“A great trail for bird watching and views along the dunes and Long Lake.
— Rafi Wilkinson
Birding · Lake · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Parking and trails are 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 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 West Beach Trail
(Loop 2) is an easy 1.4-mile run through an area that was sand mined in the 1920s. 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. Birders will enjoy looking for water birds on Long Lake from the viewing platform.
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.
There are covered picnic shelters near the West Beach parking lot. First come, first served. No advance reservations. Wheelchair accessible. Alcohol is not permitted anywhere at West Beach. Cooking fires at the picnic shelters are permitted in the provided grills or an approved carry-in grill. An approved grill is a noncombustible container with an enclosed bottom and enclosed sides with a minimum depth of 2 inches. Charcoal must be cooled and safely disposed of in a noncombustible container or removed from the area.
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/…