Audio Described Brochure

The park brochure is available in a variety of formats including paper, audio description, Braille, or text-only.

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Braille Version

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Audio-described Version

Download a folder of audio files (23.6 MB zip). Open the files in your preferred mp3 player to listen to each section of the brochure.


Audio-described Version (text only)

Below is a text only version of the Indiana Dunes National Park brochure. This version is compatable with most screen reader software.


OVERVIEW: About this Audio-Described Brochure

Welcome to the audio-described version of Indiana Dunes National Park's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that Indiana Dunes National Park visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the park, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about 1 hour and 14 minutes, which we have divided into 34 sections as a way to improve the listening experience.

Section 1 covers an introduction of the Indiana Dunes National Park. Then Sections 2 and 3 discuss an overview of the frontside of the brochure, which includes the park’s environmental qualities and habitats, history, and the glacial formation of its landscape. Sections 4 through 13 describe the actual content on the frontside of the brochure, including images, related text, and their captions.

Section 14 covers the overview of the backside of the brochure, which entails the brief introduction to the park’s map, key locations of interest, and park information. Sections 15 through 25 talk about the actual park map, the map’s key, and each of the featured location’s photo descriptions, captions, and related text.

The rest of the backside of the brochure is composed of important textual information about the park’s visitor center, education, regulations, and safety. Lastly, there are two more overviews about accessibility and connecting with the Indiana Dunes National Park.


OVERVIEW: Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana Dunes National Park, located in Northwest Indiana, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The 15,177 acre park is situated on the very edge of northwest Indiana, and spans across 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 3 counties, which includes LaPorte, Porter, and Lake County, all-encompassing 15 cities and towns. It also is conveniently located approximately 50 miles southeast from Chicago, Illinois. This park was first established in 1966, as a national lakeshore, but was renamed in 2019 as a national park. It is consistently the number 1 outdoor recreation destination in Indiana with millions of visitors, and thousands of overnight campers each year. Along our beaches, feel the sand, and small water eroded pebbles of Mount Baldy between your toes. Embrace the sensation of the cool waves of Lake Michigan, and the moisture in the air. Run your hands down the surfaces of various textured trees, and hear the bark crunch under your feet at the Bailly-Chellberg Farm. During the summer, smell the flowers along the Paul H. Douglas trail. Listen to the birds singing and toads chirping on the observation deck at the Great Marsh. For those seeking to learn more about the park during their visit, ask a park ranger stationed at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, or listen to our new and a very informative featured video named, Indiana Dunes, Nature’s Masterpiece. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.


OVERVIEW: Accessibility

Major sites within the park that are accessible with assistance include, the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center’s building, displays, and a hearing assisted device for the theater, the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education’s building and displays, the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk’s paved hiking trail, pavilion, and fishing pier, and the Dunewood Campground’s sites 15, 30, 41 and 55. There are also accessible parking and restroom services available throughout the park. Accessible equipment is available for loan at the Paul H. Douglas Center. Please call the Douglas Center at 219-395-1824 for equipment availability.

The Calumet Dunes Trail is paved but its slopes exceed ADA limits. The trail is wheelchair accessible with proper support.

The following picnic areas are accessible, West Beach, Bailly/Chellberg, Tremont, Glenwood Dunes, Lake View Beach, and Tolleston Dunes Overlook.

From the brochure: We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For information go to the visitor center, ask a ranger, call 219-395-1882, or visit the accessibility page on our website at


OVERVIEW: Front Side of Brochure

The front of the brochure includes a bar of 9 color photographs at the top, 2 black and white historic photos near the middle, and 2 scientific glacial illustrations with 1 orbital photo along the bottom. The background is made up of one large color photo of a dune landscape.

The text explains the diversity of plants, animals, and habitats at the park, its historic establishment of preservation as a national park, and the glacial beginnings of how the park’s landscape was formed over many years ago.


IMAGES: A Wealth of Habitats Offer You Hiking, Biking, Birding, Wildflowers, and Water Recreation

IMAGE 1 of 3: Hepatica

DESCRIBING: A small, color, photoshopped image.

SYNOPSIS: Three blooms from the hepatica flower adorn the near-top left corner of the brochure.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Each flower has 6 petals that look like elongated ovals. The petals are spaced-out, side-by-side, with their tips forming a star-like pattern. In the middle are the yellow pistols and stamens. These flowers are overlaid against the larger background image of a grass covered dune, see below for background image description.

CAPTION: Hepatica


IMAGE 2 of 3: Great blue heron

DESCRIBING: A medium-sized, color, photoshopped image.

SYNOPSIS: A photoshopped image of a great blue heron standing on a grass covered dune adorns the bottom left portion of the brochure.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The great blue heron stands atop a grass covered dune in the lower left portion of the brochure. The heron's long, skinny legs protrude upward from the dune, giving way to his white and gray, feather-covered body. The bird has a splotch of orange and black on the shoulder. The long neck is curved like an upside-down S, giving way to a long, pointed head and beak. The head is mostly white and is pointed to the viewer's right, it's yellow eyes gaze off into the distance. A streak of teal-blue colors the top of the head, just above the eyes. It's yellow beak comes to a pointed tip.

CAPTION: Great blue heron


IMAGE 3 of 3: Background image of dune

DESCRIBING: A large, horizontal, color photograph.

SYNOPSIS: A grass and tree covered dune complex rises above the blue waters of Lake Michigan.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The bowl shaped sand dune has grass and tress lining the brim of the dune. In the middle of the bowl, little-to-no grass covers exposed sand, allowing it to glow whitish-yellow in the day’s sun. The sides of the dune gently slope up and down along the perimeter. Pioneer dune-building grass like marram grass comprise the majority of greenery along the ground. Scattered cottonwood trees rise up at various angles and elevations along the outer portions of the dune. Lake Michigan’s clear-blue lake water can be seen behind and below the dune. The horizon line begins halfway through the photo and shade of blue deepen upward.


IMAGE and TEXT: Lake

DESCRIBING:A small-sized, vertical, color photograph.

SYNOPSIS: A pair of mallard ducks take flight from a dune-- white shelf ice and blue lake in the background.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A pair of multi-colored mallards fly close to the snow-covered ground, along the dune landscape. The ducks, one above the other, have their wings spread wide. Their feathers have dark earth tones except for their whitish-grey tails. In the foreground, dry golden colored marram grass rises from a low dune gently slopes towards the snow-covered shoreline. Rising from the edge of the shoreline, is a jagged wall of shelf ice. Blue lake water stretches in to the distance.

CAPTION: Mallard Pair



Indiana Dunes National Park is a National Park Service area. It has 15 miles of beach along Lake Michigan’s southern shore between Gary and Michigan City in Indiana. Michigan is third largest of the five Great Lakes, whose origin lies in many episodes of glaciation by ice sheets up to 2.5 miles thick during 1.6 million years or more.

Water and beaches offer far more things to do than we can describe here. You could even travel the 35-mile Lake Michigan Water Trail and camp at the designated sites as you progress.

IMAGE and TEXT: Beach

DESCRIBING: A vertical photograph of a yellow perch fish.

