Mount Baldy Trails

Mount Baldy Trail
 


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

The Beach Trail hike (unrestricted access) is short hike with a steep climb down loose sand to the beach. Be sure to plan accordingly as the only way out is up the steep trail. Do not bring large cooler and other beach items as the climb up from the beach is difficult.

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

  • Hours – Open daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm.
  • Free – No entrance or parking fee.
  • Hike Length – 0.75 miles.
  • Hike Time – 1 hour.
  • Difficulty – Moderate to rugged with the approach to the beach being very steep loose sand.
  • Trail Surface – Packed dirt with sections of loose sand. Use caution when hiking the beach trail to Mount Baldy Beach. The dune and shoreline are in a constant state of change from the weather and lake levels. Obey all trail markers and warning signs to be safe. The summit of Mount Baldy remains closed except during ranger-led programs.
  • Facilities – Year-round restrooms and potable water.
  • Pets – Permitted on a leash (6' or shorter).
  • Prohibited – Littering and hunting.
  • Prohibited – Bicycles and motorized vehicles.
  • Prohibited – Removing plants, rocks, shells, and fossils.
  • Prohibited Glass and fires on the beach.
  • The parking lot is paved.
  • There is a picnic shelter and two additional picnic tables at the parking lot. First come, first served. No advance reservations.
  • Restricted Access. The Summit Trail hike is short with a steep climb up loose sand to reach the top of Mount Baldy. Access to the Mount Baldy Summit Trail requires accompaniment by authorized staff. There are ranger-led daytime and sunset hikes on weekends throughout the summer and at other times of the year. Hike dates and times are available on the park's website calendar, Facebook page, or by contacting the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.
Safety
  • Please stay on the trail and respect closed area signs. Going off trail damages fragile habitat.
  • Ticks are present year-round. Take precautionary measures to prevent bites.
  • Poison ivy can be present on the edges of the trail.
  • Be prepared for changing weather conditions.
  • In case of an emergency or to report a crime, call 1-800-PARK-TIP.
Accessibility

  • Trails and picnic shelter are not wheelchair accessible. Restrooms and picnic tables are accessible.
 

Trail Map

Click here for a list of all hiking trail maps of the Indiana Dunes National Park.
Download a national parks interactive trail guide phone app. Apple or Android.
Paper trail maps are available at the trailhead kiosk and the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

 
Mount Baldy Beach Trail Map
Mount Baldy Trail Map
Indiana Dunes National Park Hiking Trails
 


Featured Hikes
Mount Baldy Beach Trail
0.75 miles, 75 feet of elevation gain, 4% average grade, 13% maximum grade
Hike time: 1 hour


The featured hike is an out and back trail. Starting at the parking lot trail head, Hike to the staircase along the entrance road. At the top of the stairs the trail will turn right and go around the west side of Mount Baldy. At the trail junction, stay straight and follow the trail to the edge of the dune. Enjoys the sweeping views of Lake Michigan. The trail down to the beach is a scramble down loose sand. Please make sure that you able to climb back up as it is the only way out. Once to the beach, hike in either direction. Please stay on the beach.To get back to the parking lot, follow the trail you used to get down to the beach and retrace the trail.

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 mph. 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 Park.
 

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: April 22, 2020

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