Leave the trailhead and walk east to wooded dunes covered with maple, oak, and beech trees. The path ascends the dunes and passes deep ravines that drop down on both sides of the trail. Take a breather at the top of the dunes, and enjoy the bird’s-eye view of Lake Michigan through the trees. Next, the trail descends to Painterville Creek and follows it northwest through bottomland forest. After 1.5 miles, you’ll climb out of the woods to grassy dunes overlooking the lake. From here, the path turns south for the return trip back to the trailhead. Pack a picnic and bring a swimsuit—the last mile of the hike travels a pristine beach on Lake Michigan’s southern shores.
Mapped by Ted Villaire