SYNOPSIS: This is a small vertical colored photograph of a Yellow Perch in murky water surrounded by aquatic plants.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A side view of a large, Yellow Perch is prominent in the center of this photo. This fish has seven distinct, vertical, black stripes against its golden greenish brown body. Several species of aquatic plants surround the fish. These plants have long, straw-like stems growing up from the lake bed. Slender, small yellow-green leaves extend from these stems. Six other out of focus fish can also be seen swimming among the plants. Only the tail of a seventh fish is visible on the left side of the photo. Among the plants, a submerged log is also visible.

CAPTION: Yellow perch



A beach is a transition between lake and land. Lapped by lake water, the lower beach hosts no plants big enough to see, but scavengers, from tiny carrion flies to gulls and shorebirds, feed on remains of fish, birds, and insects that wash ashore. Raccoons and skunks join in the feeding at night after bathers and sun worshippers have retired farther inland.

Plants, like sea rocket, bugseed, cocklebur, pigweed, and seaside spurge, do take hold higher up the beach, where only summer storms hit. These plants may begin the formation of a dune.

IMAGE and TEXT: Dunes

DESCRIBING: A small, colored vertical photograph.

SYNOPSIS: Centered in the photo is a portion of a sand dune, covered by marram grass.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Part of a sand dune appears, covered by clusters of long, narrow, green blades of Marram grass. Large, golden plumes of seed heads rise from the tops of the grass. The dune slopes upwards from left to right to press against the blue sky. In the background, a jack pine and the top of a cotton wood tree are partly visible.

CAPTION: Marram grass



Marram grass on the upper beach is the real dune stabilizer. Safe from the elements, except for the heavy winter storms, the marram grass along with cottonwood seedlings and sand reed grass anchor the sand. It is easy to underestimate the key role these plants play in building the dunes and shaping the landscape around you.

Marram grass puts out seeds, but dual-purpose underground stems, or rhizomes, explain its tenacity. Rhizomes spread networks of new roots across dunes, further anchoring mounds of wind­blown sand captured by the grass blades.

IMAGE and TEXT: Ponds Between Dunes

DESCRIBING: Small vertical colored photograph.

SYNOPSIS: This is a small vertical, colored photograph of a turtle in it's environment.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Early springtime close up photograph of an eastern box turtle, turned to the left side and half cropped, scurrying along the ground covered by golden-brown leaves in the forest. Its whole body is covered with a splattered pattern of bright orange, yellow and dark brown. The turtle’s orange eye is pointed down looking directly at the camera, while its head and long stretched neck is pointed highly upwards towards the sky. Behind the turtle, is a small meadow of bright green grass, with a blotch of yellow to the right, of what seems to be flowers, and a sparsely silhouetted forest of tree trunks further back along the upper horizon line, while the bright afternoon sky peeks through the surrounding environment.

CAPTION: Eastern box turtle



When winds blow out a dune, a bowl can form and later be protected from wind. Then, organic matter from dead plants and animals can build up, enabling trees to grow.

If the bowl reaches down to the water table, a shallow pond may form and harbor wood ducks. Pond shorelines shrink in dry weather to form many smaller pools where toads lay vast masses of eggs in early spring. These interdunal pond habitats magnify the diversity of life in the dune environment.

IMAGE and TEXT: Marsh

DESCRIBING: A small vertical colored photograph.

SYNOPSIS: A photograph of an adult American bittern bird, walking towards the right in the wet marshy blue water during a summer day.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The bird has brown and white feathered stripes flowing from its beak down to the rest of its underbelly, while its wings and back are more singular in brown color. This bird is tall and slender in many aspects, as it is pictured pointing upwards with its long neck and narrow beak outstretched towards the sky, while looking down with its orange eye towards the camera. The bird is in front of a wavy grass backdrop composed of various hues of green, which leads up into the top of the photo.

CAPTION: American bittern



Marshes form in many ways, from shallow backwaters of creeks or rivers, from former lakes or ponds, or from shallow lagoons created when a lake level drops quickly. Cattails and grasses advance toward the center of the marsh while water lilies, arrowhead, and spatterdock cover the open water. Red-winged blackbirds nestle in the reeds.

Marshes in the park host a rich mix of life, with more species and greater numbers than found in most habitats.

IMAGE and TEXT: Oak Savanna

DESCRIBING: A small colored vertical photograph.

SYNOPSIS: Small vertical colored photograph of lupine wild flowers in green grass.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Prominent are three stalks of the lupine flower covered with dozens of pea-sized greenish purple petals. They spread out closer to the bottom of each flower and become more densely packed and cone shaped towards the top. The flowers emerge from a carpet of green leaves and the background is a collage of green and purple.




Oak Savanna: Oak savannas look like prairies dotted with trees—black or white oak—and shrubs like chokecherry, shadbush, witch hazel, and sumac. Midsummer flowers include lupine, birdsfoot violet, aster, and blazing star. Dense forests that cover older dunes host spring-blooming flowers before tree leaves block the sunlight.

Trees take over a marsh that’s filling in, forming a swamp forest of red maple, yellow birch, sourgum, and pin oak. Trees can take over older dunes so much that they become known as hardwood dunes, with oak, hickory, and white ash.

IMAGE and TEXT: Prairie

DESCRIBING: A small, vertical colored photograph.

SYNOPSIS: A small, vertical colored photograph of a American goldfinch on a seeding prairie plant.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Prominent is a yellow, orange, black and white American goldfinch, perching atop a seeding prairie plant looking toward the viewers left. Its legs and beak are orange, while its body and head are mostly yellow with patches of black masking at the top of its head. Its wings and tail are black and white. Its living perch has seeds with wisps of long, thin, white and purple hairs. The green background is out of focus.

CAPTION: American goldfinch



The national park, at the uppermost and easternmost limits of tallgrass prairie habitat, features quality remnants of this ever diminishing mixture of plants that once covered 140 million acres of North America. Tallgrass means tall: big bluestem, little bluestem, indian grass, and switchgrass can grow to eight or nine feet tall.

Below ground is even more impressive: this prairie’s roots reach down 15 to 25 feet, to survive fire and drought. Today, controlled burning uses fire to restore prairie that trees have invaded because fire has been suppressed for so many years.

IMAGE and TEXT: River

DESCRIBING: A small, vertical, colorful photograph of a beaver.

SYNOPSIS: A brown, wet beaver standing in shallow water; profile view, on its hind legs. Ninety percent of the beaver is out of water, and its arms are outstretched in front of it with its hands together.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Standing on its hind legs in a body of shallow, murky water, the furry beaver has a light-brown head atop a dark, wet, chocolate-brown body. On its snub nosed head, its ears are tiny and close. The head is turned to the viewer's right, with one large brown eye staring at the camera with a mischievous appearance. matted paws are held before its face with fingernail-type claws extended. There are blades of grass in the foreground and out of focus, sun-lit green and yellow leaves in the background.




How about a nice, mostly level, shaded lowland-forest trail along the Little Calumet River’s south bank? The Heron Rookery Trail makes a great place to find wildflower displays in spring. Watch for rue anemone, trillium, spring beauties, bloodroot, and Dutchman’s breeches.

