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.
The Beach Trail hike is a short hike with a steep climb down loose sand to the beach. Be sure to plan accordingly as the only way out is up the steep trail. Do not bring a large cooler or other large beach items as the climb up from the beach is difficult. The sweeping views of Lake Michigan are fantastic.
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).
The picnic shelters are located on the north side U.S. Highway 12, approximately 1/2 mile east of State Road 49 and the Dune Park South Shore train station. There are two entrances that are 50 yards apart. Restrooms are open seasonally.
These trails offer 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, birding opportunities along Long Lake and secluded sections of forest.
There is a $6.00 per car parking fee from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. There are picnic shelters; some are reservable on www.recreation.gov.
This popular location is a great place to view the ever-changing seasons along Lake Michigan and watch dramatic weather and clouds build over the lake. It’s an easy location to watch for migrating birds in the spring and summer, and observe shelf ice that forms along the beach edge in the winter. Visitors can enjoy easy access to the lakefront and trails that highlight dune succession. A 3,500 square foot public pavilion includes restrooms, a seasonal snack bar and a glass walled classroom/meeting space.
No lifeguards. Swim at your own risk; rip currents and large waves can make swimming hazardous.
No lifeguards. Swim at your own risk; rip currents and large waves can make swimming hazardous. The beach is located a quarter mile from the beach. Parking lot fills up very quickly on summer weekends and holidays.
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.
This extensive trail system features interconnected loops ranging from less than a mile to nearly 15 miles and is popular with hikers, runners, horseback riders and cross-country skiers. In addition to the Glenwood Dunes Trail, the 4.4 mile round trip Dunewood Trace Campground Trail connects the Glenwood Dunes trail system to the National Park’s Dunewood Campground to the east. The 2.6 mile round trip Glenwood Dunes Extension Trail connects the system to the Dune Park South Shore Railroad Station to the west. In the center, the Glenwood Dunes Trail connects to the Calumet Dunes Paved Trail.
Bring a trail map as there are 13 trail junctions. The trail system is accessible from either the Glenwood Dunes Trail or Calumet Dunes Trail parking lots.