Arcadia Dunes: The C.S. Mott Nature Preserve

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  • AD_Woods_2012_Nate Richardson
  • AD_Nate Richardson
  • arcadiadunes_meadow
  • baldy
  • sig picture by Michael Jordan
  • North view from Old Baldy by Carl Freeman

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Preserve Activities

Before You Head Out

Please review the preserve rules and the hunting rules, which vary by preserve. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

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Protected, Owned and Managed by The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy

Arcadia Dunes, GTRLC’s largest preserve, includes over 15 miles of trail to explore the dunes, forests and many other landscapes encompassed in this beautiful preserve. Adjacent working farms have also been permanently protected which insure the longevity of this area’s rich agricultural heritage and add to the landscape tapestry. This incredibly diverse preserve provides a wide range of recreation opportunities and experiences from wandering to birding to mountain biking.

The Dryhill Trails are multi-use trails and widely known as fantastic hiking, trail running and mountain biking experiences. The Camp Trail is another multi-use trail built on relatively flat ground making it a wonderful hike and beginner mountain bike ride. Pete’s Woods is a wonderful little hike with an unparalleled wildflower display in the spring. The Baldy Trails wander through beautiful forests and include breathtaking views of Lake Michigan from dunes high above the water. The Spring Woodland Wild Flowers Guide & Dune Wildflowers Guide will help you identify what you see along the trail.

Arcadia Dunes is also an amazing northern Michigan birding experience and is part of the Sleeping Bear Birding Trail. To learn more about birding at Arcadia Dunes read the Sleeping Bear Birding Trail’s  great birding site descriptions.

One of Arcadia Dune’s birding sites is the Dryhill Grassland. This piece of the preserve is being managed into a grassland habitat which is a rare, beautiful and important Michigan landscape. Grasslands are immensely diverse and beautiful ecosystems and have nearly disappeared in a few short decades. Check out the Grassland Birds of Arcadia Dunes Guide to learn which birds make the the Grassland their home. Experiencing the unique wide-open beauty of this landscape is worth the trip whether you are a birder or not. Read more about the Dryhill Grassland project.

Also please note some areas of the preserve have recently cut trees. These are part of the Forestry Plan which can be learned about in more detail by reading the Arcadia Dunes Forestry Plan Summary.

Hunting is permitted at Arcadia Dunes. Please follow rules indicated on the Hunting Rules and Information Page and use the Hunting Map to help stay in appropriate areas.

3600. Benzie County, Manistee County.

Maps + Directions

Arcadia Dunes: Old Baldy Parking Area

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Arcadia Dunes: St Pierre Parking Area

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Arcadia Dunes: Grasslands Parking Area

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Arcadia Dunes: Pete's Woods Parking Area

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Mountain Biking is indicated where there are marked trails that are designed for and capable of handling bike traffic.
Birding can be done on all properties so we have added an icon to lands that are either exceptional for birding in uniqueness or diversity or are being specifically managed for bird habitat.
Fishing is indicated where it is a primary feature of the property.
Hiking is indicated where there are marked trails.
Hunting is indicated where it is legal to hunt however each preserve has specific stipulations which are specified for each preserve.
Kayaking/Canoeing is indicated on properties that either have a put-in on the land or have off-property public access proximal to the preserve. Some preserves are only accessible by boat.
Sanctuary properties have ecologically sensitive features and active use is discouraged.
Parking is indicated where there are designated areas for parking. Many lands do not have specific parking so please be safe and respectful of your parking choices when you visit a preserve w/o designated parking.
Skiing / Snowshoeing is indicated where back country (non groomed) skiing and snowshoeing is recommended and the road and/or parking lot is plowed.
Scenic Vistas are indicated where a grand view of the surrounding area is available.
Trail Running is indicated where there are marked trails that are capable of handling the rigors of trail running and are at least one mile in length.
Swimming is indicated where there is specific access to water and is swimming is a primary feature of the property.
Volunteers are needed at this preserve.