The Little Calumet River Trail near Bailly Homestead also explores the river but in forests of hickory, oak, basswood, sassafras, and beech. It has a boardwalk that takes you through a swamp forest, too.


DESCRIBING: A small, vertical, colorful photograph of a pitcher plant.

SYNOPSIS: The red-veined, cup-shaped, green leaves of the pitcher plant protrude from the ground.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Over ten modified leaves forming green, tubular cavities emerge from a central point against an earth-toned background of pine needle litter. The rims of the cavities have a dull red coloration from which red, vein-like webbed branching extends into the green of the “pitcher.” Half of each pitcher’s rim fans out, above the rest of the rim to function as a funnel to gather water.



You can visit Pinhook Bog only on a ranger-led walk, but try to do so. It’s a fascinating, vibrant, otherworld with its own humid microclimate. What’s more, everything—trees, boardwalk, and you—rests atop its floating mass of sphagnum moss. A huge chunk of glacier ice created the bog, which holds water because clay lines its bottom.

Cowles Bog is not a true bog but a fen—it has an underground water source. The National Park Service is restoring part of it to its natural condition. You can walk the Cowles Bog trails on your own.


IMAGES and TEXT: People, Preservation, Protection

IMAGE 1 of 2: People sitting in front of tent

DESCRIBING: A small, horizontal sepia-toned photograph of three people at a campsite circa 1910.

SYNOPSIS: A group of three individuals sit at a table next to a tent.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: In the left-center of the image, a gray-haired woman sits on a wooden picnic table across from a gray-haired man and woman. The people are wearing white clothing aside from the single woman having a dark apron on. The picnic table has a light tablecloth. In right-center stands a dark, canvas tent with a squared entrance and curved, sloping back. In the foreground there is a pile of firewood. In the background, tall trees are contrasted with bright daylight coming through behind them.

CAPTION: Car camping in the old days


IMAGE 2 of 2: Person standing in dunes

DESCRIBING: A small, sepia-toned vertical photograph.

SYNOPSIS: A historic photo of a female hiker.

IN-DEAPTH DESCRIPTION: This is a profile view in the center of the photo, of a woman standing, looking to the left. Her stance appears to indicate she is surveying the landscape. She is wearing a dark wool jacket and medium shade round hat with the edges of its brim turned upward. Her hands are placed in her front bottom coat pockets. On her back is a medium shade backpack. She is also wearing a heavy skirt with tall dark socks and dark, shiny laced boots. Gentle rolling dunes covered with marram grass slope upward and away towards the horizon behind her.

CAPTION: Working to preserve the dunes inspired many new enthusiasts for nature to get a feel for the area’s diverse environments, whether its forests or the dunes themselves.



The National Park Service was only a month old when its first director Stephen T. Mather tried to save the Indiana Dunes from development in 1916. World War I derailed his attempt. The dunes and related glacial land forms were known to be treasures ever since an 1899 scientific article about them established the botanist Henry Cowles as the founder of plant ecology. Professor Cowles and others formed the Prairie Club of Chicago in 1908, wrestling with the region’s booming industry of steel mills and power plants over whether to preserve Indiana Dunes.

Indiana Dunes State Park, created in 1926, did not end the bid for a national park. A proposal for a Port of Indiana sparked dunes resident Dorothy Buell and 19 other women to form the Save the Dunes Council to expand the state park. Within a year the council had 2,000 members nationwide. Park opponents dismissed the education-oriented women’s council as a “tea club” of “harmless birdwatchers.” But the council soon turned to political action and organizing. By 1963 a steel industry attorney called the council “a threat to industrial development” in the dunes.

In 1963 President John F. Kennedy proposed creating both a national lakeshore and a port for industry. Illinois Sen. Paul H. Douglas worked so tirelessly in Congress and in public to preserve the dunes that people called him “the third senator from Indiana.”

In late 1966 Congress created Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, whose 8,330 acres would eventually be expanded to over 15,000 acres today. The deal to protect the dunes also included creating the Port of Indiana. In 2019 the park was redesignated as Indiana Dunes National Park.


MAPS and TEXT: Gouging Glaciers’ Liquid Retreats + Pulsing Winds and Waters = Rippled Shorelines

ILLUSTRATED MAPS: Northern Species and Terminal Moraine

MAP 1 of 3:

DESCRIBING: A small horizontal illustration.

SYNOPSIS: As the glacier advanced southward from Canada, it picked up seeds from plants in the north, and deposited them along the glacier's southern terminal moraines. This helped increase the plant diversity currently seen within the park.

IN DEAPTH DESCRIPTION: An illustrated map shows the Great Lakes and surrounding Midwest region and the path the northern species of plant life traveled alongside the last glacier advancement. The land has a light green hue with outlines of today's waterways. The glacier's depicted in white and surrounds each of the five Great Lakes. The southernmost border of the glacier is roughly halfway through the boundary of Indiana and Illinois. To the west of Lake Michigan, the border moves north, along the western side of the lake into Wisconsin where it turns west again toward Minnesota and North Dakota. Along the eastern side of Lake Michigan, the glacier's border encapsulates all of the state of Michigan and northeast Ohio. The glacier skims the southern border of Lake Erie and continues eastward into Pennsylvania and New York. The words "Terminal Moraine" are written along the southern boundary of the glacial line. Lake Michigan is the only Great Lake to have its name written on it. A blue arrow fades in from the northeast and points southward towards Indiana with the words Northern Species written on it.

MAP 2 of 3:

DESCRIBING: A small square illustration.

SYNOPSIS: As the glacier retreated northward, melted glacial waters were trapped by the glacier to the north and the terminal moraines to the south. In the low laying area carved out by the glacier water pooled together, forming ancient Lake Michigan.

IN-DEAPTH DESCRIPTION: This illustration shows the southernmost tip of Lake Michigan along the Indiana shoreline. The shoreline is depicted in whiteish-yellow, the lake in dark blue, and the retreating glacier in bluish-white. The words "Retreating Glacier" are written along the ice with a faded blue arrow pointing north by north east showing the path of the retreating glacier. Along the southern shoreline, a small ridge can be seen. This ridge is captioned "Terminal Moraine." The dark blue lake is captioned "Ancient lake."

MAP 3 of 3:

DESCRIBING: A small horizontal satellite photo showing present-day Lake Michigan and the Indiana Shoreline.

SYNOPSIS: As the glacial period began to end, the rise and fall of glacial melt water formed different shorelines along the southern tip of Lake Michigan. These ripples can be seen as lines that extend from west to east in a slightly-curved border mimicking the southern tip of the lake.

IN-DEAPTH DESCRIPTION: This satellite image shows the rippling effects along the shoreline of glacial retreat. Present-day Lake Michigan makes up the top left portion of the image. Ridge lines covered with dense vegetation can be seen extending from the southern tip of Lake Michigan toward the bottom of the image. These ridge lines form the southern boundary of Lake Michigan during several different periods of northern glacial retreat. There is a textual call-out pinpointing 7 stages different periods of glacial retreat that each formed their own shoreline. On the right (eastern side) of Lake Michigan are flat fields covered with green vegetation.

CAPTION: Lake levels have changed many times, creating a series of shorelines and dunes.

