Looking for a great trail near Chesterton, Indiana? AllTrails has 21 great hiking trails, trail running trails, walking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. If you're looking for the best trails in Indiana Dunes National Park, we've got you covered. You'll also find some great local park options, like Imagination Glen Park or Dogwood Park. Just looking to take a quick stroll? We've got 11 easy trails in Chesterton ranging from 1 to 10.3 miles and from 587 to 748 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!


nature trips


bird watching


kid friendly

trail running





no dogs

wild flowers

dogs on leash

Chesterton, Indiana Map

did this with a 40 pound weighted vest. not bad. wish it was longer. guess I'll do it twice next time

nice trail. going down to and back up from beach area are a couple nice challenging hills.

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.

1 month 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.

2 months 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.

2 months ago

Decided to tackle the Darkside loop thinking "how hard can it be", and it was a great workout. Even though the track is designed for bikes, I would absolutely recommend hiking here for a quick day escape. Lots of twists, turns, changes in elevation and even a little wildlife. I couldn't believe that this place was right in my backyard. Looking forward to revisiting and exploring some more.

2 months 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.

This trail is cool.

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

mountain biking
3 months ago

Rode the Front Loop this morning. Great beginner trail for mountain biking. Packed dirt, sand and boardwalk with some roots for interest. Good place to learn with some options to make it more difficult as desired. Take a picture of the map or use the AllTrails recording to keep yourself on the right 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 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.

4 months ago

We did a hike here. Trails are confusin to follow. This was fine though because they all seem to loop back. I think this would be more fun on a bike. I am from Seattle and normally hike in the mountians, so may have had too high expectations. there just wasn't much to see and mosquitoes were really bad by the water.

mountain biking
5 months ago

I live in Michigan City and there's no good mountain biking trails there, but this is well worth the 25 minute drive. The Outback trail is pretty cool, with lots of forks in the road with one being the easier path and one being the harder path.

5 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.

mountain biking
5 months ago

A pretty decent trail system given the area. The Dark side loop can be difficult to navigate because it's not always clear which way to go, but if you don't mind exploring a little it pays off. It offers a nice challenge and will push the limits for newer riders. If you ride all the loops it's just under 7 miles. The newly redesigned roller coaster hill is a blast! Ride safe, guys!

trail running
5 months ago

Great trail for running. Very challenging. Yes...I can understand how it may be hard to figure out and somewhat confusing but just stay on the trail and it will take you from beginning to end.
MOST forks are labeled “More Difficult” or “Most Difficult”. The latter is an off-trail “loop” that will eventually drop you back off on the main trail.
If you run/hike/ride all the trail and loops you’re looking at a solid 7+ Miles. And that’s just on the Dark Side...more presently known as the Outback Loop now.
Again. Very challenging for any activity.

5 months ago

Just okay, nothing special.

6 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 ...

6 months ago

I love this trail for biking, jogging and walking the dog. Very clean with both wooded and open areas. At one of the clearings, there are restrooms, a covered area with a picnic table, and a water fountain. Also, this area has a bridge that leads to a small playground. So far, one of my favorite paved trails in the area.

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.

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