Thousands upon thousands of tourists flock to Michigan's picturesque Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore every year to marvel at its sandy mounds and glorious overview of Lake Michigan.

And every year, without fail, there are those who misjudge their ability to traverse the dunes - and find themselves in need of rescue.

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Photo via Canva
Photo via Canva

Why Do People Need to Be Rescued at Sleeping Bear Dunes?

The dunes at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are particularly steep. It's roughly a mile and a half from the top to the bottom and back up again, and the difference in elevation from top to bottom is about 450 feet. That math equates to a grade of about 33 degrees on average - on sand.

RELATED: The Sad Tale How Sleeping Bear Dunes Got Its Name

It's not just people who physically can't handle the hike in need of rescue; sometimes there are emergencies like twisted ankles and dehydration.

Photo via Canva
Photo via Canva

Park ranger Andy Blake gave this advice via

"Your clothing should be loose fitting, light colored, you should have a hat on. You should have shoes on, at least bring them with you, bring a pack, bring some water, electrolyte mix like Gatorade, and some salty and sweet snacks.”

How Long Does It Take to Get Up and Down the Dunes?

TikTok user Katie Rose tried her hand at climbing up and down the infamous dunes, and called the experience the hardest thing she'd ever done in her life.

Katie reported making it back to the top in 44 minutes. It's been known to take 3 hours or more for some to successfully return to the top.

The Cost of Being Rescued at Sleeping Bear Dunes

There's signage at the top of the dunes warning thrill seekers to think things through. In the case of the dunes, what goes down must come up - and higher lake levels mean there are no alternative ways to return to the top than to go back the way you went.

SEE ALSO: 25 Bucket List Things to Do If You're New to Michigan

The signs also warn of a potential $3000 fine for those who ignore the warnings and find themselves in need of rescue from the dunes anyway.

Photo via Canva
Photo via Canva

Rescues can be costly, considering the amount of manpower that may be required and/or the amount of equipment required depending on the situation.

The National Park Service won't assess the fine, but if some area fire departments have to become involved, they might.

Know before you go!

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