This Google Earth photo of a shallow Lake Michigan bay in Wisconsin still shows former shorelines both beneath the lake’s surface and on the undisturbed land beside it.

CREDIT: Google Earth


Imagine great glaciers—ice sheets up to two and a half miles thick—covering most of Canada and reaching down into Indiana and Illinois. In the most recent ice age, the Pleistocene Epoch, from 1.8 million years ago to 10,000 years ago, huge ice sheets advanced and retreated over northern North America at least four times.

Lake Michigan originally took form 11,000 years ago when the mile-thick Wisconsin glacier, the last to cover this region, began to melt. When this massive ice slowly melted, it left behind Lake Michigan and four other Great Lakes. Like ice sheets before it, this slow-flowing mass scraped and pulverized mountains and bedrock into boulders and masses of rocky rubble and sand—more sand than you can imagine. As it melted, lake levels fluctuated and ultimately became lower. This made as many as seven successive shorelines on Lake Michigan. Winds shaped the sands as dunes, with wetlands developing between the dunes. Older dunes built at higher lake levels stand farther from today’s lakeshore than younger dunes. Many older dunes are cloaked in trees and some bear stable oak forest. The most recent and still active, still moving dunes are closest to the lake. They may be bare or be dotted with beach grasses that can stabilize them until they support shrubs and trees.

Because lake levels still fluctuate, this story goes on. The highest of all the Indiana dunes, 200-foot-tall Hoosier Slide, was mined for sand and hauled off by full railroad cars before national park advocates could save it.

It can be difficult, even for trained eyes, to tell tree-covered older dunes from glacial moraines. Moraines may look like old dunes, like ripples on the landscape. In a Google Earth image some near-shore lake bottom may still show former shorelines. If the land has not been disturbed, the former shorelines may show as tightly packed contour lines on topographic maps.

Henry Cowles’ training as a scientist allowed him to walk through both time and space together at Indiana Dunes. Cowles walked inland from the lake and saw centuries of plant succession. He saw how plants take root in disturbed environments until their flourishing eventually creates conditions enabling other species to replace them. The mix of landscapes and the diversity of species that Cowles observed here remains remarkable today.


OVERVIEW: Back Side of Brochure

On the upper half of the back portion of the brochure, are multiple groups of colored and greyscale naturalistic, recreational, and historic photos relating to popular park locations, which are numbered and correspond with the map on the bottom portion of the page.

Text captions the photos and introduces popular park locations. On the left side of the brochure there's a section of three columns of text that state important information about the park, including the headquarters' address, and turn by turn directions to the visitor center.


MAP: Indiana Dunes National Park and Surrounding Area

DESCRIBING: A large colorful map.

SYNOPSIS: The map represents about 25 miles east to west of Lake Michigan shoreline in Northwest Indiana and travels about 10 miles north to south. The national park follows a roughly 45-degree angle from the southwest corner of the map toward the northeast corner. The non-contiguous national park is represented in several shades of green that are stretched like thick ribbons along the southern shoreline of Lake Michigan, representing various areas of public access. The map is separated into two distinct parts, the lake, represented in blue, which is roughly two-thirds of the brochure, contains extra information, photographs, and descriptions (described in another section of this audio program). The navigable portion of the map is contained to the bottom one-third. Non-public land is shaded in a cream color. Roads are denoted in two shades of red, Interstate 94 and the Indiana Toll Roll 80/90 are in a darker shade of red, while local roads are in a lighter shade. East / West roads follow a similar southwest to northeast diagonal along the shoreline as the national park. Throughout the public land areas, several attractions, points of interest, and visitor services are denoted.


The Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, located in the middle of the navigable portion of the map, is at 1215 State Route 49, Porter, IN 46304. It is bordered by northeast-to-southwest running, U.S. Highway 20 to the north and Interstate 94 to the south. State Route 49 divides the map between east and west portions. Traveling north along State Route 49, approximately 1 mile from the Visitor Center, is U.S. Highway 12, which runs diagonally, northeast to southwest and bisects the park, dividing the park between north and south sections. All distances described below are from the Visitor Center.

Near the western edge of the map, is the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education, located 12 miles west of the Visitor Center, just off Highway 12, on the west side of Lake Street. Parking for the Douglas Center is located off Lake Street, east of the building. The Douglas Center can be accessed through a pedestrian walkway that crosses Lake Street from the parking lot, west toward the building and trails. The Douglas Center features two hiking trails. During the winter, when the snow base is over 3 inches, cross-country skiing is available. A small, rounded loop outside the Douglas Center notes an accessible trail. Another trail leads northward towards the lake. This out-and-back trail crosses through forest, savanna, wetlands, and dunes. It winds along the western edge of a lagoon system just south of the lake. Branching off the eastern side of Grand Blvd, which is about 3 blocks east of the Douglas Center, is the Marquette Bike Trail, an accessible trail, which leads into West Beach. The Marquette Bike Trail passes through the urban community of Gary and through wetland areas before crossing the north-to-south running County Line Road. The trail can be continued eastward onto the road through West Beach. The trail ends at the West Beach bathhouse.

West Beach is located 9 miles west of the Visitor Center along County Line Road, just north of U.S. Highway 12. West Beach offers several amenities including a bathhouse, swimming area, picnicking, nature trails, and accessible equipment like beach wheelchairs. West Beach has three looped trails named Long Lake Trail, West Beach Trail, and the Dune Succession Trail. Long Lake Trail is situated along the western side of West Beach and loops past a small lake within the park boundary called Long Lake. The West Beach Trail connects Long Lake Trail and the Dune Succession Trail at the center. It circles from the parking lot south and east towards Long Lake and then loops west and north towards Lake Michigan. The Dune Succession trail loops from the parking lot north and west toward the shoreline. It travels a short distance east along the shore before looping south and connecting with the West Beach Trail.

Nestled between the Paul H. Douglas Center and West Beach along the shoreline at the end of Grand Blvd is a small City of Gary community park called Marquette Park. Marquette Park has seasonally available amenities including concessions, picnic tables, swimming, and beach access. There is also an accessible boat launch to kayak or canoe the lagoon which flows west to east between Lake Street and Grand Blvd.

On the south side of U.S. Highway 12 and 9 miles west of the Visitor Center, in an area just south of West Beach, is the Tolleston Dunes accessible Overlook. The overlook offers a short, accessible walk to an observation platform overlooking a wetland. One mile east of the overlook is the Tolleston Dunes Trail. The Tolleston Dunes Trail can be used for cross-country skiing when the snow base is 3 inches or more. The rest of the year, the trail can be hiked. Parking is located at the trailhead. The lollipop-shaped trail progresses south from the parking lot and turns sharply west into an area wetland. The trail loops around through the wetland before heading back east and re-connecting with the north-south trail to the parking lot.

Just north of the Tolleson Dunes parking lot, and U.S. Highway 12 is a small residential community called Ogden Dunes. To the east of Ogden Dunes, about 6 miles west of the Visitor Center, nestled between the community of Ogden Dunes to the west and a steel mill to the east, along the north-south flowing Burns Waterway, is Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk. The Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk has parking available, picnic tables, seasonally available concessions, beach access, and accessible trails.

