Grand Sable Dunes

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Grand Sable Dunes
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
Grand Sable Dunes 2.jpg
View of Grand Sable Dunes
Location Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore / Alger County, Michigan, United States
Nearest city Grand Marais, Michigan
Coordinates 46°39.7′N 86°03.9′W / 46.6617°N 86.0650°W / 46.6617; -86.0650Coordinates: 46°39.7′N 86°03.9′W / 46.6617°N 86.0650°W / 46.6617; -86.0650
Established November 5, 1966
Governing body National Park Service

Grand Sable Dunes cover a 5-mile stretch along the southern shore of Lake Superior in the upper peninsula of Michigan in the eastern portion of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Glacial melt during the last major advance/retreat called the Marquette Readvance created the conditions for the formation of the Grand Sable Banks. Dominant northwesterly winds eventually caused blowing sand to become perched on the banks.[1] Today, the Grand Sable Banks rise to heights of up to 300 ft. at a 35 degree angle from the shore of Lake Superior. The Grand Sable Dunes perched on top of these banks offers a desolate sandscape with jack pine forest near the edges.[2]

In the late 19th century, loggers in the area built a wooden log slide from the top of the dunes at the Grand Sable Banks to Lake Superior below to facilitate the transportation of timber from the area.[3] The location is a popular spot to view the Grand Banks and climb on the dunes. Visitors may also take a trail from the Grand Sable Visitors Center near the eastern end of the dunes or stop along a section of the dunes that borders on Grand Sable Lake.


  1. ^ Rapson, Samantha [1] accessed March 25, 2011
  2. ^ Hunt's Guide to Michigan's Upper Peninsula [2] accessed March 25, 2011
  3. ^ Moon Travel Guides. [3] accessed March 25, 2011
View of Grand Sable Dunes
View of the dunes with Lake Superior in the background
Grand Sable Banks
A view of the Grand Sable Banks looking east from the logslide location
log slide
A view of the former logslide site from the top of the banks
Grand Sable Lake
A view of the dunes overlooking Grand Sable Lake