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My Top Ten Winter Photos of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan

Updated on December 18, 2017
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Chris enjoys photographing the places he visits. He shares these photos as travel articles and also mixes them with creative writing.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is located in Leelanau and Benzie Counties in Northwestern Michigan. As a resident of Leelanau County, I never tire of spending time hiking the dunes or enjoying the beaches. Here are some of my favorite photos. I hope you enjoy the tour.

North Manitou island From Sleeping Bear Dunes

North Manitou Island, part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, sits seven miles from shore in Lake Michigan.
North Manitou Island, part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, sits seven miles from shore in Lake Michigan. | Source

The Manitou Passage

The photo above shows the seven miles of open water between Sleeping Bear Dunes on Michigan's northwest shoreline as well as North and South Manitou Islands in Lake Michigan. The area between the islands and the mainland is known as the Manitou Passage. While there is plenty of deep water for the large Great Lakes freighters to navigate the passage, the shorelines of the islands and mainland are littered with great boulders which have caused many shipwrecks over the years.

One such wreck was known as the Rising Sun, which went down in 1917 just offshore from Pyramid Point which is part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Divers and snorkelers are able to explore sixteen of the wrecks, while there are 45 or more wrecks which have not yet been discovered. The deepest place in the passage is 335 feet or 102 meters. The average depth of Lake Michigan is 287 feet or 85 meters.

Shalda Creek on Her Way to Lake Michigan

Shalda Creek runs from nearby Little Traverse Lake, through three miles of cedar swamps and finally into Good Harbor Bay of Lake Michigan
Shalda Creek runs from nearby Little Traverse Lake, through three miles of cedar swamps and finally into Good Harbor Bay of Lake Michigan | Source

White-tailed Deer

white-tailed deer come out of the forest, onto the dunes to enjoy the sunshine and to eat the buds from low hanging branches of trees.
white-tailed deer come out of the forest, onto the dunes to enjoy the sunshine and to eat the buds from low hanging branches of trees. | Source

Sleeping Bear Dunes In Winter

Looking across Sleeping Bear Dunes, with dune grass showing through the snow and  North Manitou Island sitting seven miles off shore in Lake Michigan.
Looking across Sleeping Bear Dunes, with dune grass showing through the snow and North Manitou Island sitting seven miles off shore in Lake Michigan. | Source

The Ecological Importance of Dune Grass

Dune grass is important to Sleeping Bear sand dunes as it reduces wind erosion of the sand. In the winter, snowshoers and cross country skiers can travel across the dunes at will, but in the summer, it is best to stay on marked trails in order to preserve the dune grass.

Sleeping Bear Bay, Lake Michigan

Snow, ice, fresh water and sunshine.  This is a beautiful place to call home.
Snow, ice, fresh water and sunshine. This is a beautiful place to call home. | Source

The Beautiful and Graceful White-tailed Deer

A white-tailed deer forages on the tips of low hanging branches.
A white-tailed deer forages on the tips of low hanging branches. | Source

A Confluence of Water, Rock and Ice

I traversed a quarter mile of ice to get this photo of waves breaking against boulders in the shallows of Sleeping Bear Bay.
I traversed a quarter mile of ice to get this photo of waves breaking against boulders in the shallows of Sleeping Bear Bay. | Source

A Serene View of Grand Traverse Bay and Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan

This photo isn't actually taken from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, but is still at least in the same county.  This is looking across Grand Traverse Bay from the village of Omena in Leelanau County.  Old Mission Peninsula is in the distance.
This photo isn't actually taken from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, but is still at least in the same county. This is looking across Grand Traverse Bay from the village of Omena in Leelanau County. Old Mission Peninsula is in the distance. | Source

Snowy Owl

A pair of snowy owls landed in this tree as I was snowshoeing on the dunes.  The other flew about twenty feet over my head and, I could see her eyes looking down on me as she flew past.
A pair of snowy owls landed in this tree as I was snowshoeing on the dunes. The other flew about twenty feet over my head and, I could see her eyes looking down on me as she flew past. | Source

Snowy Owls

Snowy Owls, majestic, two foot tall creatures are normally found in the arctic tundra, but many are being seen farther south this winter. The reason, according to scientists, is that the main food source for snowy owls, lemmings, were plentiful last summer. This allowed the adult birds to raise more young, so they are spreading out in search of food. I was very happy to have gotten to watch these two birds for several minutes as they searched the dunes for unwary rabbits and mice.

The Sleeping Bear in Winter

This was taken looking across Sleeping Bear Bay toward Sleeping Bear Point.  The snow covered sand dunes catch the sunlight as it peaks through the clouds.
This was taken looking across Sleeping Bear Bay toward Sleeping Bear Point. The snow covered sand dunes catch the sunlight as it peaks through the clouds. | Source

Thanks for stopping by and looking through my favorite photos so far of the winter of 2013. I have another hub about Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan, and I hope you will visit it as well, if you have not done so already.

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