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Indiana Dunes National Park

Apart from being home to Lake Michigan, the 5th largest freshwater lake in the world, Indiana Dunes National Park is a remarkably ecologically diverse location with incredible beaches and sand dunes. Hundreds of rare bird species migrate through this park finding refuge and building nests within the park’s forest and flora. The park covers 15,000 acres of forests, meadows, rivers, trails, rugged sand dunes, and beaches; even in winter, the park offers endless hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing possibilities.

With views of Lake Michigan, home to diverse nature, wildlife, and unique ever-changing sand-dunes, Indiana Dunes National Park is a must-visit when in Michigan, Indiana. Offering a wide range of activities including, hiking, kayaking, skiing, horse riding, swimming this visually compelling park will definitely leave a good impression all year round.

Mount Baldy

Mount Baldy stands 126 feet high on the Southern Coast of Lake Michigan. Each year, this sand dune moves by approximately 5 feet covering anything that comes in its path, earning the name “living” sand dune. Following the Mount Baldy Beach Trail, a steep moderately challenging in and out trail leads you to the top of the sand dune with outstanding views of the lake. However, descending to the beach is also tricky, as sliding down on the loose sand is the only way down. It is important to keep in mind that to get out, visitors need to climb up the dune and backtrack their way out. Once at the beach, a swim in the lake is a must. The area is equipped with restrooms, potable water, and a small shaded picnic area. All the parking lots in the park are open between 6 am and 11 pm and are free of charge, apart from West Beach which charges a $6 fee per car (but it is also the only beach with a lifeguard). In winter, the scenery changes as Mount Baldy is covered in snow making it a popular skiing location.

The park offers 14 hiking trails covering 16.5 miles. Trails range from easy and short ones like Dune Ridge Trail and Calumet Dunes Trail – which are less than a mile long – to more challenging ones like West Beach 3.4 mile Trail, which leads to different terrain offering wonderful views. Most of the trails are open all year round, but it is important to stick to the trail to avoid damaging the sand dunes and nature surrounding them.

Three Dunes Challenge

For the brave (and physically fit) the Three Dunes Challenge is right up your alley. The challenge is to hike or run up the three largest sand dunes in the park, which get progressively steeper, one after the next. Upon parking at Wilson Shelter, a short trail takes you over the Great Marsh (a wonderful spot for bird-watching) to Nature Center, the start of Trail 8. The trail takes you over Mt. Jackson at 176 feet high, composed of loose sand making it challenging both to hike up and to descend back. Mt. Holden follows at 184 feet, from here a side trail leads you to an amazing beach for a well-deserved swim – or you can head for the final and highest dune Mt. Tom at 192 feet. Looking at the tall staircase leading to the peak from the bottom is tiring in itself, but the view of the bay, Lake Michigan, nature, and birds shaded by a tree canopy at the top makes it all worthwhile.

Central Avenue Beach

Central Avenue Beach is a stunning beach, with waters lapping on the sand, with the sand dunes as its background, creating the most picturesque of locations. The beach has a car park, restrooms, and picnic area nearby. In spring and summer, the beach is a haven for bird watching as birds build nests in the dunes and the tall trees above them. Refrain from trying to climb up the dunes at the beach since they are eroded by the elements, making the sand lose and dangerous. The trail along the beach is 2.7km long and offers boasts gorgeous views of nature, the lake, and dunes. The lake’s cool waters are very inviting for a swim especially on a hot day after a walk but do check the currents before swimming.

Apart from hiking, the park also offers ample fishing and boating opportunities, as well as horse-riding on a specific part of Glenwood Dunes Trails. In winter this trail makes it attractive for winter sports lovers to practice their cross-country skiing. Camping is also available at Dunewood Campground at $25 per night.

Indiana Dunes National Park is a marvelous location, with scenic views of Lake Michigan, beautiful beaches, and sand dunes. The park is diverse enough to offer activities for visitors of all abilities, be it a light stroll at Central Avenue Beach, the Three Dune Challenge, or a dip at Mount Baldy Beach – you are set to have a memorable time.

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Looking for Web Design & Development in Indiana Dunes, Indiana?

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Indiana Dunes National Park Photos

Where Is It?

Indiana Dunes National Park

1050 N Mineral Springs Rd, Chesterton, Indiana 46304

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