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Hiking Trails in Leelanau County

A visit to Leelanau Sands Casino & Lodge isn’t just about having fun on our gaming floor. Many of our guests love to get out and explore the surrounding area: some of the most secluded beaches, trails, and lookouts in Michigan.

During your stay in our lodge, you, too, can head out to these local trails for a taste of the beauty of northern Michigan.

Hiking Trails Near Leelanau Sands Casino

Since the Leelanau Peninsula is a year-round playground, we’ve included hiking trails and snowshoeing trails in our recommendations. All these trails can be enjoyed in the winter with x-c skis or snowshoes. If there’s more than 6 inches of snow on the ground, bring your snowshoes or cross-country skis. These trails range from a short 1-mile walk to 10 miles.

Always come prepared with food, water, and a smartphone in case you get lost. Some of these trails allow pets but always confirm before bringing them.

Leelanau State Park

You’ll find the trailhead at the end of Densmore Road. Use this map to figure out how you want to hike the trail. The beauty of this trail is that you can make it a quick walk to the shoreline, loop to the overlook platform, or extend your hike along the shores of Mud Lake. This is also a great winter hike or ski trail.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

There are too many trails on the National Lakeshore to list, so we’ll just include the ones on the north side of the park, which are closer to the casino & lodge:

  • Alligator Hill Trail
    • A series of loops lead to a dramatic lookout that overlooks Sleeping Bear Bay.
  • Bay View Trail
    • A short trail leads to a viewpoint that overlooks the historic Port Oneida district. After the hike, take the backroads to explore the old farmsteads and barns that still stand.
  • Pyramid Point Trail
    • A short hike that ends with sweeping views of Lake Michigan from high on a bluff.
  • Good Harbor Bay Trail
    • A meandering trail that winds through a wetland on the edge of Lake Michigan.

Leelanau Conservancy

The Leelanau Conservancy’s mission is to protect the farmland, wetlands, and forests that make this area so diverse and unique. Many of their protected properties are open to the public.

We encourage those staying at the casino to check out the following protected natural areas during their stay, which are a short drive from the casino:

  • Stites Natural Area
    • A short 0.7-mile out-and-back trail that’s walking distance from Suttons Bay. Perfect to walk off that late lunch.
  • Houdek Dunes Natural Area
    • A 3.3-mile trail that provides a great example of sand dunes in various stages of development. There’s also an observation platform.
  • Clay Cliffs Natural Area
    • Just south of Leland, this natural area provides stunning views of Lake Michigan from the steep, forested dunes that skirt the shoreline.

Relax at the Leelanau Sands!

After your hike, snowshoe, or ski, fuel up at Big Dex’s, grab a drink at the bar, and try your luck on our slot machines. If you’d like to spend a night just a short drive from all these natural wonders, give us a call at (800) 922-2946 to book a room in our lodge.



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