nature trips



kid friendly

no dogs

trail running



wild flowers



Indiana Dunes consists of 2,182 acres of primitive, beautiful, historic and unique Hoosier landscape. It lies at the north end of State Road 49 in Porter County, and includes more than three miles of beautiful beach along Lake Michigan

This is my favorite loop hike in the Dunes. However #2 was closed due to flooding and I had to improvise. #10 is popular with trail runners. There is much dune diversity on this hike, from black oaks and pines to dune grass and water flowers along the boardwalk. There are lovely flowers in summer. I start this loop by the Wilson shelter. Day fee for non residents is $12.

This was not hard. Hoosiers make mountains out of sand dunes. I did this as part of the park's "3Dunes Challenge" and then continued on #10 along the shore for a lovely 8.4-mile hike. Lots of people were out today, enjoying a fee-free post-Cmas walk. The Nature Center is highly recommended.

22 days ago

There is a Christmas Eve hike every year on this loop, & that was the day I went. I agree it should be upgraded to rugged for that final dune, I almost had to scramble to get up. But it is worth it for the views.

1 month ago

Pretty decent trail with a good amount of elevation however the factories nearby emit lots of fumes/smells. I developed a sinus headache and hurried to complete the walk.

1 month ago

So let me start by saying that the “flooding issue” is no joke. There we’re several sections I spent inching through sideways to avoid the lake sized puddles and inches of mud.

As far as beauty, this is not the trail for sights, BUT for beginner hikers wanting to build endurance, this is perfect. It’s a flat, gravel paved trail, so no ups & downs. You’re never far from a cross road (in case you needed help or a pick-up), lots of port-a-pots & even two train stations with bathrooms, also decent cell service (again, in case you needed to call anyone). So with these conveniences, I would recommend it for beginners.

One thing missing: benches. I was able to tackle it, but other hikers with different abilities could benefit from the occasional place to sit.

Easy hike physically, but trail intersections can get confusing. There are some closures marked on certain trails that do not seem to apply anymore, even though the signs warn of construction.

Loved this trail. Different types of settings all during one trail.

The Three Dune Challenge or variations of it like this one are the best way in the area to train for hikes like Kilimanjaro, Peru’s Salkantay Trail, hikes in the Rockies, etc. 6 times around gives you almost 1800’ of elevation in a 10-mile hike, with the added challenge of the sand action. It’s a good CV and leg workout!

This trail is poorly marked and I got off the trail . Eventually found my way back but 5 miles later

This is a fun trail. There are historical sites on this hike. Which are nice to see. Some of the trail is hard to follow but you will find your way. This is a easy trail to do which is mostly flat.

on West Beach Loop

3 months ago

FYI lots of stairs but the view is worth it. Beautiful scenery

My kids and I did the loop out to the beach. It was very nice. The trail is mostly stairs and boardwalk. A few cool observation points that look out over a view. Nice places to stop for a snack. Overall, nice, but a little short.

3 months ago

Very pretty hike with some really nice views of the lake after the first big climb. Bring bug spray for the woodsy sections.

4 months ago

Bug guard is highly recommended gnats are right in your face. Wildflowers, mushrooms, wildlife, sand dunes to climb, and a few mini bridges to walk over made this hike pretty entertaining. Secluded when I visited which I rather enjoyed.

4 months ago

I loved this hike! Beautiful, interesting woods along a swamp with lots of wildflowers and hills A few steep, sandy dune climbs, but altogether not too bad. Wonderful stop at the Lake Michigan beach about half way through the hike.

Good time, Good trails, Extremely Easy with multiple trail routes to choose. We started here, went west, & walked to the beach.

This would be such a fun beginner trail running path, but a large portion is closed for several months and August had just way too many spiderwebs, biting bugs and loud cicadas for now. I’d suggest waiting for a less humid day to enjoy this beautiful trail.

With the Dunes State Park trails becoming crowded ... We're hiking The Calumet Trail more and more. it's not a bad trek. With just enough historical sites, changes in types of terrain and elevations to not make this boring. But be prepared for the humidity, ticks and mosquitoes ... Permethrin treated clothing and repellent should be a used.

With no supervision visible anywhere on site .. A big problem developing is the amount of dogs with owners not picking up after them on the trails ... Where it is clearly posted No Dogs... Another is the increasing amount of people on bicycles flying around blind corners or narrow pathways..

Even with the rudeness of some ... There is a peace and serenity here, which hikers love. But unfortunately it is broken by the High Tension Wires and Trains that remind you ... that you are still in NW Indiana ...

But even with the modern distractions ... We still feel fortunate to have this gem here ...

pick up after yourselves and leave only footprints ...

Short but a great variety of views.

Bring bug spray! What a cool hike. Several different ecosystems, a pretty tough sandy incline, lots of wildlife, and plenty of isolated beach. My first hike in Indiana and I can’t wait to go back!

Really liked this trail! It wasn’t super hard, but be prepared for a lot of sand.

Great trail! Enjoyed the beautiful views at the tops of the dunes!

We really enjoyed the hike. We thought the first steep hill was one of the first dunes. Lol it was not. It was challenging but we conquered those 3 Dunes. We came back the next day and did trail 9. Lots of bugs and beautiful scenery on trail 9.

This is a nice trail out to the beach through woods and the bog. Insect repellant is prob a must...I mean it is a bog after all. I didn't have a problem with bugs with repellant on. The first mile or so is shaded with packed sand, providing a stable walking surface, and also a raised boardwalk through the bog. As you make your way toward the beach, the hills get steeper and the sand gets increasingly loose, making it a challenging hike. The views are well worth the dune hike, and I'd prefer to hike here to this beach over going to the crowded beach anyday. Great trail.

This is one of my favorite trails in the area! If you go in the summer time, you can eat some of the blackberries!

Pretty fun challenge trekking up all 3. Moderate challenge, nothing more than 200ft above lake level. 35-45 degree incline for each of them. Mt Tom has a wooden staircase up either side; it is the tallest and steepest of the 3.

6 months ago

I only hiked a small portion of the 10 loop, but did hike all of trail 9. The first half of the 9 loop is pretty easy and mostly flat. The second half turns toward the lakeshore which is where the climb begins. Impeccable views and well worth the trek. Moderate to somewhat challenging depending on fitness/mobility.

Pretty fun challenge! Short ascent up each one, but the incline was what got me. The last one has a wooden staircase on either side, which is the steepest of the three.

Great trail
But make sure you bring insect repellent

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