Huge sand dunes are devouring Silver Lake

Have you ever seen a sand dune eating a lake? Check out this Google Earth image to see the sand slowly encroaching into Silver Lake. It will take hundreds of more years before the lake completely disappears. In the meantime there are plenty of recreational opportunities to enjoy in the Lake Michigan shoreline spot.

Silver Lake is a town and lake about halfway between Muskegon and Manistee on Michigan's west side. One side of the sand dunes borders Lake Michigan. The prevailing westerly winds are slowly pushing the dunes into the smaller Silver Lake. The dunes are just over three miles long and offer a variety of motorized and foot powered activities. The northern portion of the state park is set aside for off-road vehicles. Seeing all manner of ORVs buzzing over the sand reminds one of a Mad Max movie. If you don't have your own vehicle they can be rented in town.

Sunset at Little Sable Point

Mac Woods Dune Rides offers a slower pace adventure on the southern side of the park. They are the only vendor allowed in that area, so their rides are quieter. Mac Woods offers their excursions in large, 20 passenger dune buggies that are piloted by seasoned drivers.

In between the two motorized areas are miles of trails for hikers. Sometimes the trails are nothing more than the previous hiker's footprints in the sand. But in the more forested areas there are discernible trails that lead to the big lake. A word of caution. It's about a three mile walk from the parking area to Lake Michigan, which means a six mile round trip. Hiking on sand can be strenuous and hot, especially on summer afternoons. Be sure to bring water and sunscreen.

South of the main state park compound is the Little Sable Point Lighthouse. The tower was built in 1874 and is over 100 feet tall. It is possible to climb to the top of the tower for a nominal fee between May and September. It's also a glorious spot from which to watch the sunset.

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