THING TO DO

Hiking Indiana Dunes

Hiking the Dunes
14 trails in one of the most diverse habitats. Trek over 50 miles of beautiful scenery!

Jeff Manuszak

Discover much more than just sand dunes as you hike through 14 distinct trail systems covering more than 50 miles of trails. A wide variety of hiking trails traverse the various habitats and cultural history of Indiana Dunes National Park. The varying lengths and difficulty levels make it easy to choose the trail that's right for you. From a short easy stroll to a challenging all-day trek, most of the trails are open all year and the hiking experience will change with each season. Paper trail maps are available at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education, and at each trailhead kiosk.
Details
Pets are members of our families, but there are some things you should be aware of before bringing your pet to the park.
 
  • Pets must be restrained on a leash no longer than 6 feet (2 meters).
  • Pet owners are responsible for removing pet waste everywhere in the park.
  • Pets are not allowed on the Pinhook Bog Trail, but are allowed on the Pinhook Upland Trail.
  • Pets are not allowed on the equestrian portion of the Glenwood Dunes Trail system.
  • Pets should not be left unattended in a vehicle, especially in the summer. High temperatures in a car can kill pets.

  • Service animals are an exception to these rules and may accompany their owner to all park locations.

Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.
Accessibility Information
Great Trails with Accessible Views

Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk, a predominantly cement walkway and provides a nice path on nearby terrain. The pier is designed for universal access and is a great spot for bird watching.

Paul H. Douglas Center has fully accessible walking and allows visitors to view two marsh areas, picnic area, and a play zone.

West Beach provides a ramp down to the sand and has easy access to restrooms and picnic shelters

Lake View allows visitors of all abilities to enjoy great views of the lake and accessible picnic shelters.
 

14 Hiking Trail Systems
Bailly Homestead, Chellberg Farm, Little Calumet River and Mnoké Prairie Trails Featured hike: Easy to moderate, 3.4 miles in length, hike time of 2.5 hours.Hike through a forest dominated by maple, beech, basswood and oak trees. Follow a stretch of the Little Calumet River and explore the recently restored Mnoké Prairie. Explore the historic Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm.

Calumet Dunes Trail Featured hike: Easy, 0.5 miles in length, hike time of 20 minutes.This short hike on a paved trail features the Calumet Dunes ridge, which was the shoreline of Lake Michigan over 12,000 years ago.

Cowles Bog Trail Featured hike: Moderate to rugged, 4.7 miles in length, hike time of 4 hours.This hike highlights an area of such outstanding plant diversity that it was designated as a National Natural Landmark. Explore several distinct habitats including ponds, marshes, swamps, black oak savannas and beaches.

Dune Ridge Trail Featured hike: Moderate, 0.7 miles in length, hike time of 30 minutes.This hike offers great views of the extensive wetlands and forests south of this tall, forested dune. Perhaps no other area in the national park will take you through as many diverse habitats in such a short trail.

Glenwood Dunes Trails Featured hike: Moderate, 6.8 miles in length, hike time of 4 hours.This extensive trail system features interconnected loops in mature woods ranging from less than a mile to nearly 15 miles and is popular with hikers, runners, horseback riders and cross-country skiers.

Great Marsh Trail Featured hike: Easy, 1.3 miles in length, hike time of 1 hour.A really nice birding hike with views of the largest wetland complex in the Lake Michigan watershed. Features a separate wheelchair accessible paved trail with quick access to an observation deck.

Heron Rookery Trail Featured hike: Easy, 3.3 miles in length, hike time of 2 hours.This hike follows a portion of the Little Calumet River. In the spring, the woodlands along this trail are blanketed with the most extensive display of spring wildflowers in the national park.

Hobart Prairie Grove Trails Hobart Woodland hike: Easy, 2.2 miles in length, hike time of 1.5 hours.This hike has views of forested ravines, bur oak savanna, and scenic Lake George.Oak Savannah Bike Trail hike: Easy, 4 miles in length, hike time of 2 hours.This paved rail trail offers scenic views of Lake George and mature forests and is great for hiking and biking.

Mount Baldy Beach Trail Featured hike: Moderate to rugged, 0.75 miles in length, hike time of 1 hour.This hike is short with a steep climb down loose sand to reach Mount Baldy beach.

Paul H. Douglas Trail (Miller Woods) Featured hike: Moderate, 3.4 miles in length, hike time of 2 hours.This hike through Miller Woods winds through several habitats including wetlands, globally rare black oak savanna, open dunes and beach. The views of the lake and the dunes are incredible.

Pinhook Bog Trails Upland hike: Moderate, 2.1 miles in length, hike time of 1.5 hours.The Upland Trail highlights a rich beech and maple forest growing on top of a glacial moraine formed about 15,000 years ago. The Upland Hike is open to the public year round without the need for a guided tour.Bog hike*: Easy, 0.9 miles in length, hike time of 1 hour.The Bog Trail leads to a bog in a depression in the moraine created when a large piece of ice broke off the melting glacier. The bog features an incredible habitat with unique plants.*Restricted Access. Access to Pinhook Bog requires advance approval and accompaniment by authorized staff. There are ranger-led open houses on weekends in the summer. Program dates and times can be obtained by calling the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center at (219) 395-1882. Information is also listed in the park's newspaper The Singing Sands and on the park's website calendar and Facebook page.

Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk Trail Featured hike: Easy, 0.9 miles in length, hike time of 45 minutes.This popular location is a great place to view the ever-changing seasons along Lake Michigan and watch dramatic weather and clouds build over the lake. It's an easy location to watch for migrating birds in the spring and summer, and observe shelf ice that forms along the beach edge in the winter.

Tolleston Dunes Trail Featured hike: Moderate, 2.9 miles in length, hike time of 2 hours.This hike winds amid varied habitats ranging from oak savanna to wetlands and plants such as prickly pear cactus, butterfly weed and lupines. Features a separate wheelchair accessible trail with quick access to an observation deck with picnic tables.

West Beach Trails 3-Loop Hike: Moderate to rugged, 3.4 miles in length, hike time of 2.5 hours.Dunes Succession Hike: Moderate, 0.9 mile in length, hike time of 45 minutes. Note that this trail may have an entrance fee.

These trails offer a great combination of hiking and relaxing at the beach. The trails are varied and encompass many habitats. There are great views from the top of the Dune Succession Trail stairs, a beautiful pinery of jack pines, birding opportunities along Long Lake and secluded sections of forest.

Last updated: March 2, 2021