Explore the Arcadia Dunes Baldy Trail in Michigan’s C.S. Mott Nature Preserve
If there is any place in the beautiful state of Michigan that holds a space very dear to Jess and my heart… It would be the Arcadia Dunes Baldy Trail. I’ll tell you why, a bit later in this post. To start though, you can rest assured this amazing nature preserve holds it’s own simply based on it’s unique & delicate ecosystem, and it’s stunning natural beauty. Enjoy this gem, right on the M-22 corridor.
A real treasure of the Lake Michigan Coastline.
The Baldy Trail is located just North of Arcadia Michigan. And, is one of many separate trails in the C.S. Mott Nature Preserve. As you meander through the trails here, you will find an unbelievably diverse and unique ecosystem. After many explorations of this exceptional trail system – Jess and I fully understand why this land has been protected. The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy has taken the charge here. We fully applaud their efforts in keeping the special and unique areas surrounding the Sleeping Bear Dunes safe from development.
Enjoy some beautiful scenes along the Arcadia Dunes Baldy Trail!
What makes the Baldy Trail so special to us?
A beautiful soul introduced us to this particular spot. In 2013, Jessica’s grandmother sadly passed away after losing her second bout with cancer. Instead of a cemetery, this is where she wished to be her final resting place. Her children, grandchildren, and other loved ones were happy to grant her final wish. Shortly after her passing, those who were closest to Sandra made the trip to the Old Baldy Dune together. Thus ensuring that her spirit would forever roam through the wooded lake-shore of this incredible location.
We visit at least one time a year. If only, to be reminded of what a strong, beautiful, wonderful, and passionately caring woman she was.
What makes the Old Baldy Preserve special to the region?
Aside from being an amazingly beautiful landscape, there is good reason for the Grand Traverse Land Conservancy to have this region protected. Most notably, is the unique (and in some cases threatened) vegetation found in the dune area. For example, the Pitcher’s Thistle, is protected due to endangerment by both the state and federal government. Some of the flora found at Old Baldy, is not found anywhere else in the world, but in the dune areas here in the Great Lakes Basin. You’ll also find beautiful Wood Lillies, Windflowers, Hairy Puccoons, and Harebells dotted throughout the landscape on Old Baldy.
Take a look at some of the beautiful and unique flora found throughout these trails.
About the trail throughout the forested areas of the preserve.
While on the forested trails in the Old Baldy Trail, you’ll enjoy a variety of different trees as you pass underneath the forest canopy. The woods are classified as a northern hardwood (mature mesic) forest. Here you will find an abundance of Sugar Maple and American Beech. There is also a smattering of the less dominant White Ash, Basswood, Hemlock, Black Cherry, Red Oak, and Ironwood.
In our years hiking here, we have found that portions of the older parts of this forest, are starting to give way to the younger trees. Especially on our last visit, we noticed quite a few more of the older giants that had recently fallen back to the earth than we had in the past. While it is sad, in a way, these older trees now get to provide nourishment to the younger trees that will rise up in their place.
There is so much more to see than Old Baldy!
Definitely check out the newly added Overlook Trail!
One of the newer features in this preserve, is the newer “Back-dune Forest Boardwalk”. It is what we would call an interpretive trail. As you meander through the mesic northern forest, you’ll be able to learn more about this unique habitat by stopping and reading the signage installed at intervals throughout the trail. This was made fully open last year, we believe. At least, that is when we first discovered it. One of the biggest perks to this new trail is that it is designed to accommodate universal access. This is awesome, as we believe that everyone should be able to enjoy nature as often as possible.
Enjoy the varied views along the new trail.
We hope you enjoyed this Old Baldy virtual tour!
The Sleeping Bear Dunes/Grand Traverse area is full of amazing beauty. To us, this trail and nature preserve is one of the hidden gems in the area. Nowhere near as popular as the actual Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, nor the Pierce Stocking Scenic drive. And, while we’d like to keep this trail to ourselves, we don’t mind sharing the information with fellow nature lovers like ourselves.
The next time you head up to this area, you really should check out this amazing nature preserve!
We hope you enjoyed your virtual tour of the Old Baldy Trail. Feel free to follow the link below to see other artwork we have for sale from the Arcadia area. And, after that, is a link to the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy’s website. If you’d like to learn more about the great things they are doing for the region, definitely check them out.
Nothing in the world is more exciting to a photographer than, the perfect light at the perfect moment. However, if this convergence of events happened all the time, perfect light might become imperfect, and the amazing could become mundane.
Since the perfect scene is dictated by nature... a travel photographer must make the best use of the opportunity at hand. Attempting to make the mundane, extraordinary with creativity and a variety of techniques. This pretty much sums up my experience with nature and scenic photography. Which forces me to do my best to make the most of the opportunities at hand... regardless of what mother nature has planned. I look forward to sharing our adventures in Michigan, and showing off the beauty of our mitten-shaped corner of the world. While also sharing some of my knowledge of photography, which might be helpful in your adventures.