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“A stroll along Lake Michigan and through the sand dune terrains.”
— Adam Weber
Park closes at Sunset
This route needs a brief overview!
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Lake — River/Creek — Swimming — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
The Dead river trail is good for a short run. The campground area is paved.
I start in the north to feel a gradual escape into nature. You can park anywhere along 29th Ave or Deborah and head east toward the lake. The traffic and train noise will ease away as you escape the old factories and junkyards and move toward the lake. Soon you'll pass through the campground, which is nice enough if you like the RV style, and pass the old nuclear plant as you get down to the beach.
There is a paved path that heads south, or you can stroll along the rocky shoreline. Here you'll see the desert dunes meet the oak forests and notice a few old concrete relics from a bygone era. After about half a mile you'll cross the parking lot of the main beach, which has suffered serious erosion as the lake level rises. You may see sunbathers and at times a concession stand is open. To the east of that building the trail continues into a forested area where you can find more secluded beaches.
Shortly after this you'll see another parking lot, beach, and the resort. Here there is a restaurant, rooms, a pool, sauna, etc. Behind this building to the south is where the Dead River trail begins. It starts with a marshy area and winds through the dune, desert, marsh, and forest of the dune terrain. You may see a variety of shore birds and the occasional deer. Again there are some concrete relics having to do with the Pan American games of long ago. The trail is a gravel roadway, but again you can stroll right along the shore for about a mile.
At this point the trail curls to the west along the Dead River. Here you'll get out of the dunes and into the forest and marshes. As you curl back to the north there are two options. One is more direct to the parking lot, but I would suggest the left path to the west. You can travel along the dead river and look over the marshy lands toward the lake bluff. About two miles in you'll cross the parking lot and Patomos Ave, and another mile after that you'll reach the campground. You can walk through that, or back along the shore to the start.
Flora & Fauna
Bobtails, Oak, pine trees, cactii