1966 Hiking Challenge: Marquette Trail

Wooded dune slope with lush vegetation underneath. Beams of light pour through the oak trees and light up the sassafras shrubs below. Prairie phlox blooms in foreground.
Beams of light filter through the oak savanna growing on a vegetated dune. Little splashes of pink prairie phlox dot the base of the dune.

Photograph by Zachary Lindeman

With a unique pattern of alternating sand ridges and lush wetlands, Miller Woods is an enchanting landscape of diversity. Delight your senses as you travel through this globally-rare topography known as ridge and swale on the Marquette Trail. This trail follows an abandoned railroad bed that brings visitors from Miller Woods to West Beach. Watch for acrobatic swallows as they criss-cross above Long Lake in search of a winged-meal.

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 Paul H. Douglas Center's parking lot and was scheduled for Saturday, August 3rd 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
100 North Lake Street, Gary, IN 46403

Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.606466, -87.268527 (Decimal Degrees)

Need to Know

  • There may be a detour on Lake Street due to construction; but Douglas Center and parking areas remain open.
  • Hours – Open daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm.
  • Passes are required.
  • Hike Length – 5.3 miles (to West Beach and back)
  • Hike Time – 2.5 hours.
  • Difficulty – Easy; gravel railroad bed.
  • Trail Surface – Gravel
  • Facilities – Year-round restrooms and potable water in the Paul H. Douglas Center during open hours.
  • 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.
  • Parking lot is paved and large enough for RVs and buses.
1966 Hiking Challenge Marquette Trail Overview
HIke from the Douglas Center to the Auto Shop and back.

Last updated: April 15, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304


219 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

Contact Us