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Michigan dnr > wildlife viewing guide > northern lower peninsula > sand lakes

46 Sand Lakes Quiet Area Northern Lower Peninsula

wildlife viewing  |  directions and facility information

view of water
Photo: Mark Douglas, MIDNR
This serene site is part of the Pere Marquette State Forest. Motorized vehicles are prohibited, making this area a great place to watch wildlife, hike, bike, or cross country ski. It has five marl lakes surrounded by rolling hills of oak-pine forest. The sediments at the bottom of marl lakes contain a lot of calcium carbonate deposited by glaciers. Several of the lakes are more than 40 feet deep and managed for trout. An extensive trail system allows visitors to explore the lakes and surrounding area on foot, skis, bike, or horse. The Cross Michigan Shore to Shore Riding and Hiking Trail (Lake Huron to Lake Michigan) skirts along the south end of the Quiet Area but is not on the hiking trails. Guernsey Lake State Forest Campground is available for hike-in campers.

Wildlife Viewing

trail through the woodsview of lake

Photos: © Phil Seng

Because motorized traffic is prohibited on this site, there are ample opportunities for wildlife watchers to enjoy uncrowded woodland trails and peaceful lakeshores. Deer, turkeys, squirrels, woodland songbirds, and many other kinds of wildlife are found at Sand Lakes. Several of the lakes have been stocked with test populations of hybrid trout; Lake #1 has rainbow trout, Lake #2 has brook trout. Water clarity is high in marl lakes and ideal for snorkeling and subsurface wildlife watching in these unique aquatic systems. Call the number below for a map of the area and details on the hiking/skiing and camping, or special fishing regulations that apply to these lakes.


Between Kalkaska and Traverse City south of M-72. From Williamsburg, drive east on M-72 to Broomhead Road. Turn right (south) and continue about 3.5 miles to the Sand Lakes parking area on the left (east) side of the road.

Ownership: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Forest Management Division, Traverse City Management Unit, (231) 922-5280.

Size: 2,800 acres

Closest Towns: Williamsburg, Kalkaska

Weather and Driving Directions for Williamsburg

Plan Your Trip with travel.michigan.org!

More information can be found by visiting the DNR's site (link leads to web app allowing users to search for campgrounds, harbors, trails and more), or by conducting a Google search:


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