Whitefish Dunes, SNA #175 (117/675)

Whitefish Dunes features the largest landscape of sand dunes along the Great Lakes.  Found within Whitefish Dunes State Park, both active and stabilized dunes are home to various stages of succession with those dunes further from the lake being more wooded and stabilized.  Parking is available near the park office.  From there, we walked north along the road to the Brachiopod trail and headed southwest into the natural area.

The initial portions of the trail are heavily wooded.  These forests, however, are on top of old, stabilized sand dunes, though it is difficult to see this if you weren’t aware.  Shortly thereafter, the trail becomes the Yellow and Green trails and the terrain opens up with a cordwalk leading through the sand to protect it.  Shorter profile plants dominate here including juniper shrubs and starry false solomon’s seal.  We then took the Green trail as he spurred off to the south and then the Red trail to the southwest which took us past ‘Old Baldy’, the tallest dune in the park as it rises 93′ about lake level.  An observation tower provides views of the surrounding dunescape.  We then continued back to the northeast along the Red trail before moving to the beach and walking back to the parking area along the lake.  Florally, this was not the most interesting site as you might expect due to the ‘soil’.  Yet, it was still a very interesting place to walk through, a natural community that is not very common in Wisconsin.

More of my photos (and full-res) from Whitefish Dunes can be viewed here.

Additional Information

SNA # 175
County Door
Natural Communities / Geology  Sand Dunes, Northern Mesic Forest, Sedge Meadow, Lake
Size (Acres) 255
Parking Parking Lot (gravel)
Trails Yes
Easy to Find Yes
Best Seen By Foot
Marked Boundaries No
Ownership Wisconsin DNR
Located Within Whitefish Dunes State Park
Dates Visited 5.23.10

Door
Door County
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