Mount Baldy Trail System

Mount Baldy Trail
 


Getting There
Need to Know
Trail Map
Featured Hikes
Nearby Hikes
Photos

The Summit Trail hike is short with a steep climb up loose sand to reach the top of Mount Baldy (restricted access, reservation required). The views are incredible as you hike on top of the barren (or bald) sand dune. Follow the ranger in order to protect the fragile dune.

The Beach Trail hike (unrestricted access) is also short with a steep climb up loose sand to reach the beach. Be sure plan accordingly.

Trail Features: Views, Lake Michigan
Must See Gems: Views from the top of Mount Baldy

 

Getting There
Trailhead Parking Lot
101 Rice Street (U.S. Highway 12), Michigan City, IN 46360

Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.706852, -86.929907 (Decimal Degrees)
 


Need to Know

Hours & Information

  • Restricted Access. Access to the Mount Baldy Summit Trail requires accompaniment by authorized staff. There are ranger-led daytime and sunset hikes on weekends in the summer. Hike dates and times are listed in the park's newspaper The Singing Sands, on the park's website calendar, and the park's Facebook Events page.
  • The ranger-led hikes are free (no access fee).
  • Please stay with the ranger when hiking on top of Mount Baldy to protect the fragile environment.
  • Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed.
  • Pets are permitted on a leash (6' or shorter).
  • Trail is not wheelchair accessible.
  • Trail surface is loose sand. You will get sand in your shoes or boots.
  • There are restrooms and a potable water source that are open during tours.
  • The parking lot is closed except during guided tours. The lot is paved and holds 100 cars and three buses.
  • The Mount Baldy Beach and trail is open but the dune is closed for public safety and dune protection..

Safety

  • Stay on the beach 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.
 


Beach Trail Map
Click here for a list of all hiking trail maps of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Download a national parks interactive trail guide phone app. Apple or Android.
Paper trail maps are available at the trailhead kiosk and the Visitor Center.
 
Mount Baldy Beach Trail Map 2017
Click on the map for a full trail map PDF.
 


Featured Hikes
Mount Baldy Summit Trail
0.8 miles, 55 feet of elevation gain, 4% average grade, 13% maximum grade
Average hiking time: 1 hour

The featured hike is an out and back trail. Starting at the parking lot trailhead, take the trail around the west side of Mount Baldy. At the trail junction, turn right and follow the trail to the base of the dune. The trail up Mount Baldy is a scramble up loose sand. There is often a rope that can be used to pull oneself up the final stretch. Once at the top, be sure to follow the ranger, as there are no trail markers. It is important not to step on any plants, as they are needed to stabilize the dune. To get back to the parking lot, follow the trail back off Mount Baldy and turn left at the trail junction.

History and Background
Mount Baldy is 126 feet above the water level of Lake Michigan and is moving inland at about 4 feet per year. Beach sand on the dune moves when the prevailing northwest wind exceeds 7 m.p.h. The movement of Mount Baldy is made worse because there is no longer sand collecting at the water's edge to bolster the dune. Beach erosion is taking away more sand from Mount Baldy than the waves are bringing in due to the breakwall that was built for the Michigan City Harbor. To try and correct the effect of the breakwall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began feeding the beach in 1974.

Thus far there have been four replenishments of sand to Mount Baldy:

1974, fine sand trucked in.
1983, coarse sand trucked in.
1996, early summer, 35,000 cubic yards of sand slurried in by pipe from the harbor.
1996, late summer, 50,000 cubic yards of sand trucked in.
 

Nearby Hikes
Dune Ridge
Great Marsh
Glenwood Dunes

Click
here for a list of all hiking trails in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
 

Photos
 
Mount Baldy is on the verge of covering the parking lot.
Mount Baldy is on the verge of covering the parking lot.
 
Mount Baldy Trail
Sweeping views of  Lake Michigan from the Mount Baldy trail.
 
Mount Baldy Trail
Great views from the top of Mount Baldy.
 
Mount Baldy Trail
Mount Baldy is moving inland consuming trees along the way.

Last updated: December 22, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304

Phone:

(219) 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

Contact Us