1966 Hiking Challenge: Great Marsh

Flock of tall birds in the water surrounded by marshy plants and a forest.

The Great Marsh Trail gives visitors the opportunity to connect with an extensive stretch of wetland that has laid in the heart of the sand dunes for thousands of years. Once considered impassable, today an old network of berms takes you above the saturated soils that support this verdant expanse. Buttery marsh marigolds blossom in spring as a cascade of migratory birds return to the region. Later in summer, playful otters splash under fragrant pink hibiscus and hummingbirds visit the deep red cardinal flower. Under winter’s ice and snow, snapping turtles wait patiently in the mud for the return of spring.

The 1966 Hiking Challenge is comprised of 19 hikes that cover 66 miles of trail in the park- celebrating the park’s founding in 1966. The ranger-led hike for this trail met at the Great Marsh parking lot and was scheduled for Saturday, September 14th at 8:00 AM. Do not worry if you cannot make each of the 19 ranger-led hikes. A check-off sheet will be available at the Visitor Center or the the Paul H. Douglas Center for those who complete the hikes on their own.

REMINDER: Information found on this page is specific to the 1966 Hiking Challenge


  • Please visit Trail Safety for tips and reminders to ensure your adventure is both safe and enjoyable
  • Ranger-led hikes occur rain or shine and are only canceled in inclement weather such as high winds or thunderstorms when conditions are unsafe

Getting There

Trailhead Parking Lot
North of U.S. Highway 12 on Broadway Avenue, Beverly Shores, IN 46301

Trailhead GPS Coordinates
South Lot: 41.674825, -86.986607 (Decimal Degrees)

Need to Know

  • Hours – Open daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm.
  • Passes are required.
  • Hike Length – 4 miles [extended route for hiking challenge]
  • Hike Time – 2.5 hours.
  • Difficulty – Easy with no change in elevation.
  • Trail Surface – Packed dirt and grass with some sections of gravel. Trail can be very wet and muddy.
  • Facilities – No restrooms or potable water.
  • Pets – Permitted on a leash (6' or shorter).
  • Prohibited – Littering, hunting, and removing plants.
  • Prohibited – Bicycles and motorized vehicles.
  • Main trailhead is at the south parking lot.
  • The south parking lot is gravel.
Great Marsh Trail 1966 Map

Start at the gravel parking lot. Hike the box of the Great Marsh trail, stop at the overlook, and head out to broadway. Hike north to Beverly. Then hike west to the dirt berm that is almost to East State Park Road. Then hike back east to Broadway and then south on Broadway to the parking lot.

Last updated: April 15, 2024

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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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