Ottawa Sands Trail: Where You Can Fill up on Lake Views, Dune Walking, and Bird Watching

ottawa sands trail

Ottawa Sands County Park

18153 N Shore Dr, Spring Lake, MI 49456

The Ottawa Sands Trail is Just One Reason to Visit this Corner of Ottawa County

The Ottawa Sands Trail is a newer Ottawa County park in Ferrysburg, MI and is part of a strategic cluster of fabulous Ottawa County Parks. If you’re looking for lots of hiking opportunities, you’ll want to explore this park as well as it’s neighbor to the north, North Ottawa Dunes park.

As an added bonus – there’s a great playground just across the street in Ferrysburg’s Coast Guard Park and a Lake Michigan Beach just down the road at North Beach Park.

Ottawa Sands Trail Details

  • Trail Difficulty: Easy to Moderate, only because walking in sand can be difficult. The trail is mostly flat.

  • Dogs Allowed? Yes, this is a popular spot for dogs, but they must be leashed.

  • Facilities: Port-a-potty facilities are available at the trailhead. Bring your own hand sanitizer.

  • Stroller Friendly? No.

  • Time of Year Accessible: Open year round.

ottawa sands trail michigan access road

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The Ottawa Sands trail loops around a lake, starting and ending at the trailhead in the parking lot (the only place we saw port-a-potty.) While the distance around the lake is approximately 2.2 miles, it took us longer than expected to make our way around the loop that expected because a good portion of the trail is very sandy – you would not want a stroller on this trail. Our hike was about an hour long.

ottawa sands trail lakeside

We took our time and enjoyed the lake views as we walked, something that was easy to do on a beautiful, sunny 65-degree day. I would not want to do this trek at midday on a hot, sunny day because there is no shade for most of the walk.

A few of the trail options lead to the Grand River. Our springtime visit found a few paths flooded, limiting the routes we could take. The Grand River section is pretty industrial and not nearly as picturesque as the lake views.

ottawa sands trail map

The far end of the lake is home to a good number of birdhouses and that’s probably why we saw a good number of birds. Fellow hikers were equipped with binoculars for birdwatching – something I would bring for a return hike (that, or a camera with a great zoom lens, although, sand.)

At one point along the trail, there is a Bald eagle’s nest. I had no idea they were so big! We didn’t see any movement in the area on our visit, but that would be another reason to bring those binoculars along.

When you’re done putting in your miles, there’s a fun ice cream shop – A La Mode ice cream – just down the street.

All the West Michigan Parks and Trails Your Family Needs to Know About

Discover even more parks in our list of Favorite Grand Rapids Playgrounds. Trail seekers will find plenty to explore in our list of Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails around Grand Rapids.

Or, use this map of all the playgrounds, trails and dog parks around West Michigan to find your next family adventure!

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1 thought on “Ottawa Sands Trail: Where You Can Fill up on Lake Views, Dune Walking, and Bird Watching”

  1. Just double checking so wrong info isn’t published… did you check that the portapotty wasn’t locked up? I was at 3 other parks nearby and they had theirs chained up. Thanks!!

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