Port Crescent State Park: Boardwalk and Dunes Nature Trail

Port Crescent State Park

Port Crescent State Park sits at the tip of Michigan’s Thumb along Lake Huron. It’s also off of the M-25 scenic byway. It offers many activities such as a modern campground, over 5 miles of hiking trails, a birds of prey observation platform and is designated a dark sky preserve. There are also 3 miles of shoreline that you can walk, along with a wooden boardwalk that meanders through the sandy dunes and offers up scenic views.

The park is actually on the site of a former ghost town. Port Crescent was once a bustling timber community, but as the timber became scarce due to fires or clear cutting the town soon declined. There’s a lot of great information for history buffs out there about its history. I’ll share some links at the end of this post.

Port Crescent Boardwalk and Dunes Nature Trail Hike

My miles: 1.2

Elevation Gain: 23 ft

From the day use parking area near the birds of prey and dark sky preserve areas, I went just beyond the pavilion to start walking along the boardwalk.

The sand has shifted and you’ll find some of the viewing platforms covered. There are several access areas to the shore and on an overcast Spring day, I pretty much had most of it to myself.

I followed the boardwalk until it met up with the hiking trails, doing a counter clockwise loop of the Dunes Nature Trail. However, you can access it from the parking area. For the most part, it is accessible, though I did find there were some unmarked trail connections that led off to the non-accessible areas – so it can be just a little confusing. Also the informative signs displayed about the environment were faded or parts were missing. In most cases though I was able to get the gist of the message and follow along.

After completing my short loop, I got back in my car and headed to the other side of the lot so I could check out the birds of prey observation platform.

This is definitely a place I would like to come back to for some summer stargazing and to stay at the campground. Beach front sites fill fast and seem to be better suited for pop ups or travel trailers, but as a tent camper, there are some nice sites along the old Pinnebog river channel that offer some tree cover and shade.

Have you made your way to Port Crescent? Drop a comment about your favorite part of the trails, campground or park.


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