A large commercial shipping port and several steel mills line the middle of the map, just north of U.S. Highway 12, along the shoreline. These areas are not accessible to the public. The Little Calumet River Trail flows just south of the steel mills and U.S. Highway 12. The trail follows the Little Calumet River eastward, flowing under the north-south running State Route 149, and continuing toward the Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm. The Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm are located about two miles west of the Visitor Center, sandwiched between U.S. Highway 12 to the north and U.S. Highway 20 to the south. Parking can be accessed for the Chellberg Farm on the west side of the north-to-south running Mineral Springs Road near U.S. Highway 20. Street parking is available for the homestead along Howe Road. Also, along Howe Road, to the west of the Bailly Homestead, is the Dunes Learning Center. The Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm have picnic shelters which can be reserved on The area also has several looped trails which wind through a forested area. The east-west running Oak Hill Road bisects the top section of the Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm, placing the homestead and farm on the south side. To the north of Oak Hill Road is the Bailly Cemetery. The Porter Brickyard Bike Trail cuts through the middle of the homestead and farm before it crosses Oak Hill Road to the north. Just east of the Bailly Cemetery along Mineral Springs Road is the Park Headquarters building.

Continuing north along Mineral Springs Road, on the north side of U.S. Highway 12, is the Cowles Bog Trail. The trail has two parking lots, one on the west side of Mineral Springs Road near U.S. Highway 12, and another further north along the east side of Mineral Springs Road, close to the shoreline community of Dune Acres. Cowles Bog has 2 out-and-back trails that the hiker traverses before connecting with two additional loops which take the hiker west from the parking lot into the bog.

Located about 2 miles to the northwest of the Visitor Center, on the north side of U.S. Highway 12 and just east of the town of Porter Indiana, along the shoreline is the Porter Beach Access Point. Porter Beach can be accessed by taking Waverly Road north to the lakefront. Porter Beach has parking available and accessible beach access.

The Indiana Dunes State Park, nestled inside the national park, is denoted in a light green, and is located approximately 2 miles north from the Visitor Center at the end of State Route 49, just east of Porter Beach. Please note: the state park is operated by Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources and has a separate entrance fee. The state park has a bathhouse, seasonally available concession stands, campground, picnic shelters, cross-country skiing, swimming, accessible beach access, a nature center, and the tallest dune in Northwest Indiana, Mount Tom. Trails of various length within the state park property loop around with dotted black lines. The state park encompasses approximately 2 miles of shoreline. Just south of the Indiana Dunes State Park, approximately 1 mile north of the Visitor Center, east of State Route 49 along the north side of U.S. Highway 12 is the Tremont Picnic Shelter. Parking is available at the Tremont Picnic Shelter.

Located about 3 miles north and east of the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, along U.S. Highway 20, is the Glenwood Dunes Horse and Hiking Trails. Parking, picnic shelters, cross country skiing, and horseback riding are available at this site. Note, horses are not available to rent. From the trailhead, several miles of trails wind through the national park, between the area north of U.S. Highway 20 and south of U.S. Highway 12. These looped trails branch off each other extending in both west and east directions. The trails cross several local roads, including the east-west running Furnessville Road to the north of the trailhead and the north-south running Tremont Road on the western boundary of this hiking area. Slightly north and east of the trailhead, the trail connects to the Calumet Dunes Trail before it crosses the north-south running 300 East Road and links up with the out-and-back Dunewood Trace Trail. The Calumet Dunes Trail has parking and interpretive signage along the trail.

Approximately 5 miles northeast of the Visitor Center, north of U.S. Highway 12, along the shoreline, is the Kemil Beach Access Point. Parking for Kemil Beach is available off East State Park Road. Situated in the parking lot for Kemil Beach is the trailhead for the short lollipop-shaped Dune Ridge Trail. East State Park Road, which runs north and south, turns right, becoming Lake Front Drive and heads east-west along the shoreline. One quarter mile east from Kemil Beach Access Point is the parking lot for the Dunbar Beach Access Point. Continuing east along Lake Front Drive, approximately 1 tenth of a mile, is the 1933 Century of Progress Homes district. Just east of the Century of Progress homes is the town of Beverly Shores. Beverly shores is surrounded in all directions by the National Park. Broadway Avenue connects Lake Front Drive to U.S. Highway 12 through the town. Located on Broadway, approximately 6 miles north east of the Visitor Center, is the partially accessible Great Marsh Trail. The Great Marsh Trail has 2 parking lots, the northern-most parking lot and trail are accessible. The southern-most parking lot and trail connect to the lollipop-shaped accessible portion of the trail.

At the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and Broadway, just south of Beverly Shores and approximately 6 miles northeast of the Visitor Center, is the Dunewood Campground. The campground has accessible sites, tent camping, and an amphitheater.

Approximately 7 miles northeast from the Visitor Center is the Central Avenue Beach Access Point. Central Beach is at the northern terminus of Central Avenue. A short trail leads northward from the parking lot toward the shoreline.

At the eastern-most edge of the park, approximately 10 miles northeast from the Visitor Center, is Mount Baldy. A short trail leads from the parking lot northward towards the beach. Parking and picnic shelters are available.

Running alongside U.S. Highway 12 is the National Recreation Trail called the Calumet Bike Trail. This trail runs from Michigan City, approximately 11 miles northeast from the Visitor Center, southwest towards the Indiana Dunes State Park. The trail ends at the southern-most parking lot for Cowles Bog. Running alongside the trail is the South Shore Rail Line. The South Shore has stops located at Lake Street in Miller, at Ogden Dunes, the State Park, Beverly Shores, and in Michigan City.

There are two additional places outside the normal, contiguous national park. The first, located about 4 miles directly east of the Visitor Center, and about 3 miles south of the Dunewood Campground, is the western parking lot for the Heron Rookery. The western parking lot is located off 450 East Road. The rookery features an out-and-back style trail along the Little Calumet River. Located about 1 and one-half miles east of the western parking lot is the eastern Rookery parking lot. This parking lot is accessed off 600 East Road. The second location, Pinhook Bog, is approximately 10 miles east and slightly south of the Visitor Center. Pinhook Bog is accessed only through ranger-led tours. Parking for the bog is available along Wozniak Road.

Located approximately 2 miles east of Mount Baldy is a Michigan City community park called Washington Park. Washington Park is situated along the shoreline and features a marina, zoo, restaurants, picnic tables, swimming, and a beach. There is an Amtrak station just south of the marina. A power plant is situated between the marina and Mount Baldy.

Running the full length of shoreline, from northeast to southwest, approximately one quarter mile off the coast, is the Lake Michigan Water Trail, part of the National Recreation Trail. This trail passes the entire National and State Parks, the Port of Indiana, and Gary Indiana, before continuing west.

This concludes the audio description for this map.


MAP: Key

DESCRIBING: A small horizontal map key.

SYNOPSIS: The map key is located at the bottom right of the backside of the brochure. It features seven different types of local, state, and national parks and denotes twelve different amenities the park offers.

