Reading Dave Dempsey’s recent post about the nearby wonder and beauty reminded me to take advantage of the wonderful hiking trails so close to where I live, to explore the corners of the scenic Leelanau Peninsula. There are quite a few hidden gems that don’t get the credit they deserve. So this past weekend, I went out to uncover a gem I hadn’t seen yet.
Right off of M-22 is one such unassuming trailhead, the Houdek Dunes Natural Area. It is set up as a series of loops. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure, where you can pick which way to go and how long your hike will be.
Whichever route you choose, you will be surrounded by snow, ice, and water. On occasion, you can see Lake Michigan peeking through the trees, and at the far end of the trail network is a quiet spot with a bench overlooking the serene Houdek Creek.
Thanks to The Leelanau Conservancy, this trail network is a well-maintained favorite in the area. You can visit their website to learn more about the history of the Houdek Dunes Natural Area and what to expect on your hike.
Stop by if you want a peaceful walk or a winter workout, but be sure to bring your snowshoes this time of year. Otherwise, you might sink knee-deep into the vast drifts of winter wonderland.