Memorial Day Sale! Get a year of AllTrails Pro for only $14.99
Get Started

Heron Rookery Trail is a 3.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Michigan City, Indiana that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 3.2 miles Elevation Gain: 13 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

fishing

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

river

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

The featured hike starts from the east parking lot. The hike is a simple out and back. Follow the trail from the east parking lot to the west parking lot and back. The trail surface is packed dirt and clay, which can make this trail very slippery when wet. Wear adequate footwear. In spring, before the trees leaf out, the woodlands along this trail are blanketed with the most extensive display of spring wildflowers in the national park. Trillium, spring beauties and Dutchman's breeches are just a few of the flowers you'll see along this trail. Fishing is also popular during the spring and fall when salmon and trout are making their spawning runs from Lake Michigan into the Little Calumet River. Indiana state fishing regulations apply. The Heron Rookery Trail follows along a portion of the Little Calumet River that once featured over 100 Great Blue Heron nests. After 60 years of nesting here, the herons have moved on to new nesting grounds. These woods remain alive with dozens of bird species including kingfishers, woodpeckers and a wide variety of migrating and nesting warblers. In spring, before the trees leaf out, the woodlands along this trail are blanketed with the most extensive display of spring wildflowers in the national park. Trillium, spring beauties and Dutchman's breeches are just a few of the flowers you'll see along this trail from late April through mid-May. Fishing is also popular during the spring and fall when salmon and trout are making their spawning runs from Lake Michigan into the Little Calumet River. Indiana state fishing regulations apply. - Open daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm. - Free (no entrance or parking fees). - Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed. - Pets permitted on a leash (6' or shorter). - Trail is not wheelchair accessible. - Trail surface is packed dirt and clay. - No restrooms or potable water. - The main (east) parking lot holds 20 cars and is large enough for buses & RV's to park. - The alternate (west) parking lot has room for only 4 cars. - Wear adequate footwear as the trail can be muddy and slippery in sections. - Stay on the trail to protect the wildlife and yourself. - Mosquitoes are abundant along this trail in the summer. - Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and tuck long pants into socks to avoid ticks and poison ivy.

hiking
17 days ago

Good for the kiddos

hiking
muddy
25 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is in great condition! Many spring flowers, but probably more in the next week or two. Alternate parking at 450 East 1300 North.

hiking
1 month ago

I loved being able to view the river from start to finish. Far more interesting than a normal walk in the woods.

hiking
muddy
2 months ago

hiking
bugs
Wed Apr 24 2019

Very pretty trail, great for walking dogs. Don’t forget your bug spray!!!

walking
Fri Aug 17 2018

Great hike with my 3 daughters ages 13, 11 and 7. They all did great and it was challenging in areas but they handled it. it took an hour and a half round trip but we could've walked longer. Bugs weren't too bad. beautiful scenery with a creek and many forms of wildlife.

hiking
Sun Sep 17 2017

I hiked this trail in mid September. The corridor of the trail is a little tight with overgrowth, mainly stinging nettles. Be prepared with mosquito spray, as the trail follows the little calumet river, and it is a haven for them. All in all, it's a nice little trail for access to the river, mainly to hike. You can do a little trail running, but mountain bike are not allowed.

Wed Jul 19 2017

Beautiful trail. I saw an owl and other wildlife. Peaceful. Some parts of the trail have steep drop offs on one side into the stream below so heads up.

Mon Jul 17 2017

The trail was beautiful and offered a lot of spots to climb on trees and see wildlife. Especially loved how hidden it was!

hiking
Wed Feb 01 2017

3 miles there & back. Flat trail, but erosion is a problem. Hard to walk with 2 people in places. Parking is generous at the 450E side. Sometimes the 600E side is closed. No reason given. This is a quiet trail right by the Little Calumet River. It's popular in the Spring with wildflower lovers. Fishing is also very popular. Mosquitoes are a big problem with the warm weather, so bring your spray!

hiking
Mon Sep 26 2016

Beautiful quiet trail. Spotted heron 5 times along with many frogs that plopped in the river as I walked by. Watch out for patches of eroded trail, some areas were precariously close to a 12 foot drop off. And by all means, remember your bug spray.

hiking
Mon May 09 2016

I grew up on this trail and it gets better every year. Gorgeous, quiet and beautiful. The address is Chesterton not Michigan city on the west entrance. You can fish also with a license. I hope you all enjoy it.

Thu Mar 17 2016

The map is wrong. The trail head is at the intersection of 450 E and 1300 N. Nice trail. Some erosion along river.

hiking
Wed Aug 20 2014

A little hard to find..but worth it. I have walked this trail a few times. Quite enjoyable,quiet,clean and easy for newcomers.

hiking
Sat May 04 2013

A hidden gem! Gorgeous spring wildflowers and a great spot for fishing and solitude. The trail is not rugged but there are a few spots where it is undermined by the Little Calumet River so watch your step.

hiking
4 days ago

walking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Showing results 1 - 30 of 54