Miller Woods Trail System

Miller Woods Trail
 


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

The Miller Woods Trail winds through several habitats including wetlands, globally rare oak savanna, open dunes and beach. The views of the lake and the dunes are incredible. The oak savanna's native grasses and wildflowers, including lupine, thrive in the sunlight and open forest floor. The wild lupine, the only food for the caterpillar of the endangered karner blue butterfly, grows close to the trail. Please stay single file on the narrow trail to protect yourself from the abundant poison ivy along the trail edges as well as the fragile lupine habitat.

Trail Features: Birding, Fall Colors, Lake, River, Swimming, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife
Must See Gems: Dunes and Lake Michigan

 

Getting There

Trailhead Parking Lots
100 North Lake Street, Gary, IN 46403

Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.606466, -87.268527 (Decimal Degrees)

 

Need to Know
Hours & Information

  • The Paul Douglas Center and main parking lot are open in the summer everyday from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Memorial Day to Labor Day). In the winter, the open hours are Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and closed on Sundays.
  • The trail system and west parking lot are open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 30 minutes past sunset.
  • Free (no access fee).
  • The main parking lot is paved and has 40 spots.
  • The small west parking lot is gravel and has 3 spots.
  • Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed.
  • Pets are permitted on a leash (6' or shorter).
  • The main trail is not wheelchair accessible.
  • There is a short paved trail off the back of the Paul Douglas Center that is wheelchair accessible.
  • Trail surface is mostly loose sand with some sections of packed dirt.
  • Year round restrooms and potable water are available in the Paul Douglas Center during open hours.
Safety
  • Stay on the 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.
 


Trail Map

Click here for a PDF of the Miller Woods 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.

 
Miller Woods Trail Map
Click on the map for a full trail map PDF.
 

Featured Hikes
Miller Woods Trail
3.4 miles, 46 feet of elevation gain, 1% average grade, 4% maximum grade
Average hike time: 2.5 hours

This featured hike is essentially an out and back trail. Starting from the Paul Douglas Center, take the trail north or counter-clockwise around the wetland complex. Look for wildlife including beavers. The trail will run west along the top of the wetland. At the trail junction, take a right and follow the trail to the north. The trail from this point is an out and back to the beach. The trail features beautiful scenery with small interdunal ponds nestled among oak savanna covered dunes teeming with wildflowers in the spring and summer.

Once you cross the bridge over the Grand Calumet River, the landscape changes dramatically into a world of towering sand dunes. The trail winds around and through the dunes all the way the shore of Lake Michigan. After enjoying the lake, follow the trail back to the junction at the wetland complex. Follow the trail to the right along the wetland back to the Paul Douglas Center.

The trail surface is mostly sand with some sections of packed soil, gravel or boardwalk. The hike will take longer than you think due the loose footing of walking in the sand. The trail starts in relative shade but ends in the full sun. Please bring plenty of water, sun protection and dress in layers. The weather on the beach can be dramatically colder or hotter than in the woods.

History & Background
The Miller Woods trail is a partnership between the National Park Service and the City of Gary, IN.

 

Nearby Hikes
West Beach
Tolleston Dunes
Hobart Woods

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

Photos
 
Miller Woods Trail
Crossing the Grand Calumet River.
 
Miller Woods Trail
Incredible landscape at Miller Woods.
 
Miller Woods Trail
Oak savanna to the left, open dunes to the right.
 
Miller Woods Trail
Interdunal pond in the oak savanna.
 
Miller Woods Trail
Interdunal pond in the open dunes.

Last updated: November 8, 2016

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