Running down a hill is half the fun of climbing it, and there's always a reward at the top. So go after it and finish it. Vacation memories are formed by sweeping vistas, epic Lake Michigan views, and even quiet contemplative moments.


1. Pyramid Point Trail-Sleeping Bear Dunes

Pyramid Point Trail-Sleeping Bear Dunes

Address: Basch Rd, Glen Arbor, MI, 49636

Phone: (231) 326-5134


Half a mile from the trailhead, the Pyramid Point Trail leads to a high, panoramic view of Lake Michigan. This is one of the best views of the waters of the Manitou Passage and the five-mile-offshore Manitou Islands. Return the way you came for a quick jaunt. Turn east from the dune overlook for a winding walk through meadows and hardwood forests for a longer hike with some extended uphill heart pumpers. To get to the trailhead, take M-22 to Port Oneida Road, which is located 3.7 miles north of Glen Arbor. Continue on Port Oneida Road until it meets Basch Road. To get to the trailhead, take Basch Road east. 


2. Sand Lakes Quiet Area

Sand Lakes Quiet Area

Address: Broomhead Rd., Williamsburg, MI, 49690


The Sand Lakes Quiet Area, five small lakes surrounded by rolling hills of oak and pine, is a short drive from Traverse City but a world away. This 2,800-acre parcel is located in the Pere Marquette State Forest and has six-mile loop trails.


3. Keystone Rapids & Boardman Pond

Keystone Rapids & Boardman Pond

Address: 2500-2668 Beitner Rd, Traverse City, MI, 49685


The trails at Keystone Rapids and Boardman Pond range from easy to difficult, with sections following the Boardman River through hardwood and evergreen forests.


4. Alligator Hill Trail-Sleeping Bear Dunes

Alligator Hill Trail-Sleeping Bear Dunes

Address: Stocking Rd, Empire, MI, 49630

Phone: (231) 326-5134


The Alligator Hill Trail consists of three 2.5 to 3 mile loops, as well as a 0.8 mile spur trail off the first loop. These hilly trails traverse a beech-maple forest, brushy fields, and a pine plantation. Along the first loop, there is a view of Lake Michigan, and at the end of the spur trail, there is a view of Glen Lake. Both views are obstructed by trees. This trail is open to horses. Turn onto Day Farm Road from M-109, 1 mile north of the Dune Climb, to reach the trailhead. Turn left at Stocking Road or take Stocking Road south from M-109 just east of D.H. Campground .


5. Hickory Hills

Hickory Hills

Address: 2000 Randolph St, Traverse City, MI, 49686

Phone: (231) 947-8566


Hickory Hills, operated by the City of Traverse City, is a great local ski area in the winter. The rest of the year, it provides hiking opportunities just a short distance from downtown, rewarding walkers with beautiful views of the surrounding area. A disc golf course is also located there.


Almost all the trails are accessible in the winter, but it’s always best to check ahead of time before heading out.