Clay Cliffs Natural Area, Leland Township, Leelanau County

October 15, 2022

The view includes both South Manitou and North Manitou islands.

Clay Cliffs Natural Area, Leland Township, Leelanau County

MI Travelogue by Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

LELAND TOWNSHIP (Leelanau County) — Just under 3 miles north of Leland on M-22 (Manitou Highway) is Clay Cliffs Natural Area. The 104 acre preserve was established in 2013 by the Leelanau Conservancy; the land is owned by Leland Township. 

There is a small parking lot just off of M-22. The area features a hiking trail that takes the visitor to a cliff 200 feet above Lake Michigan which has a perfect view of both North Manitou and South Manitou islands. The diverse hike includes a variety of forest and grassland. It’s a steady uphill climb from the parking lot to the Lake Michigan overview. 

The land is open to hunting, by permit, from Oct. 1 through Jan. 1. The area is also open to birding, fishing, and snowshoeing. 

The Leelanau Conservancy is a nonprofit organization was formed in 1988 to conserve the land, water, and scenic character of Leelanau County. Find more information here. 

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