Our Review of Dry Hill Trail in Arcadia Dunes which is part of the C.S. Mott Nature Preserve http://www.gtrlc.org/preserve/arcadia-dunes/ located in Benzie County & Manistee County in Northern Michigan.
It’s still in the Lower Peninsula, more in the pinky area of the mitten.
We are always on the lookout for new treks to take when we go up to our camper every other weekend. We do a little research before we go and always try to find something a little different than we have done before. The trail we found this time, was a true Gem in the heart of the dunes.
We parked at the St. Pierre Trailhead off of Scenic M22. At first we were a little cautious about taking this trail because it is also open to mountain biking and for us hikers, that usually means a lot of traffic on the trail. We decided to check out the trailhead parking lot to see how many bike racks there were before we made our decision. Boy am I glad we did. There were only a few cars with even fewer racks. So it was on for a nice 10 mile hike on a beautiful, sunny, upper 60’s afternoon.
Each mile of the 10 mile trail is posted with a mile marker and the trail is signed with a maroon trail mark very frequently. The beginning of the trail starts off in a scrub meadow. The trail is a single file trail and is a bit sandy at first, but winds it’s way into the hardwood forest within the first 1/2 mile. We were so lucky to have taken this trail when we did (Memorial weekend 2013), because the floor of the woods was a virtual sea of wild flowers. Mainly, the beautiful, delicate and protected Trillium.
The hike winds itself back and forth following the lay of the land passing through naive Michigan hardwood forests, pine forests and a few scrub meadows here and there. . There are many switchbacks and lots of hill climbs. Not super strenuous, but if you’re hiking, best advice is to be in decent shape, carry water and a few snacks.
Not only did we see Trillium, but we found numerous Piture Plants (which are rare in these parts), wild Geranium, Asparagus and not to mention the wild wisenheimers that hiked with us 🙂
At about the 1/2 way point we found a nice spot to perch on for a lunch break.
I, personally was just amazed at the amount of Trillium on the forest floor. I have never seen it like that before in my life! I was so glad that we got the opportunity to see such a rare sight. Trillium here in Michigan, don’t last very long and it looked like these had just peaked and were on their way out very soon.
Between mile 5 & 6, you cross a dirt road and continue on through the woods. After mile 6, the floor of the trail looked like it had snowed. The petals from the Dogwood trees were covering the ground. Then about mile 7 the Cottonwoods had covered the trail. It was really a great visual experience for me. So much so, that I forgot to take pictures.
The last mile or so of the trail was back through the meadows. The trails were very nicely marked with rock cairns with the trail color on top. We love rock cairns as much as the next person, but these kind of made us laugh a little because the trail was completely obvious. Although, now that I think about it, maybe not so obvious in the winter.
After our hike, we promised the boys we would stop at House of Flavors for a treat. It’s a historic dairy in Ludington and Manistee Michigan that still today, makes their own ice cream. And let me tell you, it is some good stuff!! I RARELY eat ice cream, but when I do it’s either homemade or House of Flavors!! Yum Yum!
In turn, the boys had to give us one. Although they enjoyed themselves as well. We drove out to Lake Michigan for another incredible, Michigan sunset.
And of course in true P90X Geek style, I had to crane pose at sunset!