A Little Time and a Keyboard: Breathtaking Lake Michigan Views from Kenosha Sand Dunes

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Breathtaking Lake Michigan Views from Kenosha Sand Dunes

Breathtaking Lake Michigan Views from Kenosha Sand Dunes in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin

Sandy Trails, Rolling Paths, Fabulous Birding and Lake Michigan Views Charm at Kenosha Sand Dunes in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin

Wandering in the Kenosha, Wisconsin  area a few weeks ago, we stumbled upon Kenosha Sand Dunes in nearby Pleasant Prairie. Kenosha Sand Dunes forms the northern tip of the larger Chiwaukee Prairie Natural Area. The Chiwaukee Prairie Natural area incorporates dunes, coastal wetlands and prairie in both Wisconsin and Illinois.

Sandy trails beckon for adventure at Kenosha Sand Dunes.
Sandy trails beckon for adventure at Kenosha Sand Dunes.

The Chiwaukee Prairie is one of the largest prairie complexes in Wisconsin. The Nature Conservancy, Wisconsin DNR, Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund, UW-Parkside, Lake County Forest Preserve District, Illinois DNR and more organizations and volunteers have come together to preserve this unique nature assemblage. Kenosha Sand Dunes presents quite an interesting environment that unfortunately is under attack from the rising waters of the lake. Currently, plans are formulating to protect Kenosha Sand Dunes so that we can continue to enjoy this distinctive natural space.

Kenosha Sand Dunes nestles within private property. If you visit, you will want to pay particular attention to park in the right spot. The trail head is well noted. As we began our hike, we observed the sandy and soft trails pretty much immediately. As we hiked up dunes, we enjoyed beautiful views fanning out in front of us. Additionally, we spotted and heard many birds. A wonderful spot for birding!

Trails wandering up and over sand dunes at Kenosha Sand Dunes.
Trails wandering up and over sand dunes at Kenosha Sand Dunes.

A Reminder of our Glacial Past

We encountered a larger maze of trails than we had anticipated. Since we do not normally hike on dunes, the experience was quite wonderous. The dunes at Kenosha Sand Dunes actually are composed of a glacial till left by retreating glaciers. Thus, the complex represents another interesting natural element crafted by Midwest glacial history.

Lake Michigan peeking from behind the dunes.
Lake Michigan peeking from behind the dunes.

One of treats of our adventure was spying an expansive view of Lake Michigan. You can walk down to the lakeshore from the trails. However, we just absorbed the view from above. Before reaching a bit of an overlook, we could see the lake peeking from the rolls of the dunes and the dry grasses.

Embarking on a sandy path to Lake Michigan at Kenosha Sand Dunes
Embarking on a sandy path to Lake Michigan.

Lake Michigan Delights

On the day of our visit, you could see almost a purplishness resting in the clouds above the lake. This little treasure really added to the scene. Spectacular!

Lake Michigan meets the rocky shore at Kenosha Sand Dunes in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.
Lake Michigan meets the rocky shore.

From our little perch, we spied the ruggedness of the lake edge. A fantastic view of Lake Michigan surrounded us. Reveling in such a majestic view, we had a hard time turning back!

The larger Chiwaukee Prairie has been designated as a National Natural Landmark recognizing its distinctive assemblage of ecosystems and biodiversity. Overall, the prairie encompasses 400 acres of which Kenosha Sand Dunes is a portion. Chiwaukee offers a cache of nature adventures and wonders. We hope to explore Kenosha Sand Dunes again as well as additional parts of Chiwaukee Prairie.

Sandy Trails, Rolling Paths, Fabulous Birding and Lake Michigan Views Charm at Kenosha Sand Dunes in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin


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