“Perhaps the best trail in Northwest Indiana with incredible views of Lake Michigan.
— Rafi Wilkinson
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · Views
Pets permitted on a leash (6' or shorter). Swimming is permitted only at the Pavilion when lifeguards are present (Memorial Day through Labor Day).
This is the definitive trail in the dunes. It combines running through mature forests and along the top of a dune ridge overlooking Lake Michigan. The views are incredible. The gem of this trail is Beach House Blowout
, a huge bowl of sand. The trail winds along its narrow edge affording views in every direction.
Need to Know
There is an entrance fee to the State Park. Everyday mid-April through mid-November. Weekends only in the winter. $7 per car for Indiana residents, $12 per car for out of state. $2 walk-in and bike fee.
The trail surface is mainly loose sand with some sections of compacted dirt. Your shoes will get filled with sand.
Park at the Nature Center parking lot. The trailhead is well marked. The preferred route is to stay on Trail 9 for its entire length. At the base of Beach House Blowout
, stay low (to the right) to run the loop in a counter-clockwise direction. This will keep you low through the forest on the way out.
At the farthest point, the trail will turn to the left and climb up the dune. Lake Michigan will come into view. The trail returns along the ridge line culminating at Big Beach House Blowout
. The views and topography are incredible. The trail literally falls off the back out the blowout and returns to the Nature Center using the same trail.
History & Background
The Indiana Dunes State Park was established in 1925 and contains 2,182 acres of land. The park is home to the tallest sand dunes in the area and approach 200 feet in height. The park contains a diverse range of beach, forest, and wetland habitats. As a result, this is an incredible spot for birding. There are three miles of pristine beaches along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Visit the State Park website
for information on programs, camping, and other activities.