The Sleeping Bear Birding Trail covers all 123 miles of Michigan Highway M-22, a designated Michigan Heritage Route. The Trail largely frames a peninsula bordered by Lake Michigan to the west and Grand Traverse Bay to the east and is located in the northwest part of Michigan’s lower peninsula. This area is most commonly referred to as the Grand Traverse Region. The distinct change in seasons, diverse topography, many miles of shoreline and extensive public natural areas make the Trail a naturalist’s paradise.
The crown jewel of the region is the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore which boasts 71,000 acres of public land and is recognized as a Globally Significant Birding Area by the National Audubon Society. These combined features make The Region an exceptional birding opportunity with over 321 recorded species and significant public access.
The Region is also a significant tourist draw as several million people travel to the area each year for golf, restaurants, wine, fall color, and beaches. The Grand Traverse Region is served by the Cherry Capital Airport and three major airlines. The Region has earned a number of different accolades including:
The Most Beautiful Place in America: Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore – Good Morning America
Top 10 Summer Trips for 2012 – National Geographic
Top 5 Foodie Towns in America – Bon Appetit
Top 6 Golf Destinations in the Country – Golf Magazine
Top 10 Place to Enjoy Local Wines – USA Today
6 Best Cities for a Bike Vacation – Bicycling Magazine
Top 10 Foliage Destinations – TripAdvisor.com
Top 10 Beach Towns in America – AOL Travel News
Top 10 Best Winter Vacations – Livability