Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Empire Bluffs Trail

Are you heading north for the Fall color?  If you are headed to the Leelanau Peninsula, I have one more thing you can do to get out in the fresh air.

When I was visiting my friends in Alabama, we talked about northern Michigan a lot.  Melanie and Jon visit family up here every year and they were surprised that I had never been to the Empire Bluffs Trial.  They said that this view of Lake Michigan is their favorite and that a trip "up north" is not complete with out a morning hike out to the bluff (with coffee and muffins?).  Now that I've seen it, I'm sure that a lot of people feel the same way.

You can hike along the Empire Bluffs Trail and stop along the way at bench near the scenic overlook and take in the view (above) of the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes dropping into Lake Michigan.  I stopped here to preserve my ankle, but my husband ventured on and took these two incredible photos.
He wanted me to show you the boardwalk and bench options at the top of the Empire Bluffs Trail, which is 1.5 miles round trip.  The self-guided tour handout says that the lake to the right is called South Bar Lake and that it was once part of Lake Michigan!  Apparently long shore currents deposited a sand bar that eventually separated the water into two lakes.  I know that rivers change their course, but I had never imagined lakes being created from
a sandbar taking hold.

If you make it to this spot, 400 feet above Lake Michigan, breathe in and feel some camaraderie with everyone that holds this view dear.

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