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Hike Whitefish Dunes State Park

Whitefish Dunes State Park, established in 1967, encompasses the northern shoreline on an area of 867-acre of Whitefish Bay between Cave Point County Park and the small community of Whitefish Bay. A large portion of the park is dedicated to preserving its signature sand dunes and beech forest. It preserves the most substantial sand dunes on the western shore of Lake Michigan. The state park is typically considered a beach destination; however, it includes a number of notable hiking trails which are less congested than popular trails on the Green Bay side of Door County. The Lake side of the county is considered "The quiet side of the Door."

Trails of whitefish dunes:

Whitefish Dunes State Park has a long track of 14.5 miles of hiking trails. When there's snow, the Red, Green and Yellow trails are groomed and can be used for diagonal skiing.

The Red Trail: it has a track of 2.8 miles and known to be longest one. It begins behind the nature center near the main parking lot. It heads south through a pine and beech forest which has taken root on the older dunes set off from the current shoreline. The red trail continues to wind along the shore ascending in elevation between surprisingly large dunes which are fully covered in thick vegetation and support a thriving forest. The trail reaches the third beach access which is also designated as a pet beach. A short distance after reaching the pet beach the Red Trail veers off to the west - climbing further into the highest collection of dunes.

The Green trail: it has track of 1.8 miles. It travels along a forested old dune, through a lowland area which supports the growth of white pine and hemlock trees and back through a beech-maple forest.

The Yellow trail: it has a track of 4.2 miles. It branches off the Green trail at its farthest point. From the dune area, the Yellow trail goes through a cool, quiet, red pine plantation and then back through a wooded dune area.

From Old Baldy back to the nature center the Red Trail becomes more of a narrow nature walk designated for walkers and joggers. This quieter inland portion of the trail meanders through the pristine ecosystem supported by the dunes. Song birds are plentiful and other wildlife such as deer and porcupine make this part of the the park home.

Whitefish Dunes is also steeped in history. The area has been excavated and it has been revealed that the park has been occupied by eight communities separated by time between 100 BCE up to the late 19th century. The North Bay People, Heins Creek People, Lake Woodland People, The Oneota People, and a 19th century maritime trading village all once laid claim to these dunes.

 


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