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The snow covered trails of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore are a perfect place to come and burn off those pesky pounds from extra holiday calories.
Snow adds a new layer to the 45 miles of park trails and presents an fun opportunity to explore the park on cross country skis and snowshoes.
The Ly-co-ki-wi trail on U.S 20 just west of Kemil Road in Furnessville is one of the most popular cross country ski trails in the national park. The various trail loops offer opportunities for a short or long ski experience. The loops can be as short as 1.2 miles or as long as 6.5 miles depending on how you choose to ski. Starting this weekend a warming hut will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. as long as there is enough snow base to ski. You can park your car at either the Ly-co-ki-wi trail head or at the parking lot on Kemil Road and Highway 12 in Beverly Shores both lots allow access to the Ly-co-ki-wi trail.
Traveling west on Highway 12 to Lake Street in Miller, just behind the Douglas Environmental Education Center is the 1.5 mile long Miller Woods Trail, another pleasant ski experience, although some of its hills can be a challenge for beginner skiers. Bring your skis, glide over the trails and enjoyed the muffled sounds of winter.
If you do not have your own skis or if you would like to try snowshoeing, you can join a park ranger for a snowshoe hike. Check the park’s newspaper, The Singing Sands, or visit the national lakeshore’s website at www.nps.gov/indu for the date, time and location of the next excursion. Snowshoes are provided.
Maps to all the trails in the park can be found on the park’s website or you can stop by the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Visitor Center at U.S 20 and State Road 49 in Porter, Indiana, to pick up a map of your preferred trail and learn about the day’s events. The Porter County Convention, Recreation and Visitor Commission is housed in the same building and can provide you with information on local stores and restaurants outside the national lakeshore.
Bundle up in warm layers that can be added or removed as you warm up or cool off during your adventure. Keep safety in mind and be aware that as you cool, hypothermia may be a danger. While it is always advisable to ski with a friend, be sure to let someone know where you are going and when you will be back. If you do need assistance call 1-800-PARKTIP. Come out to enjoy the winter trails at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is one of 392 units of the National Park System ranging from Yellowstone to the Statue of Liberty. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore includes 15 miles of the southern shoreline of Lake Michigan and 15,000 acres of beach, woods, marshes, and prairie in the northwest corner of Indiana. More than 2 million visitors come to this national park each year. More information can be found at www.nps.gov/INDU.