1966 Hiking Challenge: Heron Rookery

A Canada goose sits among plants along a green-tinged river. An icon with a pair of silhouetted hikers against a dunes landscape reads: 1966 Hiking Challenge, Indiana Dunes National Park. Underneath reads: are you up to the challenge? 19 hikes, 66 miles
Find inspiration in these wonderful woods along the Little Calumet River. The Heron Rookery Trail takes you beneath towering oak, maple, tulip and sycamore trees of the river’s rich floodplain. Renowned for its diversity of springtime plants, the first flowers appear in March alongside the last lumps of snow. Later into spring, the ground is blanketed in petals of all shapes and colors. This parade of riverside blooms slows when tree leaves emerge but continues until the trees are adorned in their showy autumn colors. In winter, a soft layer of snow tucks the serene woodland in until next 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 Main (east) parking lot and was scheduled for Saturday, May 11th 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 Lots
Main (east) Lot: 1336 600 East, Michigan City, IN 46360

Trailhead GPS Coordinates
East Lot: 41.627043, -86.952446 (Decimal Degrees)

Need to Know

  • Hours – Open daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm.
  • Passes are required.
  • Hike Length – 3.3 miles.
  • Hike Time – 1.5 to 2 hours.
  • Difficulty – Easy with no change in elevation.
  • Trail Surface – Packed dirt and clay. Trail can be very slippery 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.
  • The main (east) parking lot is gravel and is large enough for buses & RV's to park.
Map of the Heron Rookery trail with alterations that show a hiking route starting from the east parking lot, out to the west lot, and back again to the east lot for a 3.3 mile round trip

Last updated: February 26, 2024

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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