Just east of Au Sable Point , the Log Slide Overlook marks the spot of a once-busy logging operation. In the late 1800s, loggers used this high point—some 300 feet above Lake Superior—to send freshly cut logs down to the water’s edge where they were loaded on Great Lakes schooners. Today, you can stand on a platform and simply marvel at the view, with the lighthouse to your left, the great dunes to your right, and the brilliant blue of the big lake filling the horizon.
If you’re in the mood for some exercise, the two-mile stretch of the North Country National Scenic Trail from the Log Slide to the Au Sable Light Station is one of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore’s  most scenic hikes.
The Grand Sable Banks and Dunes (grand sable is French for “big sands”) stretch for nearly five miles from the overlook, glacial banks of gravel supporting the huge mounds of sand. They are magnificent when viewed from a distance, glowing gold and rising up abruptly from the cobalt waters of Lake Superior. In many areas, especially near the overlook, the dunes are free of grasses and plants, so you can play around on them without fear of damaging fragile plant life or causing erosion.
Though park officials discourage it for safety reasons, no one will stop you from flopping on your butt and rocketing down the slope. Be aware, though, that the climb back up takes a lot longer!
Most people, however, choose to explore the dunes from the eastern end. Near the Grand Sable Visitors Center, a trail winds across the top of the dunes, where marram grass, beach pea, and sand cherry cling to the sand for dear life. (Be careful to stay on the trail here.) Interpretive signs discuss the plants’ tenuous hold on the environment. The trail to Sable Falls also leaves from the visitors center, a half-mile walk largely composed of steps.
As you work your way downhill, you’ll be treated to several views of this exceptionally pretty cascade, which drops in tiers through a narrow canyon and out to a rocky Lake Superior beach. Across H-58, the sandy shores and often warm waters of Grand Sable Lake make this a wonderful spot for a swim or picnic.