Mount Baldy Exploration

View of Mount Baldy, from mid- dune. Green marram grass clings to the sandy slopes and bright white clouds and blue skies are contrasted with dark clouds further away.

10 Things to Find and Do

 
A panorama from in front of Mount Baldy, facing the dune.

Wesley Butler

Overview

This panoramic photograph gives you a sense of the majesty and mystery of Mt. Baldy. Use this explorers page to look for fun ways to uncover the secrets of this unique moving dune. You can explore virtually or by taking a visit to the site. Send in your answers to the following 10 questions, and any additional observations by emailing Ranger Julie.

More Mount Baldy Information

 

Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • Explore an area of their neighborhood national park and share their observations with park staff.

  • Use their senses to connect more deeply with the natural world.

  • Begin the scientific method of observation leading to discovery.

 
A restoration fence with an unofficial social trail going around it.
A restoration fence with an unofficial social trail going around it.

Kim Swift

Please be a good visitor!

Stay on the trail, and don’t bypass the restoration fences. The park is working to stabilize the dune and keep visitors safe.

Use Leave No Trace principles.

 
The shore in front of Mt. Baldy with NIPSCO's cooling tower in the background and man walking along the beach.

#1: Walk the trail. Notice the exact moment you can hear the lake and mark it so you’ll be able to compare it next time you hike this trail.

 
Two male ring-billed gulls on the shore of Lake Michigan.

#2 How many different bird sounds do you hear? Which one is the loudest?

 
Waves break near the coast of Lake Michigan with the Chicago skyline in the background.

#3: On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being greatest, rate the height of the waves today.

 
Outflow of a drainage ditch into Lake Michigan with dunes on either side of the stream and a layer of dark earth material exposed underneath the dunes.

#4: Find the dark grey “rocks” on the beach. Can you tell what they are made of? You can easily break these "rocks." Try it and you will be able to puzzle out what they are made of.

 
A geologic variety of similarly-sized pebbles on the shore of Lake Michigan near Mount Baldy

#5: Find 5 differently colored rocks. Can you find a crinoid, too? There is one in this photograph.

Learn more about crinoids here

 
Piles of sand along the northern edge of a dune on the shore of Lake Michigan

#6: Can you find formations like these along the north side of Mt. Baldy? What do you think is causing them?

 
An oak tree at the bottom of a dune, fallen from collapsed, eroded dune.

#7: Find three signs of beach erosion on Mt. Baldy’s beach.

 
Turkey prints in soft sand

#8: Sand is Neat, Scaly Feet—find three different animal’s tracks. Can you tell what the animal was doing when it left its prints?

 
Mount Baldy's beach trail view from the south as it crests Baldy before heading down to the beach.

#9: Discover the transition zone from the forest to the beach. What are some of the abiotic factors that would change in these two zones?

 
Two large trees half buried in sand on the southern lee slope of Mount Baldy.

#10: Identify two types of trees at Mt. Baldy.

 

Share your explorations with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #INDUexplorers and be sure to tag the location in your photos and answers.

Send us your answers and additional observations now

 

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Mount Baldy Exploration

1. Walk the trail. Notice the exact moment you can hear the lake and mark it so you’ll be able to compare it next time you hike this trail.

2. How many different bird sounds do you hear? Which one is the loudest?

3. On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being greatest, rate the height of the waves today.

4. Find the dark grey “rocks” on the beach. Can you tell what they are made of? You can easily break these "rocks." Try it and you will be able to puzzle out what they are made of.

5. Find 5 differently colored rocks. Can you find a crinoid, too? There is one in this photograph.

6. Can you find formations like these along the north side of Mt. Baldy? What do you think is causing them?

7. Find three signs of beach erosion on Mt. Baldy’s beach.

8. Sand is Neat, Scaly Feet—find three different animal’s tracks. Can you tell what the animal was doing when it left its prints?

9. Discover the transition zone from the forest to the beach. What are some of the abiotic factors that would change in these two zones?

10. Identify two types of trees at Mt. Baldy.

Share your explorations with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #INDUexplorers and be sure to tag the location in your photos and answers.

 

Take a Virtual Tour

Join Ranger Rafi along the Mount Baldy Trail as he discusses its many landscape features and other interesting topics.

Grab a Trail Map

Great need-to-know information you'll be glad you snagged before taking your own Mount Baldy Beach Trail hike.

Last updated: May 18, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304

Phone:

(219) 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

Contact Us