The Pathway to Good Harbor

The Pathway to Good Harbor, or Segment 9, of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, will extend north from Bohemian Road (CR 669) to Good Harbor Trail (CR 651). This nearly 5-mile section will highlight the best this region has to offer – the natural beauty and rich culture of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The trail will span from the Lakeshore’s iconic shoreline to a popular trailhead, telling the history of the land while winding through conifer forests and wetlands, along golden meadows, alongside rolling dunes, and by the historic Bufka family farmstead.


The trail will feature both a paved trail and approximately 1,800’ of boardwalk, all separated from the roadway. The trail will be 10’ wide, with roughly two feet of soft shoulder on either side. There will be retaining wall sections along the trail, totaling just over 1000’. The design of the trail promotes safe access for all ages and abilities to explore the unique history, culture, flora, and fauna of the Lakeshore and surrounding communities.


  1. Complete the northern end of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail
  2. Increase accessibility of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore 
  3. Showcase natural resources while providing a gateway for environmental stewardship


Conceptual Design | 2008 – 2010
Preliminary Design | 2018 – 2019
Design & Engineering | 2022 – 2024
Construction | 2025 – 2026

Status: Design & Engineering Phase

Michigan Department of Transportation has contracted OHM Advisors to lead engineering of the Pathway to Good Harbor. Currently the trail is roughly 70% engineered. 

Trail within National Park Service boundaries allow for a meandering trail that will provide for the best trail-user experience to encourage non-motorized, multi-modal transportation through the Lakeshore. Well planned and engineered trails provide access for families, bicyclists, walkers, and people in wheelchairs. This section allows access to another group of visitors to get out of their cars and experience the area in a safe way.

Final approval and decision making authority comes from the Leelanau County Road Commission, MDOT, and NPS, in their respective jurisdictions.

Preliminary Design Summary

Preliminary design was led by OHM in 2018 and was unanimously approved by both Centerville and Cleveland Townships (2019) and the Leelanau County Road Commission. Design work identified trail alignments within the parameters of the Environmental Impact Study done by the National Park Services.

Design was informed by years of public outreach efforts, on-the-ground physical conditions, engineering analysis, and a study group with representatives from Cleveland Township, Centerville Township, Leelanau County Road Commission, MDOT, NPS, TART Trails, Friends of Sleeping Bear, and the Little Traverse Lake Association, facilitated by Networks Northwest.

Planning Documents

Cleveland Township Public Information Meeting 2019
Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route Trailway Plan – Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)
Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route Trailway Plan Environmental Assessment 2008
Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route Trailway Plan Environmental Assessment 2009

Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route Trailway Plan/EA

2023 Fall Funders Report

We are pleased to share the Fall 2023 Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail Funders Report. Thanks to generous support from individuals donors and foundations, we are on track to reach major milestones in the coming year and complete the northernmost section of the Heritage Trail.

Help Construct the Pathway to Good Harbor