“Great trail for birding and running through the dunes.”
— Rafi Wilkinson
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers
Parking and access open daily 8:00 am to 10:00 pm Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend and 7:00 am to 30 minutes after sunset the remainder of the year. There is a $6 per car expanded amenity parking fee collected from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. No bicycles or motorized vehicles allowed on the trail. Stay on the trail to protect fragile dunes and yourself. Pets are permitted on a leash (6' or shorter).
The Long Lake Trail (Loop 3) is a moderate trail that starts in an area that was sand mined in the 1920s. If you want to run this loop by itself from the main trailhead, the total round-trip distance is 2.4 miles.
You'll start and end the run using a portion of the West Beach Trail
The footing is mainly loose sand. This area is being restored as an oak savanna and is a great place to see prickly pear cactus. The trail follows along Long Lake and then heads into the dunes. There is a great view of long lake after the initial climb. After crossing the entrance road, the trail winds through the undulating dunes and then has a steep climb down an exposed dune to the picnic area.
The 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 beach (with lifeguards) are available in the summer.
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, visitnps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/…