Features: Birding — Lake — Swimming — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs
The Dune Succession Trail (Loop 1) at West Beach highlights the four stages of dune development within its one-mile length. The actual trail is only ~0.6 miles long, but the loop totals one mile when the necessary jaunts along the road and West Beach Trail
are factored in. From the parking lot, follow the road north, toward the lake and look for the trail to pick up to the west of the bathhouse.
This scenic, but strenuous, trail includes a climb up 250 stairs for a spectacular view of Lake Michigan and Chicago. Support the restoration effort in the fragile dunes and ponds, or pannes, by remaining on designated trails.
The main trail is not accessible to wheelchairs. However, there is a paved road from the parking lot to the bathhouse that offers views of Lake Michigan that is accessible to wheelchairs. The main parking lot has spots for 596 cars and is open year round.
There are restroom facilities and potable water available year round in the West Beach Contact Station. Seasonal showers, lockers and a lifeguarded beach are available from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
The national lakeshore was established in 1966 to preserve for the educational, inspirational, and recreational use of the public, certain portions of the Indiana Dunes and other areas of scenic, scientific, and historic interest and recreational value in the state of Indiana. About two million annual visitors enjoy the parks 15,000 acres of wetlands, prairies, sand dunes, oak savannas, forests, and historic sites. The parks beach hugs the southern shore of Lake Michigan from Gary, IN, to Michigan City, IN. For more information, visit www.nps.gov