“The iconic dune of the National Lakeshore with sweeping views of Lake Michigan.”
— Rafi Wilkinson
Restricted access. Access requires advanced approval and accompaniment by authorized staff. There are free ranger-led hikes on weekends in the summer. Tour details can be obtained at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Visitor Center at (219) 395-1882. Call to confirm tour dates and times or check the park newspaper, The Singing Sands. You can also find tour dates on the park website at nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/…
. These tours fill up quickly so call well in advance.
Mt. Baldy is 126 feet above the water level of Lake Michigan and is moving inland at about 4 feet per year. Beach sand on the dune moves when the prevailing northwest wind exceeds 7 m.p.h.
The movement of Mt. Baldy
is made worse because there is no longer sand collecting at the water's edge to bolster the dune. Beach erosion is taking away more sand from Mt. Baldy
than the waves are bringing in due to the breakwall that was built for the Michigan City Harbor. To try and correct the effect of the breakwall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began feeding the beach in 1974.
Thus far there have been four replenishments of sand to Mt. Baldy
- 1974 fine sand trucked in
- 1983 coarse sand trucked in
- 1996 early summer 35,000 cubic yards slurried in by pipe from the harbor
- 1996 late summer 50,000 cubic yards trucked in
Features: Lake — Views
Need to Know
Trail is not wheelchair accessible. There are restrooms and a potable water source that are open for tours. The parking lot is paved with 100 spaces. Pets are permitted on a leash (6' or shorter). Stay on the trail to protect wildlife and yourself. Trail surface is mostly loose sand.
The run is short with a very steep climb up loose sand to reach the top of the dune. The views are incredible as you run on top of the barren (or bald) sand dune. Follow the ranger in order to protect the fragile dune.
History & Background
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 nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/…