Three Dunes Challenge Loop

HARD 65 reviews

Three Dunes Challenge Loop is a 1.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Porter, Indiana that features a lake and is rated as difficult. 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.

1.6 miles
321 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly



nature trips

trail running







wild flowers




13 hours ago

it was a very challenging trail but we had a blast!

2 months ago

My first dunes hike. Was challenging but exciting!

7 months ago

Pretty Trail with great tree-top views. I wish there were less signs on the trail but still enjoyed it!

8 months ago

Short but challenging.

10 months ago

Liked it and hated it. It's been decades since i've even been on this much sand, but i can handle hills & stairs, so i wanted to try the 3 Dune Challenge.
These Dunes kicked my butt!! I'm an older heavy set guy that had a heck of a time trying to climb the dunes. Every step up the dune resulted in a foot sliding back a half step or more. Took me 3 times as long to climb a dune than i expected. And Going down the 2nd dune, Mt. Holden, i slid 2-3 feet for every step down.
This was one loaded challenge. It was not as easy as others said. I'm sure that's due to my size working against me trying to climb. Thankfully after the 2nd Dune there is a shortcut trail back to the start by the Nature Center. The Dune Challenge is on Trail 8, Trail 7 splits thru the middle, simple trail.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Great Park. This trail visits the shore line but also climbs the dunes

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Great trail but there a lots more to explore

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Nice scenic easy walk.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

This is trail 8, and the label it the three dune challenge. It captures three of the tallest dunes in the park. We walked the longer loop trail ou to the beach, and then came up for the beach to walk this loop. There are other trails that can be tacked on. We will be back!

trail running
Friday, January 06, 2017

Spent many summers all around the dunes; there are many trails and many ways to use them. Trail 8 is the most memorable as the last time I was there with friends, we were ill-prepared and it made for a strenuous hike out to the beach and then an unusual push back to the car in the smaller lot. Incredible workout. Great for training and building endurance.

Monday, October 10, 2016

I did the more difficult loop and it was a good workout. sand dunes are physically harder than regular hills so be prepared for that. Nice views in a couple spots and really nice trails. Definitely worth checking out.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Overall, I would say the trails in the state park are an easy hike. However trail 8, or the one highlighted here is not easy. As others have noted it is steep and quite sandy so I would rate it as moderate to hard. I did see children to elder family members hiking it, so anyone can do it.

Besides that, the park's trails offer nice views and the highlighted trail does have some splendid views on each of the Mts. on the trail. I will definitely do this again.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Great short but steep hike. Beautiful vistas & access to the Lake Michigan.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

This 3 Dune Challenge trail is not that hard, and definitely not an easy one. The views are fantastic, especially the sunset over downtown Chicago.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

The 3 dunes is pretty neat to do. I wandered around and did lots of trails. Hard to get lost.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

One of the best sunsets over Lake Michigan you will ever see!

Saturday, June 04, 2016

This was a very fun hike. Started on 10 then went to 8 for the 3 dunes challenge. It was tough but not hard. I would recommend this park and trails. Planning on returning.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The part on the dune by the lakeshore on the 9 trail is beautyfull. the rest is just good. the views on the 8 are quite nice.
everything is easy (just exhausting when climbing on the dunes on 8)

Saturday, April 23, 2016


Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Scouts had the annual Potawatomi Trail hike last Saturday (March 19). Beautiful day spent on Trails #2 and #9.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Spent a few hours on trail 8. It was beautiful and had a blast with my furry friend but just an FYI the staircase up Mt. Tom is covered in ice during the winter and extremely dangerous to climb.

Monday, October 26, 2015

I spent two half days hiking the trails in Indiana Dunes State Park. Trail 10 is the longest trail. You begin hiking through the woods and come back by hiking on the beach. I quickly learned that a mile hiking in the sand burns more energy than hiking through the woods. Bring your camera. I combined trail 9 and trail 10 the next day. Trail 9 brings you back on the hill over looking the lake. If you have never hiked the Sand Dunes, its worth the trip.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Three dune challenge!! Hard to walk in the sand but a good workout...wore out my labs, they slept like rocks on the way home! Loved time on the beach too.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Completed the 3 dune challenge. Beautiful sunny spring day. Sand was warm and not too hot. Steep dunes got the heart rate going. Fun trail for a bit of a challenge.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

OK, this trail is no Joke!
For every 3 steps you take up these dunes you slip back one. It's well worth it though, the views are amazing! It has 3 peaks the first at 176 feet(Mt. Jackson) the next at 184(Mt. Holden) feet and the last is at 192 feet(Mt. Tom). The beach is only a few minutes from Mt. Holden, it has an obvious trail to the lakefront. It's well worth the detour.
I took my two cousins and my two dogs with and had a BLAST! If you're not afraid of getting a little sweaty and sandy, GET SOME! It's well worth it, the views from the peaks alone are awe inspiring.

I got a hiking blog I just started(Shameless Plug) for a full story of our day(pictures too). Titled "Indiana Dunes - Trail #8"

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Start at the nature center in the state park and pick up a trail map- you'll need it! Many of the trails are poorly marked, I found myself checking my guide often when faced with multiple trail path options without a marker.

Trail 8 is very steep, a series of three steep sand dunes. Mostly shaded. Great exercise but dont forget a hat and plenty of water!

There are many other trails here too, I would say moderate level is still strenuous, but the views of the lake are unbelievable.

On a clear day you can see the chicago skyline!

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