DESCRIPTION: Located along the bottom right edge of the map is the key. Marked in green, the map locates 6 different types of local, state, and national parks and their trail systems. The national park is in the darkest shade of green. City and state parks are also listed on the map in a lighter shade of green. Hiking trails are denoted with a dotted black line while bicycle trails have a dashed blue line. The many wetlands in the area are denoted with a similar coloration as the national park but includes dark green line wisps. The water trail is denoted with a light blue background and dark blue dashed lines.

The park has many different amenities offered. All amenities feature a black background with white images superimposed upon it. The Ranger Station icon features a house with a flag. Wheelchair-accessible trails are marked with a symbol of a person riding in a wheelchair. The campground image features a tent while the Picnic areas have a picnic table pictured. Swimming areas are denoted with a person swimming against white waves. Beach access areas are marked with a large umbrella. Self-guided trails show a person reading a wayside. Cross-Country ski trails are marked with an image of a person wearing skis. Horseback riding trails show an image of a person riding a horse. All parking areas are highlighted with an image of a 'P'. The snack bar icon features a fork and knife while the amphitheater shows an image of a stage light and stadium seating.

There is a logo of the US National Recreation Trails above the icons. This icon is white and shaped like the top of a spade. Red and blue are the featured colors in the icon.

The caption reads: Trails on this map that are part of the National Recreation Trail: Lake Michigan Water Trail and Calumet Bike Trail


IMAGES and TEXT: Map side

1 - West Beach

IMAGE 1 of 5: Blue flag iris

DESCRIBING:A small picture drawing of two Blue flag iris flowers in upper left corner of blue gray page. Blue-gray background page is a collage of three small photographs and two drawings depicting West Beach.

SYNOPSIS: The blue flag iris adorns this collage of photos what represent West Beach.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The petals of the purple, white and yellow iris grow atop the green stem. The petals are long and thin. The bottom most petals gently curve downward while the petals towards the center are more erect. The petals have darker purple tips which fade to white as it gets close to the center. At the very center of the petals is a small splash of yellow.

CAPTION: Blue flag iris


IMAGE 2 of 5: Group of people with ranger

DESCRIBING: A small, color, horizontal photograph.

SYNOPSIS: A small color photograph of a uniformed-ranger talking to approximately 15 people that appear to be middle-school students dressed in casual clothing.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Setting of ranger and people standing in grass covered sand area with wooded dune in distant background. Photo is placed to the right of a drawing of Blue flag iris on a blue-gray background page that consists of a collage of 3 small photographs and 2 drawings depicting West Beach.

CAPTION: Dune Succession Trail


IMAGE 3 of 5: Three people canoeing

DESCRIBING: A small, sepia-toned horizontal photograph.
SYNOPSIS: Three individuals sitting in a wooden boat floating on a calm body of water.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Three individuals in a wooden boat wear short-sleeved white shirts. The individual in the middle is wearing overalls. The shoreline appears to be bordered by tall trees. Photo is placed directly below the drawing of the irises and below and to the left of the ranger program photo. This photo on a blue-gray background page is a collage of 3 small photographs and 2 drawings depicting West Beach.

CAPTION: Canoeing on Long Lake in the old days


IMAGE 4 of 5: Great blue heron

DESCRIBING: A small photoshopped image of a Great blue heron.

SYNOPSIS: Small drawing of a Great blue heron depicted standing in water. Heron’s long yellow bill, S-shaped neck, bluish-grey and white feathers and partially submerged long legs are shown.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The Great blue heron's pointed yellow bill points to the left. Its yellow eyes follow the direction of the bill. A streak of teal blue adorn the top of the birds head. A grayish-black S-shaped neck give way to a blueish-white feather covered body. Half of the long, slender legs can be seen protruding from the water, implying the rest of the legs are below the waterline. Stretching out beyond the bird is a wavy shadow symbolizing ripples in the water.

CAPTION: Great blue heron


IMAGE 5 of 5: Two people walking on beach

DESCRIBING: A small, black-and-white horizontal photo.

SYNOPSIS: Two women carry a picnic basket on the beach beside the lake.

SYNOPSIS: Two women carry a woven picnic basket along the sandy beach. The woman on the right is dressed in a long-sleeved white shirt and darkly colored pants and boots. Her hair is short and blond and she has a large smile on her face. The woman on the left is wearing a light colored, long-sleeved shirt underneath medium-shaded overalls. Her shoulder-length hair is dark and curly. In the background a shirtless gentleman can be seen in a bathing suit close to the shoreline on the left side of the photo. On the right, in the background, a grass and tree covered dune slopes upward off camera.

CAPTION: Shore picnics are as popular now as ever before.



Swim, of course, but if it’s too cold, grill at the picnic shelter, or follow a trail through dunes and forest and learn about plant succession—how plant communities replace each other over time. In fall and spring see migrating waterfowl at Long Lake.


2 - Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk

IMAGE 1 of 2: Silhouette of bikers

DESCRIBING: A dark blue silhouetted image against a light blue background.

SYNOPSIS: An image of a pair of people standing next to their bicycles.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A pair of bike riders stand in silhouette against a blueish-gray faded scene; most likely standing with the bikes next to them looking out over scenery of park.

CAPTION: Bikes may go on main roads—or try one of these bike trails: Prairie Duneland, Porter Brickyard, Calumet, or Marquette.


IMAGE 2 of 2: Building

DESCRIBING: A small, colorful horizontal photo inset next to the bike rider silhouette.

SYNOPSIS: Picture focusing on Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk building showing brick construction, outside covered deck and white sloping roof constructed to fit into dune and lake landscape.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk pavilion was constructed to fit into the natural landscape of dune and lake by constructing the building of yellowish-brown bricks and a white sloping roof. The building's roof is constructed with a swooping, bowed wave, representing the changing lake. Atop the roof is a cylinder shape stack of similar yellowish-brown bricks. In front of the building is a field of low-growing, green marram grass. The Portage Lakefront building and adjoining outside deck and sitting areas offer space for ranger-led and community programs.

CAPTION: Portage Lakefront offers a certified “green” building for ranger-led and community programs.



Opened in 2008, this national park site also features a riverwalk, accessible fishing pier, accessible hike and bike trails, seasonal food service, ample parking, and a breakwater.


3 - Cowles Bog

IMAGE 1 of 2: Four people smiling

DESCRIBING: A small, unbound, faded-blueish gray photograph against a lighter-blueish gray background.

SYNOPSIS: A silhouetted photograph of four smiling individuals from the turn of the 20th century.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Four smiling faces and torsos surround a “no trespassing” sign. They appear off-blue in color because the graphic was made from a sepia-toned image and superimposed onto a blue-sky background. The two individuals on the right are darker in color than the two on the left. There is a man on either side of the sign. Two women appear lower than the men and in front of the sign. One woman has a darker dress while the other's is lighter. Everyone is wearing a hat and clothing circa 1900. The man on the right is identified as Professor Henry Chandler Cowles, University of Chicago professor by a text-box callout.

CAPTION: Henry C. Cowles and his students of plant ecology


IMAGE 2 of 2: Skunk cabbage

DESCRIBING: A small, vertical, rectangular, colored photograph of skunk cabbage plant.

