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Tolleston Dunes Trail is a 2.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Ogden Dunes, Indiana that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 2.9 mi Elevation gain 180 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

Lake

Views

Description
Waypoints (0)

This featured hike is a lollipop shaped trail. Starting at the parking lot trailhead, the trail starts out in what was once a sand mining operation. This is why the parking lot and surrounding area are so flat. After roughly a third of a mile, the trail enters the rolling ancient sand dunes of Lake Michigan. The footing is generally good with some sections of sand. At the loop trail junction, follow the trail to the right. The trail wind will up and down through oak savanna and wetland habitats. Shortly after the boardwalk (roughly the one-mile mark), you will reach the cut-off trail junction. Staying to the right will take you on the outer loop (2.9 miles total distance). Taking the left trail will cut 0.8 miles off the hike (total hike distance of 2.1 miles). The recommended route is the outer loop. At the two-mile mark, stay to the right at the cut-off trail junction. Finally, at the loop trail junction, stay right again and hike back to the parking lot. The Tolleston Dunes Trail winds amid 4,700-year-old sand dunes that were formed when Lake Michigan’s water level was 25 feet higher than today. Tolleston is the second youngest of four distinct dune systems found within the national park. Together these dune ridges provide a glimpse into the changing shoreline of Lake Michigan. Tolleston Dunes has varied habitats ranging from oak savanna to wetlands and plants such as prickly pear cactus, butterfly weed and lupines. In winter, this trail is a popular spot for cross-country skiers looking for a more challenging experience. - Open daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm. - Free (no entrance or parking fees). - Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed. - Pets are permitted on a leash (6' or shorter). - The main trail is not wheelchair accessible. - The marsh overlook is wheelchair accessible. - Formerly known as the Inland Marsh trail. - There are picnic tables at the marsh overlook. First come, first served. No advance reservations. No cooking fires allowed. - Trail surface is mostly loose sand with some sections of packed dirt. - No restrooms or potable water. - The main trailhead parking lot is paved and has 19 spots (2 spots are handicap only). - The marsh overlook parking lot is paved and has 4 spots (1 spot is handicap only). - The trail is never crowded and is a great way to get away from the summer beach crowds. - In the winter, this trail is popular for cross-country skiers looking for a more challenging experience. - Stay on the trail to protect the wildlife and yourself. - Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and tuck long pants into socks to avoid ticks and poison ivy.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (100)
Photos (95)
Recordings (89)
Completed (102)
jonathan Beristain
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HikingBugsMuddy
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Jacob Svejda
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 14, 2020
HikingBugsFloodedMuddy

The section in the wetlands has flooded out some, expect to get wet. Outside of that most of trail is in good shape. it has some nice views. Suggest taking the short loop over long if you don’t want to get wet.

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Bryan Fleming
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 13, 2020
HikingBridge out
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Cepriano Banogon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 13, 2020
HikingBridge outBugsFloodedMuddy

Entrance was flooded but we were able to find a small side trail on the east side of the entrance right at the flooded area to get to the other side. The bridge on the long loop was flooded over so we had to take the short loop to cross over. Got to see two deer and one was within 30 feet and never ran off.

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Shanna Davis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 13, 2020
HikingBridge outBugsFloodedOver grown

Look for trail off to the left right before the flooding will take you to the bridge that’s out. Can still finish the short loop to get back on the trail

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Wandering Jenn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 27, 2020
Flooded

Seemed nice, flooded by the beginning, no way around it. Bring sandals! Also way less crowded then the dunes!!

Austin North
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 25, 2020
Hiking

Great trail but a section towards the beginning is flooded. You will have to walk thru water for a portion

Jay Dahlin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 15, 2020
HikingFlooded

Lovely trail. A little elevation, not much. Wear waders, there are stretches under water.

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Liliya Bubiy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 9, 2020
Hiking

There is a bridge on the short trail that was flooded. No way to make it across without wetting your shoes.

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Lou Donkle
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 20, 2020
Hiking

Great variety of rolling Sandune terrain in an oak savanna. Be sure to read the sign about the oak savanna. Very interesting.

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Patrick Wilkins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 11, 2020
HikingBridge out

Good trail with moderate difficulty. Great for a short run. Ran it twice, once in each direction. Bridge is flooded out.

Rachel J.
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HikingBridge out
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Amy Anderson
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HikingBridge out
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Paul Kerr
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Hiking

great hike and trail really clean

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Matthew Kristoff
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 1, 2020
Hiking

Great trail for a quick hike. A little wet but that was due to the snow melting. Living in this area it’s great we have access to these trails year round.

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Lana Bjornson
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HikingSnow
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Joel Jenkins
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Running

Great place for a trail run. Go at least once a week and trail is always in good condition. Quiet and secluded. Protected from the strong winter winds and cooler than the roads in summer.

Larry Dickens
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 3, 2020
HikingBugs

I love this trail because even when there are other hikers about, you get a feeling of seclusion. Some moderate climbs up the dune but doable. I advise proper hiking footwear due to places where the sand is loose. I also recommend mosquito and tick repellent. Have a buddy check you out after you hike this trail. I have hiked here on blazing hot days and when snow was clinging to the trees and trail. Beautiful flowers all around. Have seen large and small snakes (one in a tree that caught me off guard), voles, tons of squirrels, rabbits, all kinds of birds, dragonflies, deer, coyotes, etc. On two occasions I saw nude hikers who were very respectful of others and covered up before passing me. Nudity is not the norm here but I didn’t care about it. Rangers go back to check out the trails a few times a week and park police as well as Lake Station, state police, and Portage police patrol the lots quite often. Signs indicate that there is video surveillance but I am not convinced it goes beyond the parking area and trailhead. There is a camera aimed at the lot on a pole across highway 12. One thing that I don’t like is that pet owners are lax about cleaning up after their pets and many ignore the leash regulations. Beware the German Shepherd with a guy in a red pickup. Aggressive, never leashed, and the owner scoffs. There is far more good than negative here. Oh! One thing about overgrowth. Yes, it happens. But all I had to do was call the visitor center and within 24 hours the trail was taken care of. Wear waterproof footwear! Enjoy.

Gina I
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 28, 2019
Hiking

Great hike. I’ve done a few dune hikes this year and this one was probably a more simple one in comparison. But if you haven’t hiked a dune I’d say it’s till a workout. Great for the pups!

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Bill Allegrezza
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 29, 2019
Hiking

I love this trail, especially the part that runs on the dune ridge. This is one of my favorites in the IDNP. Easy for kids too.

Greg Olson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 28, 2019
Hiking

Not at all overgrown or buggy currently. A nice walk with a few short challenging climbs up the dunes. Mostly shaded.

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