Meditative sights and sounds of the water

In Japan, there’s a concept called “forest bathing” where people spend time in the woods to improve their sense of well-being. In the Saugatuck-Douglas area, we take that concept one step farther, combining the tranquility of the woods with the meditative sights and sounds of the water.

The area is home to multiple hiking trails, all within close reach of civilization but miles away from your everyday cares. Whether you’re looking for spring wildflowers, seeking shade in summer, admiring the fall colors, or making tracks in the snow, it’s a great way to invigorate your senses and burn a few calories. So what’re you waiting for? Grab your water bottle, and let’s go.

The go-to resource for all things “hiking” is radarhill.club (named for the famous Mount Baldhead radar tower). Click on this link for a complete list of nearby hikes…each with a link to a description.


Saugatuck Dunes State Park

The most well-known (and well-used) hiking trails in the area are at Saugatuck Dunes State Park. Drive 6 miles from Forest Inn, and park in the lot at the trailhead. There is a state park entrance fee (but no charge for Michigan residents with a recreation pass on their plates.) From there, you can choose from 4 trails of varying lengths. You can do all 13 miles of trails, or just a portion. All of them meander through the wooded dunes and bring you to Lake Michigan. Regardless of the season, the scenery is stunning.

Crow’s Nest Trail

Closer to home (2 miles away), with free parking if you drive, is the Crow’s Nest trail. From Forest Inn, go left on Center to the stop sign. Make a left on Ferry, and go until it ends at the entrance to Ox Bow School of Art. You’ll see the sign for the trail, and where to park (or lock your bike to a tree). The trail makes a loop (around an hour’s walk), mostly following dune ridges; and taking you eventually to a high point with an inspiring vista of Lake Michigan and the channel. On the way back you will walk the ridge above the channel. Again, the sights are pretty amazing.


Mount Baldhead

Mount Baldhead steps/trail to Oval Beach: This one’s a workout – literally. Many people do it as their daily cardio workout. First, climb 300 steps (there are a few landings with benches along the way) to the summit where you’ll be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of the channel and downtown Saugatuck. If you’re up for it, continue down the sandy trail on the other side and keep going all the way to Oval Beach. Rewards: 1) Free entry to the beach because you’re on foot; and 2) You can get ice cream at the concession stand! BUT remember you have to do it all in reverse to get home 🙂 Total time: 1-2 hours.

Neighborhood Stroll

Another fun walk is to make a right turn from Forest Inn, to Lakeshore Drive. Turn right and you’ll see some great old homes on the beach. Most of them have been family-owned for generations. It took some real ingenuity to nestle them into the dunes!


Book Your Adventure

Whether your idea of a perfect adventure includes peaceful solitude; exploring the trails, dunes, water, and beaches of spectacular Lake Michigan; fine dining, live music, world-class art, craft beer, renowned vineyards, or all of the above...

Forest Inn is an extraordinary setting for you to make memories and take full advantage of all that Michigan’s Art Coast offers. We look forward to welcoming you!