One of my annual wheelin trips is Silver Lake Sand Dunes, in Mears, MI. Within the Silver Lake State Park, there is an off-road vehicle (ORV) scramble area. The scramble area is over 400 acres open to motorized vehicle traffic, and as close to the desert you can wheel in the mid-west.
Silver Lake is located on Michigan’s northwestern shore, in the heart of a summer vacation mecca.
Because the ORV area is part of the State Park, there are rules, regulations and of course…fees. Click on the link below for details.
The rules and regs have helped keep the dunes open, as there is always a movement by the Fun Police to shut down the ORV area. The Michigan DNR maintains a clear presence, and patrols the ORV area often. Their patrol vehicle is not a seven slat ,however they do have some pretty cool tricked out Ford Raptors!
I assume that it goes without saying, but we all know what happens when we assume…you need to air down before heading out onto the dunes. My first time out on the dunes in my JK, a gentlemen in a large tire Dodge Ram let me use his TeraFlex 4807200 Air Deflator, and it worked great. Simple, the size of a key chain, I purchased this same Deflator and it resides in the glove box of my JK at all times.
When you first enter the dunes, to your left is Test Hill. Test Hill got it’s name, as it is the test of your vehicles ability. The difficulty of the “test” can vary, as the dunes are constantly changing with the wind. My first time at the top in my JK took three tries, in the past couple of years I have made it up on the first go.
Test Hill is within the area of the dunes where traffic is directional, so there’s no worries about someone coming up the other side. It can also be entertaining, to just sit and watch various vehicles attempt Test Hill.
To the north of Test Hill, the rest of the dunes area is pretty wide open wheelin, with a few water holes, and some of the holes are deceiving. Here is a meme from a photo of a JK at the dunes, so go around, or have a snorkel!
The dunes is a great place for the HMMWV or HUMMER, as there is very little area where the trail gets tight, if at all. You enjoy great views of Lake Michigan, and can even enjoy the lake, when you need a break from behind the wheel.
Silver Lake Sand Dunes deserves a spot on the list of places to wheel, and I look forward to getting out on the dunes every Summer!
Hope to see you out there!