Arcadia MI Inspiration Point M-22 Overlook

Arcadia Michigan – Inspiration Point M-22 Scenic Overlook

Since Jess and I are often exploring along the M-22 corridor… We’d like to share with you, one of our favorite spots on the Lake Michigan coast to enjoy a sunset, Arcadia’s Inspiration Point. If you’re already exploring the beauty along M-22, this breathtaking spot is easily accessible for anyone and everyone to enjoy. It’s just North of Arcadia and is easily found heading North or South on M-22. After a day of hiking, this is often our last stop before heading back to Arcadia to recharge for the next day of exploring.

A bit of Arcadia Overlook background information…

Sitting atop Lake Michigan, Inspiration Point (also known as the Arcadia Overlook) rises to an elevation of 800 feet. This is the highest point along Lake Michigan. Prior to the current platform being built, this was a popular point for (mostly) local folks to climb the top of the dune and enjoy the view. Nowadays, you’ll find a parking area, a lower platform, and 210 stairs to the top viewing platform. Once you reach the top, you’ll find a telescope affixed to the platform if you’d like to take a closer look at the lake, surrounding wildlife, or perhaps one of the lakers chugging along the horizon.

Arcadia's Inspiration Point Viewing Platform & Telescope
The popular Inspiration Point viewing platform overlooking Lake Michigan.

If you’re a bit more adventurous, there is also a trail along the cliff beyond the viewing platform. In order to access this, you’ll have to hop (or climb through) the fence to enjoy the views there. Just be cautious as it does follow the edge of the cliff’s drop off.

While sunsets are spectacular, this is a good place to enjoy a morning too!

The Arcadia Inspiration Point view looking South from the viewing platform.
Morning light spills out from the Valley where Arcadia Michigan is located.
Morning light overlooking Arcadia from Inspiration Point
A look at M-22 winding back inland from the Inspiration Point viewing platform.
The moon and sky over Lake Michigan in Arcadia
Looking out over Lake Michigan during a peaceful morning at Arcadia’s Inspiration Point.

The Arcadia Overlook Inspiration Point is famous for being a prime spot to watch the sun set over Lake Michigan. You’ll also sometimes find amazing light to enjoy during the morning’s sunrise. One morning a few years ago, Jess and I first went to the Arcadia Marsh to capture the sunrise. After the sun had crested the horizon, we decided to check out Inspiration Point. Glad we did! What we witnessed was such a peaceful and serene moment in time. We really enjoyed the sunlight beaming from behind the dune “across the street”, and illuminating the valley where the Arcadia itself is nestled. It made for such a beautiful scene.

Sunsets are why most people stop here to enjoy the view.

As peaceful as a morning overlooking Lake Michigan can be, the real excitement begins when the Golden Hour for the day sets in. Sunset time at Inspiration Point is well worth the proverbial “price of admission” here. Especially when the weather decides to put on a show like the one we witnessed below! Here’s what Jess had to say about this scene which, was following an amazing hike at one of our favorite trails near Arcadia (Old Baldy Trail)…

In Jessica’s words…

By the time we got back to the car, we could see the colors in the clouds already fading away from the forest canopy, and we figured the the sunset had been a dud and/or missed. But, we decided to check it out anyhow, due to the fact that Inspiration Point was just .5 miles ahead of us (driving wise.)

Boy, are we both glad we did! As soon as we pulled in, we saw an amazing sunset brewing. Not only that, but we had a roll cloud for a cold front, right in front of us! So, we rushed out of the car, with cameras in tow (I even left my phone in the car lol) and grabbed all kinds of photos.

When the cold front part of the roll cloud reached us, we experienced something amazing. Remember, we’re still about 400 feet up a cliff from Lake Michigan at this point. (Maybe only 300 but still, we’re up there.) So we were a lot closer to the clouds than usual. Well, when this roll cloud and cold front reached us, the winds blew up the side of the cliff at us with speeds of at least 40mph. (I literally felt like it was going to blow me backwards on my bum.) Not only that, but during the two minutes of intense winds, the temperature dropped at least 30 degrees.

After those two minutes of amazement and intense winds passed us by, the winds calmed down, and the temperature evened out to be about a 8-10 degree cool down from what it was before the cold front blew by us. Even still, the sunset was simply to die for.”

Here’s the photos… They barely do the scene and experience we witnessed justice!

A roll cloud at sunset over Lake Michigan from Arcadia's Inspiration Point
A roll cloud, a sunset, and Lake Michigan. All in all one of the most amazingly complete scenes we’ve ever witnessed!
A view South from Arcadia's Inspiration Point at Sunset
After the roll cloud had passed, I hoofed it up to the top to capture this scene. We were almost going to leave… So glad we did not!

We truly hope you enjoyed this Arcadia’s Inspiration Point “spotlight”!

Happy Shooting,


Learn more about the Arcadia area.

More Arcadia area info from Michigan Photography:

Arcadia Dunes Baldy Trail Photo Guide

Arcadia area photos for sale:

Roll Cloud Over Lake Michigan Near Arcadia

Inspiration Point Arcadia Michigan Sunset

Looking Above – Arcadia, Michigan

Lake Michigan, Arcadia, Michigan – Beach Sunset

Lake Michigan Sunset in Arcadia

Baldy Trailhead in Arcadia Dunes – A Moment of Peace


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.

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