Project Description

Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

Open on Saturdays and Sundays Only

The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is a 7.4 mile driving loop located 17 miles from Sleeping Bear Resort. It takes just over a 20 minute drive from the resort. There are several places to stop your car and walk to lookout points. We never get tired of this scenic drive and it’s easy to see why it’s one of our Top Things To Do at Sleeping Bear Dunes. When you reach the summit, we don’t recommend walking down the high bluff unless you are in excellent physical health as the hike back up is extremely difficult. Plus it takes longer than you think! In normal years you can hike down to Lake Michigan and hike south along the shoreline to North Bar Lake or Empire. Not in 2019 as Lake Michigan water levels are very high and the beach along that stretch is non-existent.

About half way up the scenic ridve you’ll see the Cottonwood Trail. It’s near just past the picnic area. There’s a designated parking lot for the trail. The Cottonwood Trail takes a little over an hour round trip and would be considered easy to moderate. There’s a really good lookout over the Dune Climb and to the north over the Historic Farm District.

The road was named after a lumberman who built the road back in the early 1960’s. Pierce Stocking loved the outdoors and hiking along the bluffs of Lake Michigan. He was known for building roads through difficult terrain. He finished the road in 1967 and it was known as the Sleeping Bear Dunes Park. Stocking continued to maintain the road until his death in 1976. In 1977 it became part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.