SYNOPSIS: The broad green leafs of the skunk cabbage grow in a an area surrounded by wetlands.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Broad, green leaves of skunk cabbage stand in a handful of clumps near the center of the image. Dried, brown leaves surround the plants and extend into the foreground. Gray-ish brown, woody tree trunks are seen behind the skunk cabbage leaves, and the edge of a grassy wetland lines the background.

CAPTION: Skunk cabbage by a hiking trail



Want to tackle to park’s most rugged hike? The Cowles Bog Trail takes you on a five-mile trek through wetlands and over wooded dunes to an isolated beach.


4 - Bailly-Chellberg

IMAGE 1 of 5: Silhouette of windmill

DESCRIBING: A small, unbound silhouette of a historic Dempster-style windmill.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The silhouette of the rotating top of a metal, Dempster-style windmill constitutes the graphic. It appears off-blue in color because the graphic was made from a black and white image and superimposed onto a sky blue background.


IMAGE 2 of 5: Log building

DESCRIBING: A small, rectangular, vertical, historic, black and white photograph of a log building.

SYNOPSIS: A historic photograph of a two-story log building near the Bailly Homestead.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A circa 1930 photograph of a two-story, hand-hewn log building. A brick chimney extends above the peaked roof at center-right. Rich foliage bounds either side of the structure, but a clear, bright sky shines through above the peak. Dappled sunlight hits the face of the structure, and long horizontal beams are interrupted by a small, dark rectangular window on the center, front-face of the second floor. At the center, bottom-front stands a dark, rectangular door. The bottom of the postcard reads “Bailly’s Homestead, near Chesterton.”

CAPTION: Log building at Bailly Homestead


IMAGE 3 of 5: Five people in portrait

DESCRIBING: A small, rectangular, vertical, historic, black and white photograph of five people.

SYNOPSIS: A formal photograph of the Chellberg family taken around 1900.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A man and woman, seated in the center of the photograph, are Anders and Johanna Chellberg. Three Chellberg children stand behind their parents, two men on either side with a woman in the back center. Everyone in the photograph is wearing dark, formal attire circa 1900. The three men wear suits with coats. The two young men have white shirts under their suit jacket. Both women wear dark, black dresses. They stand in front of two windows, lined with dark, thin trim, on the wall that constitutes the background. Long dark curtains are visible along the left edge of the left-side window, and along the right edge of the right-side window. Illegible, cursive writing fills the white space at the bottom of the photograph occupying roughly fifteen percent of the entire image.

CAPTION: Chellberg family portrait


IMAGE 4 of 5: Ring toss

DESCRIBING: Small, frameless image of a ring toss game.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A wooden dowel stands affixed to an X-shaped wooden base. A natural-fibered rope in the shape of a ring is resting on the wooden base with the wooden dowel standing in the center of the rope circle. It is casting a shadow against the blue background.

CAPTION: Historic ring toss


IMAGE 5 of 5: Butterfly

DESCRIBING: A small, colored, rectangular, horizontal photograph of a monarch butterfly.

SYNOPSIS: A monarch butterfly is perched atop yellow flowers.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A large, orange, white and black Monarch butterfly rests on a cluster of small, bright yellow flowers. It is using its black proboscis to consume energy-rich nectar from the flower. The butterfly's body is black white white spots. Its wings swoop up and back behind the body. The wings have large areas of orange with black lines running through it. The tips of the wings are also black and dotted with white. Behind the butterfly is a blurry prairie landscape with light green plants, many yellow flowers, and tall grass stems. Beyond the prairie making a dark band across the back of the image is a forest’s edge, all sitting under a pale blue sky.

CAPTION: Monarch butterfly in Mnoké Prairie



Explore this 1820s fur trading post and 1900-era Swedish farmstead. A trail winds through or by diverse habitats: the Mnoké Prairie, Little Calumet River, and beech/maple woodland. Check the park website for event schedules.


5 - Glenwood Dunes

IMAGE 1 of 2: People riding horses

DESCRIBING: A small vertical color photo.

SYNOPSIS: A photograph of a group of people wearing helmets, riding horses along the trail during the spring, in a green forest of tall and slender trees over a grassy terrain.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This photo shows a group of people, including one child, and a total of two horses walking along a trail in a forest filled with tall slender trees. The horses are both dark-brown and have long dark tails. The rider in the front horse is wearing a red sweatshirt and blue jeans. Two individuals ride the second horse. The taller individual is wearing a gray sweatshirt and light-blue jeans. The young child, seated in the back, has on a black sweatshirt and light-blue jeans. There is a small body of water in the background, and another dense line of green trees along the horizon on a bright and sunny day. At the bottom left, a small green bush hides the legs of the closest horse.


IMAGE 2 of 2: Poison ivy

DESCRIBING: A small, frameless illustration super-imposed on a blue background.

SYNOPSIS: A photo of the green compound leaf of poison ivy.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: It’s composed of three green leaflets, one pointing right, one pointing left and the last pointing down. All are slightly tilted to the right along the branch. The leaves are all oval shaped and are pointed at their tips. The left leaf is overlapping a photo of people riding a horse.

CAPTION: Ask a ranger how to identify poison ivy.



This trail for all seasons offers hiking, horseback riding, or winter skiing through the wooded dunes and wetlands. Bring your own horse or skis.


6 - Lake View

IMAGE 1 of 3: Person on kayak

DESCRIBING: A small colorful picture with pink – orange hue.

SYNOPSIS: An up close single backlit person in kayak out in lake with just the water and an orange-tinted sky and sun showing.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A person is on a kayak on the lake. The lake's water has few ripples. The individual's arms are outstretched, holding a paddle above the water line. The sky is bright orange with the yellow-orange sun directly in the middle at the top of the photo.

CAPTION: Kayaking on the Lake Michigan Water Trail


IMAGE 2 of 3: People sitting on beach

DESCRIBING: A small black-and-white photograph.

SYNOPSIS: Black and white photograph of five people, men and women, posing for a photo while picnicking on the beach. Some temporary structures can be seen in the distance.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Five individuals are seated on a blanket upon the sand. All five people are wearing a hat. The gentleman on the left is squatting down for the photo. He is wearing a dark suit with a white undershirt and dark colored bowtie. He is wearing a dark beret. To the right of the gentleman are two women, seating on a blanket, both wearing dark colored hats. One woman is wearing a light-colored heavy jacket. She has a white napkin in her lap. The next woman is wearing a dark colored heavy jacket. Next to her is a small child with a dark colored had and jacket. Next to the child is the another woman, wearing a medium-toned hat and long jacket. In the background a temporary wooden structure-like cabin can be seen.

CAPTION: Picnic on Lake Michigan


IMAGE 3 of 3: Sunset on beach

DESCRIBING: A small, vertical colorful photograph of a Lake Michigan sunset.

SYNOPSIS: The setting sun produces brilliant colors as it fades over the lake against the dune landscape.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The setting sun illuminates and casts shadows upon the landscape. The left third of the photo shows a dark dune landscape. To the right, purple tinted water laps against a zig-zagged shoreline. The sun sets off-center not he horizon casting the sky into a brilliant orangish-pink.

CAPTION: Lake View sunsets reveal just one reason why Indiana Dunes is one of the only national parks to have “inspiration” as part of its mission.



