The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Whaleback Natural Area

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and dynamic speaker. 

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has authored three books about these adventures. 

To learn more about her work, or to engage her as a speaker, go to

I moved to Traverse City three years ago to be near "my lake" (Lake Michigan) and, especially, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
While there are over a 100 miles of hiking trails within the National Lakeshore, there are many more miles of hiking in lands conserved by the Leelanau Conservancy and Grand Traverse Conservation District.
I am exploring all of these trails, trying to tick off new ones like in this previous post...(which is difficult, sometimes, because I am constantly drawn back to my favorites).

This month I vowed to hike Whaleback Natural Area just south of Leland. 
From out on the lake, this rise in the shoreline resembles a surfacing whale.

This trail is about 1.5 miles out-and-back with views of Lake Michigan along the way.

Lake Michigan with Pyramid Point in the distance

This trail passes through private land and runs adjacent to a vineyard before getting up into the wooded preserve.
There are wildflowers and patches of thimbleberry plants (surprise!). These plants are common in areas far north of here, but a patch persists this preserve.

Blazes mark the trail

Thimbleberry plants

Vineyard at beginning of trail

I continue to look for opportunities to contribute by doing trail clean-up and trail-blazing with the organizations overseeing conservation areas in the region.

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