reach the trailhead.
The surface of the trail remains the same through the entire trail. A cordwalk!
A view looking away from the lake, hilly dunes covered in grass.
One of the few areas where the view of the lake was blocked. In this case, the view became a massive sand dune.
The cordwalk looks disconnected in this picture but it’s just going up hill and down hill, in and out of view.
Halfway through make sure to stop at the nature center. It showcases the local ecosystem and wildlife. With live animals and mounted animals, it’s a great stop for learning. A vantage point from the roof offers more views of the lake.
Shortly after this out luck ran out and it started to rain. We quickly made our way back to the campground.
Overall a great trail, one I would hike again if in the area. The park overall seems lively and well kept. On weekends, the park has free live music around a campfire. A great park to camp, hike, and swim!