North Ottawa Dunes consists of very old sand dunes and quite a few blowouts. A blowout is where the wind has carved a bowl out of a sand dune. If you zoom into the map below you can read about the dune system. It is a pretty unique place to run.
The trail surface is sand. The sand varied from packed as hard as concrete to the consistency of flour, but it was all sand. These trails are not very technical in nature. There were a few tree roots to deal with and no rocks. This would be a really good place for the barefoot runners as the surface was nice and soft for the most part.
I ran about 8 miles which included a couple of side trips to the beach and running a little in Hoffmaster State Park to the north. Behind the dunes there was no wind. As I would break between the dunes or climb to the top the wind was blowing pretty hard. I'm surprised there were no surfers in Lake Michigan. The surf was definitely up and the lake was roaring. The one thing I could hear the entire time was the roar of the waves from the beach.
|Steps going up the back of a blowout|
|The view from the top of the blowout. The building below is a bath house on the beach.|
|Leaf covered trail behind a dune|
|Ferns! In late November!|
|The trail snaking through the trees along the top of a dune|
|Crossing into the state park|
|Cowabunga! Surf's Up!|
|I love runs that end in views like this|