Located in Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, this is arguably the premier sand dune climb in North America! The FKT Route is 10 laps up/down (or down/up). The vert on this compares favorably with other iconic hillclimbs, even in the mountainous west, yet this route offers a swim in a huge blue lake at the bottom and the joy of running downhill in soft white sand. This is a popular and contested Strava segment, and really worth doing, regardless of your time.
Getting there: the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is the standard approach, which is a scenic and convoluted paved road up the backside to within 100m of the top of the dune. There is an NPS Entrance Fee. A nicer approach is to run north along the beach from the North Bar Lake TH. This dune can be done anytime.
Start/Finish: Touch the water at the bottom each loop, and go around the big "Warning" sign at the top each loop.
Footwear: It certainly is fun to do barefoot, but one may hit an occasional stone. Running shoes are fine though they will fill with sand. Cheap beach slip-ons work the best.
- Sleeping Bear Dune Climb (10 laps) - 4,137’ in 1.75mi (half the total up/down distance) = 24.2 degrees, 44.9% grade
- Mount Washington Road race - 4,650' in 7.6mi = 6.61d, 11.6% grade
- Broken Arrow VK - 3,135' in 4.25mi = 7.95d, 14% grade
- The Rut Vertical Kilometer - 3,632' in 2.85mi = 13.57d, 24.1% grade
- Mont Blanc VK - 3,333' in 2.35mi = 14.74d, 26.3% grade
- Manitou Incline - 2,020' in .9mi = 23.03d, 42.5% grade
- Mt. Marathon - 2,675' in 1.1mi = 26.3d, 49.4% grade