The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is certainly a must-do activity when visiting Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This 7.4 mile self-guided auto tour provides world-class vistas that will give you a feel for Michigan that you may have never thought possible! The Scenic Drive will definitely reinforce why Congress saw fit to designate this area as a National Lakeshore within our great National Park system.
There are twelve marked points of interest along the road with ample parking. Each of these points is unique and they provide good birding opportunities and access to Shauger Hill and Cottonwood Trails. One of the most spectacular views in the Lakeshore is at the Lake Michigan Overlook on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Take the short walk from the parking lot at # 9, 10. The observation deck at the Lake Michigan Overlook is about 450 feet above the lake level, and the angle to the lake is very steep. The dunes are perched on top of a moraine bluff made of a mixture of rocks and sand deposited by the glacier when it melted.
Directions: The Scenic Drive is located three miles north of Empire, MI on M-109. Take M-22 north from Empire for two miles until you reach M-109 on your left. Take a left and drive one mile to the entrance on your left. There is a Park entrance fee. Note that the drive is closed from November 14 until mid-April depending on weather and snow melt.