Lake View picnic area (wheelchair-accessible) overlooks Lake Michigan and offers shelters. Or park here and witness stunning sunset views. Lakeview has a small parking lot; size approximately 20 cars and fills early. It provides no beach access at time of this writing due to high water levels but close views, breezes and sounds of Lake Michigan are readily accessible.


7 - Dunewood Campground

DESCRIBING: An old faded black and white oval photo.

SYNOPSIS: A black and white photo of a family camping in the wilderness.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: In the center of the photo are three individuals; two children, and one adult female. One child is smiling while sitting on the ground wearing shorts and a sleeveless dark-colored shirt, and the other, in the same attire, is standing grasping a bucket in the right hand, while looking down at the other child. The adult is standing behind the children folding a blanket. A large square shaped tent with a triangular roof and four vertical sides are behind the family. The tent is taller than the adult, and has a shaded canopy protruding from the door. There is a forest of shaded trees in the background. On the left, in the foreground of the photo, is a large leafy bush, and on the right, is a picnic table with a large tarp draped over the top.

CAPTION: Camping in the days before lightweight gear, 1929



The campground is just over a mile south of Lake Michigan and offers modern wheelchair-accessible restrooms and showers and wooded sites. Open April through October. Reserve your site (fees) at


8 - Mount Baldy

IMAGE 1 of 3: Mount Baldy

DESCRIBING: A small color horizontal photograph.

SYNOPSIS: The viewpoint is near the bottom of a large sand dune, that has marram grass sparsely positioned on the right, and along the top, which includes three cottonwood trees, reaching up into a clear blue sky.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A dune of yellow sand rises up toward the skyline. Footprints can be seen around the base and sides of the dune. The dune continues off to both the left and right of the photograph. The ridge line of the dune extends from the middle-left to the upper-right corner. A start amount of marram grass grows along the right side of the dune. Three cottonwood tree's, filled with green leaves, grow along the top of the dune. The sky fades from a light-blue on the left to a deep-dark blue on the right.

CAPTION: Mount Baldy


IMAGE 2 of 3: Cottonwood leaf

DESCRIBING: A small, frameless color photo of a leaf.

SYNOPSIS: A single, green leaf from the cottonwood tree is superimposed upon the top left portion of a photo of a dune and set against a blue background.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The waxy, green leaf and stem from a cottonwood tree extends into a portion of a photo of a dune. The lightly-green colored stem is at the top of the photo. The leaf, shaped like a heart, is dark green and has jagged edges. The bottom comes to a point. Light-green colored veins extend outward into the flesh of the leaf.

CAPTION: Cottonwood trees, like people, love to be near water.


IMAGE 3 of 3: Bank swallows

DESCRIBING: A medium-sized, superimposed blueish-gray monochrome image of a small bird.

SYNOPSIS: A small bank wall perches atop of tiny bare stem. It's wings extend outward behind it.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A tiny bank swallow clings the top of a bare stem. The bird has a white belly and chin. The back and top of the head are a darker color. Its wings extend outward behind it. The top of the wings are darker than the bottom.

CAPTION: Watch for the bank swallows who nest in dunes.



Don’t miss Mount Baldy, this national park area’s most dynamic dune. It stands 126 feet tall.


9 - Pinhook Bog

IMAGE 1 of 2: Dragonfly

DESCRIBING: A large vertical, color photograph of a dragonfly.

SYNOPSIS: A dark green dragonfly sits atop a single green blade of grass.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A single dark green dragonfly sits atop a long green blade of grass. Its tail, pointing upward towards the top of the grass, has a single gold marking approximately 1/3 the length of the tail from the tip. Extending from the body of the dragonfly are four dark-gray, translucent, wings, two wings on each side of the dragonfly. Each wing has a single black rectangular-shaped marking along the top edge at the tip of the wing. The four of the dragonfly's thin, dark legs grasp the edge of the leaf blade; the frontmost two legs extend outward. Its head is oval-shaped and has a large marking of white in the front. This image has an image of an orange flower superimposed over it.

CAPTION: Dot-tailed whiteface dragonfly


IMAGE 2 of 2: Orange flower

DESCRIBING: A small, horizontal color photograph of an orange flower.

SYNOPSIS: The petals of the orange-fringed orchid bloom against a dark green backdrop.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The petals of the bloom against and unfocused green backdrop. A number of colorful stems protrude from the center of the flower. Each stem contains a set of 3-5 flat, orange petals. The bottom-most petal is much longer than the other petals and has several small hair-like appendages dangling from it.

CAPTION: Orange-fringed orchid



You can tour this fascinating bog—the gift of one huge chunk of stranded ice age ice—only on a ranger-led tour. The habitat is fragile. All you see rests on sphagnum moss, even the boardwalk and trees. Call the visitor center to find out when the next tour is offered.


TEXT: Regulations and Safety

Lake Michigan can be deadly, as high waves, rip currents, and sharp drop-offs along the lake bottom kill the unwary. Heed posted warnings. Swim at your own risk.

More people die at railroad crossings than in the lake. Do not drive by lighted signals or crossing gates.

Plants, animals, and all natural and cultural features are protected by federal law. Private lands exist in the parklands; respect all private property and do not trespass.

For firearms regulations, and more safety regulations and information, please see The Singing Sands free park newspaper, or the park website.


TEXT: Emergencies

For emergencies, criminal, or suspicious activities, please call, 800 PARK Tip, (800-727-5847) or 9-1-1.


TEXT: Visitor Center

The Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, located on 1215 Indiana State 49, Porter, Indiana, 46304, is just south of US 20, and is open every day but Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and January 1. Find all of your orientation needs here. Talk to a ranger and learn about the park’s locations, activities, programs, and nearby attractions. There is a short film about the park, and the surrounding region, at the center's theater. Spend some time in the activity room and check out the gift shop.


TEXT: Beach and Much More

The map shows various access points to the park’s 15 miles of beaches, and the National Park Service areas not connected to the main park location, including Heron Rookery, and Pinhook Bog. Their landscapes and waterscapes are important reasons why Congress preserved the area for this, and future generations.


TEXT: Environmental Education and Other Special Things To Do

The Paul H. Douglas Center offers day-use environmental education, interactive nature programs, and learning activities. Unique live animals and exhibits can be found here. You can journey across the pond on our walkway bridge along the trail in Miller Woods. Children can also explore the outdoor Nature Play Zone, which has hands-on features specifically inspired by the park's habitat.

The Dunes Learning Center is a residential facility for schools and other organizations. Call 219-926-7561 (day programs); 219-395-9555 (residential programs); or go to


TEXT: Restrooms

Seasonal restrooms are available at all sites except the Heron Rookery.


OVERVIEW: More Information

Indiana Dunes National Park is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. To learn more about national parks and National Park Service programs in America’s communities, visit

Start your journey by getting information at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center located at 1215 SR-49, Porter, Indiana, 46304.

Or contact:

PHONE: 219-395-1882


Please Note: Indiana Dunes State Park has different regulations, charges fees, and takes reservations. For state park information contact 219-926-1952 or

Join the park community at the National Park Foundation, visit

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304


219 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

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