Ludington State Park – Camping, Hiking and Biking

Ludington State Park – September 13-15, 2013


This fall we went back to Ludington State Park for our second annual camping trip with my brothers, sister and their families. We had such a great time last year, everyone was on board this year. It was just a quick weekend visit. We went up after work on Friday and headed back home right after breakfast on Sunday because it was starting to rain.


We stayed in campsites 248 and 249 in the Beechwood campground. They are big sites that are off from the main loop on the drive that goes back to the mini cabin. When we pulled in Friday night there was fawn standing right in the back of our site to welcome us. It’s mom was also there standing back in the trees watching. The deer here are very tame and we saw a few each night.


Right away in the morning it was time to work on the new Rainbow Looms and play trains.

Biking to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse:


After breakfast we rode bikes out to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse. The sandy road to the lighthouse starts in the Pines Campground between sites 58 and 59. It is about 1.5 miles out to Big Sable Point.


The famous stump by the lighthouse.


We decided to pay the $2 and climb up to the top of the tower. Before heading up, a volunteer does a short presentation about the history of the lighthouse. Reesey was picked to help with the part about the original fresnel lens used in the light.


Looking out the porthole window on the way up.


The view of Lake Michigan looking north from the top.


The tower is 112 feet tall and the breeze was still a little cool up here.


om climbed the lighthouse with the girls last time we were here, so this time it was my turn while she stayed back and played in the sand with Reid. She is the black speck sitting by the breakwall to the right of the shadow.


The view looking back to the south.


Climbing back down the 130 steps.


Back on the ground.


Reid showing the girls what he found while we were up in the tower.


Before biking back we walked on the beach around the front of the lighthouse.


Shortly after we got back to the campsite my sister and brother-in-law showed up with their 3 boys. With new twins they decided to come up just for the day this year.


Reid was happy to have someone to play trains with.


The little boys had a tasty lunch of Cheerios, milk and pretzels. The rest of us had a big sandwich buffet.

Hiking the Lost Lake and Island Trail Loop:


After our lunch settled, we all set off to hike the Lost Lake and Island Trail loop. We started by heading north on the boardwalks along Lost Lake.


Checking out the big blow down along the shore.


Rounding the north end of Lost Lake the trail climbs up above the water on a dune.



Not the position that you want to see along the trail. Lucky for us it was a false alarm.


About 0.2 mile after the junction with the Island Trail you cross a bridge over to the chain of islands that separates Lost Lake from Hamlin Lake. A couple divers were walking back under the bridge as we crossed.


Out on the islands.


I didn’t get many photos from the island section of the hike because I had someone riding up on my shoulders for most of it.

View Lost Lake and Island Trail Loop 9/14/2013 in a larger map

The track from our hike in Google Maps.

The loop around Lost Lake is about 2 miles. Starting from our campsite it was 2.3 miles total and it took our crew about 1 hour and 20 minutes to complete.

Click here for the Ludington State Park Trail Map >>


In the afternoon Mom went out for a ride on her new toy.


After dinner we walked over to the Hamlin Dam. The salmon and steelhead were just starting to run.


After watching the fishermen, my brothers and I climbed up the dune on the other side of the Sable River for a view of the south end of the State Park.


After climbing the dune we went back down and started following along the shore of Hamlin Lake. Last year when we paddled the canoe trail we saw a couple sitting high up on the dunes above Hamlin Lake, so we set out to try and find the spot. After crossing a sandy area, we found a fairly well traveled trail heading up along the dune ridge.


In about 0.5 miles we found the top of the dune overlooking Hamlin Lake. This trail is unmarked and not shown on the trail map, however on the top of the dune there is a bench that looks like it was placed by the State Park.


The trail continued on past the bench, but we decided in was time turn around and head back. We will have to explore in further the next time we are up here.


Rain was on the way in the morning so it was a good excuse to head into town for breakfast at the House of Flavors.

After breakfast we packed things up and headed for home. With a relatively short drive home we had planned to spend at least part of the day doing some more hiking before we left. Unfortunately the rain cut our last camping trip of 2013 just a little short. We hoped to camp one more time in October, but the weather didn’t cooperate for this either. We are already looking forward to 2014.



Our Favorites:

Best Hikes with Children in Michigan

With 3 small children this has become one of our favorite hiking guides. This is really a good book for anyone looking to get out and find short, but interesting hikes all over the state. Like all of the books written by Mr. DuFresne there are well written trail descriptions and nice maps of each outing.

Find the Best Hikes with Children in Michigan on Amazon >>

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