You ever go on a night hike? I have. I do it all the time, and I know I can’t be the only one. There are many reasons to go hiking at night—a chance to see various wildlife you wouldn’t otherwise see in the day, being one. One reason I enjoy it so much is that it allows you to leave camp for a bit and explore without a full pack, almost like when you were a kid. A few hours from where I live, there’s a Trailhead that’s become a little famous for night hikes, located in Sleepy Hollow State Park.
Located in Laingsburg, MI, just off US-27, Sleepy Hollow State Park is over 2,500 acres and offers hikers a chance to experience grasslands and pine forests as they make their way along the 11-mile Red Trail. The real cool thing is that the area was once home to farms, so the ruins of old homes and structures are present at various locations. At night, this sufficiently adds an element of eeriness.
If you’re looking for a good sunset experience, leave from the trailhead located at the parking lot around an hour before the sun goes down. This allows you to catch animals at their most active periods and also enables you to finish the hike in the dark. During daylight hours, the trail is open to mountain biking, as well as hiking, and is a great trail for beginners or those looking for an easy, yet lengthy journey. The most challenging portion of the trail, which is also the most scenic, is the late section, which follows the lake.
Cyclists will take anywhere from 1-2 hours to complete the loop, but hikers will obviously take longer. They best times of year to visit the park for hiking are from spring to fall, before the park closes for the season in late October. When you visit, you’ll be sure to see dog walkers, cyclists, hikers, and other travelers looking to enjoy all the park has to offer.
While it may not have as many twists and turns as other trails, the steady, loping span of Sleepy Hollow State Park’s trails allows for a good day’s, or night’s, workout. The old remnants of farmhouses long forgotten and the standing pines have made the park a favorite among those looking for a spooky, adventurous twilight trek, but the gentle landscape has endeared it to those seeking a casual, yet challenging venture!