The Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area is a place to get away from it all. The dunes area is small, about 3,500 acres, but unique. It is the only congressionally designated wilderness area located along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Michigan's lower peninsula. Most of the dunes are 3,500 to 4,000 years old and some stand about 140 feet high. Unlike other dune systems, the Nordhouse Dunes are interspersed with woody vegetation such as juniper, jack pine and hemlock. Small water holes and marshes decorate the area and dune grass covers many of the dunes. The beach is wide and sandy, excellent for solitary walks and sunset viewing.
The Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area is located 12 miles southwest of Manistee and can be accessed by Nurnberg Road or from its northern boundary from the Lake Michigan Recreation Area. The Wilderness Area is open year-round.
The trail system within the dunes is limited and minimally signed. The wilderness provides a unique recreation experience. Availability for solitude varies with the weather and the seasons.
There is no water system in the dunes. Drinking water must be carried in or purified. Parking facilities are located at Nurnberg Road and at the Lake Michigan Recreation Area. A Huron-Manistee National Forest vehicle pass is required at both sites. Contact the Ranger Station at 231-723-2211 for complete details and cost.