Benefit: Public Transit Access
The trail follows the South Shore Railroad tracks and NIPSCO power lines. There is no shade. The trail can be impassible (i.e. wet shoes) due to standing water along much of the trail that can be 4-6″ deep in spots. The gravel trail is not suitable for road bikes.
Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education
The Paul H. Douglas Center has restrooms, picnic tables, and wetland boardwalk that are all wheelchair accessible. There are displays showing information about Indiana Dunes National Park. Hike the incredible Paul H. Douglas (Miller Woods) trail system. Families can enjoy the Nature Play Zone. Use the picnic table area to have a bite. There is an indoor Activities Room with games, crafts, books, and art supplies!
The center and trail are named after U.S. Senator Paul H. Douglas from Illinois, who was instrumental in the creation of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 1966 (renamed Indiana Dunes National Park in 2019).
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center
The visitor center is open daily and is staffed with national park rangers and Indiana Dunes Tourism agents. The center, restrooms, and picnic tables are wheelchair accessible. The 100-vehicle parking lot includes bus & RV parking spaces. There are displays showing information about Indiana Dunes National Park, Porter County, and Indiana Dunes State Park. Enjoy the activity room and learn more about the park. Watch two short orientation videos. Shop in the Eastern National bookstore. Pick up brochures about Indiana Dunes National Park and Porter County. Purchase federal park passes.
Great Marsh Trail
A really nice birding hike with views of the largest wetland complex in the Lake Michigan watershed. Flocks of coots, mallards, and wood ducks now glide over the wetland’s surface. Kingfishers, tree swallows, and rusty blackbirds rest during migration. Green herons stalk the shoreline while beaver play in the channels.
The Great Marsh abounds in the diverse animal activity of a healthy wetland ecosystem. During the migration periods, the wetland will be frequented by flocks of ducks and geese. The wading birds like herons and egrets, and the song birds such as warblers and red-winged black birds are abundant.
Dunewood Campground (67 Sites)
The campground is located one mile from Lake View Beach. Restrooms and showers are located in the center of each loop. No electric or water hookups at individual sites. There is potable water located at several locations in each loop. The campground does have a RV dump station. There is a $25 per night camping fee.
Dunes Kankakee Trail
The trail runs along State Road 49 from the State Park entrance to the north and the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center to the south. The trail also connects to the Calumet Bike Trail and the Dune Park South Shore Railroad train station. The trail is flat with the exception of the U.S. Highway 12 and U.S. Highway 20 overpasses.
The Dunes Kankakee Trail is an ambitious trail project that, if and when completed, will run the entire length of Porter County. It will connect the Indiana Dunes State Park and Indiana Dunes National Park at the north end to the Kankakee River at the south end. It would tie into the coast-to-coast American Discovery Trail at its southern terminus.
Lake View Beach
No lifeguards. Swim at your own risk; rip currents and large waves can make swimming hazardous. Parking lot fills up very quickly on summer weekends and holidays.
Marian R. Byrnes Park
Named for environmental activist Marian R. Byrnes, this 135-acre park is one of Chicago’s largest natural areas. Located in the Southeast Side’s Jeffery Manor neighborhood (where it’s known as “the prairie”), the site encompasses a variety of ecosystems, making it a great place to observe species like frogs, snakes, birds, and deer. After undergoing immense ecological restoration, the park now provides community members with a safe space to relax and connect with nature. Its new asphalt multipurpose trail runs the length of the park, giving visitors access to multiple habitats and unique views.