Sun Spill at Empire Bluffs

via Michigan in Pictures

In Between the Dark and the Light

Sun Spill, Empire Beach, photo by jess_clifton

Recently Michigan in Pictures regular Jess Clifton and her family made a wintertime excursion to Empire in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. She writes (in part):

At Empire, the beach was already sprinkled with about 10-15 other folks and the scene was surreal. Kids were crawling in and out of caves carved into the thick, massive ice formations built up along the water’s edge. Clouds intermittently descended and receded, offering up dramatic skies that beckoned you out.

…Once I finally convinced myself the beach was “safe” to venture out onto after watching about 14 other people successfully make the trek, I was off cresting mini ice mountains at a snails pace until I could finally peer into the water.

It was there that I finally got a sense of just how still the water was. Pancake ice floated gently on the barely breathing lake. The revelation of something so calm in such a harsh environment was almost jarring. (In a really good way.)

Read on for more and lots of stunning photos in her Why Michigan? blog.

View Jess’s photo background bigtacular and see more in her Winter in Northern Michigan slideshow. She also has a comparison photo from last year.

Empire Beach Combers



2 replies
  1. Jess Clifton
    Jess Clifton says:

    Can’t recommend this spot enough for families looking to get their kids engaged in outdoor winter fun! Our son is only four and he really enjoys the short hike. Thank you for the feature! 🙂

  2. farlane
    farlane says:

    Thank YOU Jess for the great feature and photos.

    I definitely agree that this is one of Leelanau’s best family hikes. Short enough for the kiddos yet cool enough that you really feel like you’ve had a Sleeping Bear adventure!!


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