Headlands International Dark Sky Park

All dogs must be on a leash!

And please clean up after your pooches while using the trails. Learn More


600 acres


2.5 miles along the Straits of Mackinac.

Land Description

The largest and least disturbed forest tract in the Mackinaw City vicinity.

Trail & Facilities Description

A paved road takes you to the dark sky viewing and a trailhead. Over 5 miles of trails are ready for cross-country skiing, hiking, birdwatching, mountain biking, stargazing, and picnicking are all available at the Headlands. The property also includes a guest house for public rental. For more information, visit http://www.midarkskypark.org/.


In 1996, the Conservancy assisted Emmet County in acquiring the Headlands with a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and with Little Traverse Conservancy holding a conservation easement on the property. The land is an important resting stop and staging area for raptors and neotropical birds migrating across the Straits. It is also home to the endangered Dwarf Lake Iris and possibly for the threatened Lake Huron Tansy and Pitcher’s Thistle. Flanked by the Straits of Mackinac, the Headlands was designated an International Dark Sky Park in 2011. New facilities were completed for the park in 2017, and regular programs are held there.


From Mackinaw City, take Central Avenue west for 2 miles to its end. Turn south (left) and go 0.75 miles to the entrance road on the right.

Printable Trail Map

For rental and program information please visit:


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