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West Beach - Dune Succession Trail is a 1.1 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Portage, Indiana that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for walking and nature trips and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 1.1 mi Elevation gain 95 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Nature trips

Walking

Beach

Lake

Views

Wildlife

Washed out

Description
Waypoints (0)

The Dune Succession Trail (Loop 1) highlights the four stages of dune development within its one-mile length. From the parking lot, follow the road north, toward the lake and look for the trail to pick up to the west of the bathhouse. This scenic, but strenuous, trail includes a climb up 250 stairs for a spectacular view of Lake Michigan and Chicago. Please support restoration effort in the fragile dunes and ponds by remaining on designated trails. West Beach offers a great combination of hiking and relaxing at the beach. The trails are varied and encompass many habitats. There are great views from the top of the Dune Succession Trail stairs, a beautiful pinery of jack pines and birding opportunities. After hiking, relax and swim at the beach. - The parking lots, trails, and beach are open daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm Central Time. - An Expanded Amenity Fee is collected daily for every vehicle from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through Monday of Labor Day weekend from 8:00 am to as late as 7:00 pm Central Time. - $6.00 per vehicle or motorcycle per day, $30.00 per bus per day. - 50% discount for the following America the Beautiful - The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands passes: Senior Annual, Senior Lifetime, and Access Passes. - No discount for the following America the Beautiful - The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands passes: Annual (non-senior), Military, Volunteer, and 4th Grade. - Cash, U.S. checks or credit, debit and gift cards (MasterCard, Visa and Discover) accepted. - Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed. - Pets are permitted everywhere on a leash (6' or shorter) with the exception of the lifeguard swimming area, which is maintained from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through Monday of Labor Day weekend. - The main parking lot has spots for 596 cars and 20 buses and is open year-round. - Trail surface is a combination of loose sand, packed dirt, and sections of stair and boardwalk. - Respect closed area signs; help us restore the dunes. - The removal of rocks, shells, and fossils is strictly prohibited. - There are 8 covered picnic shelters near the West Beach parking lot that are wheelchair accessible. The shelters are reservable at www.recreation.gov starting six months in advance of the desired use date. The reservation is good for day use from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm. The shelter reservation does not waive the West Beach car entrance fee collected during the summer months. - Cooking fires at the picnic shelters are permitted in the provided grills or an approved carry-in grill. An approved grill is a noncombustible container with an enclosed bottom and enclosed sides with a minimum depth of 2 inches. Charcoal must be cooled and safely disposed of in a noncombustible container or removed from the area. - There are restroom facilities and potable water available year-round in the contact station. - Seasonal showers, lockers and a beach with lifeguards are available from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through the Monday of Labor Day weekend. For more information, visit the West Beach webpage. - No littering, hunting, disturbing wildlife or picking plants. - Stay on the trail to protect the wildlife and yourself. - Use insect repellent to help prevent tick bites and related diseases. Conduct a thorough inspection for ticks after your hike. - Avoid the abundant poison ivy along trail edges.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (191)
Photos (399)
Recordings (173)
Completed (283)
Alyssa Verheyn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Jun 24 2020
Hiking

Beautiful views of the dunes and Lake Michigan. Get there early as it can get hot and crowded. We were there around 10am and had the trail to ourselves but was getting busy as we left. Kids found the stairs and boardwalk trails exciting. Be prepared to walk on open sand trails as well as a lot of stairs!

Hannah P.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarWed Jun 17 2020
Hiking

Fun for the kids to play in the sand. We definitely went the wrong way though because we started by climbing up a massive dune and ended by going up a ton of stairs. Very hot and sunny, little shade.

Justin Luthey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMon Jun 15 2020
Hiking

It was a nice hike. Not hard. Bummer that so many people had thrown trash over the boardwalks.

Rachel Tricase
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Jun 15 2020
Hiking

West beach has really great views but the beach area was super crowded. Long lake loop has some cool cacti looking plants, Lilly pads and no crowds at all. There is one area where it’s flooded but we found an easy workaround. Pretty trail. Dog friendly too!

View Rachel's Recording
Wandering Jenn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarWed May 27 2020

Nice walk, I prefer something less manicured though. Great to give kids an introduction to nature. Way too many people though by the beach

Dustin Baker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMon May 25 2020
Hiking

Tried to do this yesterday but they had the area shut down. Not sure if that was because it was too crowded or what-really would’ve liked to do this trail.

Mike Degen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri May 22 2020
Hiking

Fun trail, although crowded

Mi-köl Sheets
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri May 22 2020
Hiking

Sucsession trail was fairly occupied, we took the long trail and it was more quiet.

View Mi-köl's Recording
Ryan Van Dusen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSat May 16 2020
Hiking

If you're cognizant of maintaining some semblance of social distancing, it is tough to do so on the long set of stairs. Otherwise, this is a pretty doable trail with views of Lake Michigan. However, for those not familiar with the area, keep in mind that the beachfront is bookended by heavy industry to east and west. It's like a steampunk fantasy of what a beach is supposed to be like. If possible, I would recommend dune hikes in less industrial portions of Lake Michigan (southwest Michigan - Warren Dunes). But this hike is solid nonetheless.

Annette Gwozdz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat May 09 2020
Hiking

Easy Hike, great views ... needs to be updated to longer version

Dawn DeMario
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Apr 24 2020
Hiking

Beach day

View Dawn's Recording
nichole pottorf
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Apr 18 2020

It was busy. But love walking the stairs.

Rachel J.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Apr 14 2020
HikingMuddy

Very muddy, but great trail

View Rachel's Recording
Lou Donkle
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Apr 11 2020
Hiking

A great mix of woods, dunes, beach, and open trails. More dunes than I anticipated. A nice alternative to the Indiana Dunes State Park trails.

View Lou's Recording
Kimberly Nance
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Apr 08 2020
Hiking

Awesome short hike beautiful views

Jon Stob
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Apr 08 2020
Hiking

Great view

Tamara Stevens
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Apr 08 2020
Hiking

Nice amount of strong stairs in the beginning, then a beautiful short little hike through the woods and over some smaller Sandune‘s to get down to the water. Even on rainy days I’ll find somebody on this trail, super solid path With a short walk through sand in the very beginning and where you get down by the beach.

View Tamara's Recording
Lauren Zubrick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Mar 25 2020
Hiking

Love this trail. Definitely recommend. The husband and I brought the five year old and eleven year old- and I’m 16 weeks pregnant.

View Lauren's Recording
Andrew McNair
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Feb 23 2020
HikingBridge out
View Andrew's Recording
Mark Baum
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Jan 26 2020
HikingBridge outClosedIcyWashed out
View Mark's Recording
Tiffany Farrington
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Jan 15 2020
Hiking

This is a great beginner trail. There are plenty of benches along the way to enjoy the view and take a break.

View Tiffany's Recording
Brandon Williams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jan 03 2020
Hiking

The beach was beautiful to view ! Trail up was also very easy. The trail had lots of cool plants and dunes along the way!

James Hazzard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Dec 28 2019
Hiking

Beautiful and peaceful trail

View James's Recording
Michael Gaughan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Dec 21 2019
Hiking

I can see why rangers rated this the best of the trails in the Indiana Dunes NP

View Michael's Recording
Jenna Rollins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Oct 20 2019
Hiking

Suggest hitting the stairs first and taking a left once you get to the beach.

View Jenna's Recording
Kristi Adams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Oct 12 2019
Hiking

Stairs/Sand

Nikki Osko
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Oct 10 2019
Hiking

Love this one. Alot of walking through the sand. Stairs are totally worth it for the sunset!

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