At a Glance
- Approximate Street Address: 8501 Meinert Park Road, Montague, MI
- Located in northern Muskegon County, Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve protects unspoiled dune habitat along the lakeshore. A boardwalk leading to an overlook provides panoramic views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding dunes.
- Trail length: 1.2 miles (round trip from Meinert Park)
- Before you visit, check out our preserve guidelines. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
Parking is available at Meinert Park, located at the west end of Meinert Park Road in Montague. (Note that Muskegon County Parks may charge a fee for parking.) From Meinert Park, walk about a quarter-mile north along the beach to Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve. Please respect the private property between Meinert Park and the preserve and walk close to the water’s edge. The preserve is marked with a sign and a stairway that leads up from the beach to the top of the dune.
What to See
Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve provides a glimpse of what the Lake Michigan shoreline used to be – undeveloped and undisturbed. Thanks to support from the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, the John J. Helstrom Dune Ridge Trail brings visitors up a steep portion of the dune and leads to an overlook with impressive views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding area.
Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve – located in a designated Critical Dune Area – protects a population of the threatened Pitcher’s thistle, a unique wildflower found only on certain areas of the Great Lakes shoreline. A suite of other sensitive dune species thrive on the shifting sands near the water’s edge, while the stabilized backdunes further inland support a hardwood forest that is home to a myriad of wildlife and bird species.
In 2017, the Land Conservancy added 17 acres to the preserve, more than doubling its size. Then in 2021, the 43-acre Huston-Rausch-Paprocki Reserve was protected and added to the preserve, again more than doubling its size.
The Land Conservancy, with continued support from the John J. Helstrom Memorial Fund of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, is working to reduce erosion and improve access on steep areas of the trail. An interpretive sign has been installed at the overlook, highlighting the unique natural features of the shoreline.
In August 2018, the trails were extended onto the new addition of the nature preserve. Two sets of stairs allow visitors to hike from the old overlook along a ridge with views of Lake Michigan and through the forested back dune all the way to Flower Creek. A new platform is situated along the creek, overlooking a large wetland complex on an adjacent property. From there, visitors can take another trail following Flower Creek until it empties into Lake Michigan.
Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve is also the site of a long-term study led by researchers at Hope College that investigates the relationship between Pitcher’s thistle population dynamics and sand dune movement.