Street Address / Road Intersection
RestrictionsNo bicycles or motorized vehicles allowed. Pets are permitted on a leash (6' or shorter). Parking lots are open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 30 minutes past sunset.
OverviewThe Little Calumet River / Mnoké Prairie Trail, Bailly Homestead / Chellberg Farm Trail and Bailly Cemetery Trailreveal the rich natural diversity that has drawn people to this area for over 10,000 years. Hike through a forest dominated by maple, beech, basswood, and oak trees. Follow a stretch of the Little Calumet River, once a critical transportation route for early regional travelers, and explore the recently restored Mnoké Prairie for a glimmer of the vast stretches of pre-settlement grasslands.
Need To KnowThe trail is not wheelchair accessible. The trail surface is mainly packed dirt and wood chips with some section of stairs. There are year-round restrooms and potable water sources at the main Bailly / Chellberg parking lot. Stay on the trail to protect the wildlife and yourself. Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves, and tuck long pants into socks to avoid ticks and poison ivy.
DescriptionThis loop hike combines elements from all three trails. Start at the Bailly / Chellberg parking lot and head north on the Bailly Homestead / Chellberg Farm Trail. At the north edge of Chellberg farm, pick up the Bailly Cemetery Trail. This trail will wind through a small ravine. After a third of a mile, turn left onto theLittle Calumet River / Mnoké Prairie Trail(note that a 0.6 mile roundtrip extension can be added up to the Bailly Cemetery and back at this point).
The trail will head through mature forests and make its way down to the Little Calumet River. After crossing the boardwalk and bridge, the trail will open up into the Mnoké Prairie. After nearly a mile in the prairie, the trail will pick up Howe Road long enough to cross back over the river and up the driveway of the Bailly Homestead. Hike north through the homestead and pick up the trail to the northeast back to the parking lot.
Additional History: The Bailly Homestead, a National Historic Landmark (1962), was the home of Honore Gratien Joseph Bailly de Messein (1774 - 1835). Bailly played a role in the development of the Calumet Region of northern Indiana. He was an independent trader in the extensive fur-trading network that spread from Montreal to Louisiana, and ultimately to Europe. Joseph Bailly was one of the earliest settlers in northern Indiana. In 1822, Bailly set up his fur trading post at the crossroads of several important trails. The Bailly Homesteadcomplex is the last remaining site of its nature in the Calumet Region.
In the 1870s, Swedish immigrants Anders and Johanna "Kjellberg" bought 80 acres to establish a modest family farm. They were the first of three generations of the Chellberg Family to make their living here. In the 1930s, the Chellbergs started to tap the many maple trees on their property for the production of maple syrup.
The Annual Maple Sugar Time event in early March (first two weekends) features the evolution of "maple sugaring" in Northwest Indiana from an early American Indian method, to the pioneer method of boiling sap in open iron kettles, to the relatively modern commercial method of producing syrup. The national lakeshore is the only NPS unit that makes maple syrup.
History & BackgroundThe national lakeshore was established in 1966 to preserve for the educational, inspirational, and recreational use of the public, certain portions of the Indiana Dunes and other areas of scenic, scientific, and historic interest and recreational value in the state of Indiana. About two million annual visitors enjoy the park’s 15,000 acres of wetlands, prairies, sand dunes, oak savannas, forests, and historic sites. The park’s beach hugs the southern shore of Lake Michigan from Gary, IN, to Michigan City, IN. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/maps.htm.
ContactsLand Manager: NPS - Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Last updated: June 19, 2018