Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore - Recreational Opportunities & Activities - Trails

Trails

The Indiana Dunes has numerous short hike trails and a few longer distance trails:

  • Miller Woods Trail is located off Lake Street in Gary's Miller Beach community. The trail is fully accessible from a parking lot just north of the Douglas Center for Environmental Cost; Porter County Convention and Rec Commission, 2008
  • Tolleston Dune overlook is a short accessible walk through the treetops to a dune ridge overlook of the vast inland marsh. For a more indepth experiences, the Tolleston Dune trail consists of two loops forming a 3 miles (4.8 km) walk around the through the marsh and oak savannas. Both trails start along U.S. 12, just east of the Porter-Lake County Line Road and the West Beach unit of the National Lakeshore.
  • Succession Trail is located at West Beach. The trail climbs into the high dunes. While mostly on boardwalk and stairways, this can be a difficult climb. You'll experience the changes that lead from an open sandy beach to a heavily wooded dune crest. This trail is about 1 mile (1.6 km) long.
  • Bailly-Chellberg Trails is a series of interconnected trails. Primarily, it consists of 2-loops through the historic area around the Bailly Homestead and the Chellberg Farm. Along this 2.5 miles (4.0 km) trail, you'll be in a second growth forest, where the trees had once been removed for farming or timber harvest. Included along the north spur is a trip the Bailly Cemetery.
  • The Little Calumet River Trail offers an opportunity to visit a restored prairie and the flood plain of the East Arm Little Calumet River. Both represent the land before settlers arrived. This 2.2 miles (3.5 km) trail can be reached from the Bailly-Chellburg Trails by walking west from the Homestead to Howe Road, then following it across the East Arm Little Calumet River and up through the wetland overlook and parking lot for Mnoke Priarie. This trail brings you back near the north end of the 2-loops of the Bailly Chellberg Trails. Otherwise, you can drive around to Howe Road and park in the mentioned parking area and walk from there.
  • Cowles Bog Trail is reached off of North Mineral Springs Road. Parking is to the right (east), when you reach the guard shack for Dune Acres. This 5 miles (8.0 km) loop is one of the most rugged trails in the park. You begin with a long level walk skirting the wetlands of the Cowles Bog complex and the dune ridges to the north. Following the first fork to the north, you being climbing through the dunes until you reach Lake Michigan. Remember, you have to climb back up this dune if you go down to the lake. This is one of the least crowded areas of the park. The return is like the walk out, but you can take the west part of the loop. Again through the dunes, covered with northern white cedars, black oaks and a variety of trees. You'll see inter-dunal wetlands, the open beach and again, you'll reach the long flat Cowles Bog wetland complex. To complete the full 5 miles (8.0 km), you need to continue west around the wetlands to the parking area at Mineral Sprroad crossing, with parking available at Mineral Springs Road, Dune Park Station (S.R. 49 and U.S. 12), Calumet Dunes Trail park (Kemil Road at U.S. 12) and at U.S. 12, where it crosses the South Shore Tracks, just west of Michigan City.
  • The Calumet Dune Trail is fully accessible from the Calumet Dunes Interpretive Center (Kemil Road at U.S. 12). The trail is 0.8 miles (1.3 km) long and fully paved. Here, you'll see a mature wetland forest.
  • The far western end of the Calumet Dune Trail links to the Glenwood Dune Horse and Hiking Trail. The Horse trail is 6.4 miles (10.3 km) long and is accessible by horses and hikers from its own parking lot at U.S. 20 just west of Kemil Road. You must bring your own horse.

Burnham Plan trails
The Marquette Plan is called a "Lakeshore Investment Strategy" for Indiana. It is composed of two key elements. A 50-mile (80 km) trail is planned to cross Indiana to link Illinois, Indiana and Michigan communities along the Lake Michigan shore. There are planned both land trails for bicycles and hikers and a 'blue water' trail' for kayakers.

Water Trail The Lake Michigan Water Trail, was designated a National Recreation Trail in 2011 and currently extends 45-mile (72 km) from Chicago's Northerly Island to Michigan City's Millennium Plaza.

Long Distance Hike/Bike Trail There will be links to major parks and a wide variety of cultural and natural sites. The 9 miles (14 km) Marquette Trail will eventually connect the eastern and western segments of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The 3 miles (4.8 km) Porter Brickyard Trail opened in 2012 as part of the Burnham Plan Centennial. It will link several community hike/bike trails to the Calumet Hike/Bike trail creating a link between the Lake County communities and Michigan City. Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) is guiding the work with assistance from local governments, the National Park Service, private landowners and the American Planning Association.

Read more about this topic:  Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Recreational Opportunities & Activities

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