Trip Planner:   USA  /  Indiana  /  Chesterton  /  Indiana Dunes State Park

Indiana Dunes State Park, Chesterton

4.5
#1 of 51 in Nature in Indiana
Must see · State Park · Park
Create an itinerary including Indiana Dunes State Park
Indiana Dunes State Park consists of 2,182 acres of primitive, beautiful, historic and unique Hoosier landscape. It lies at the north end of State Road 49 in Porter County, and includes more than three miles of beautiful beach along Lake Michigan’s southern shore. In the early 1900s scientists, recreationists and nature enthusiasts, recognizing the value and potential of the Indiana dunes area, fought to have the region preserved. As a result, in 1925, the state park was established.

Large sand dunes, located beyond the entire shoreline, have taken thousands of years to form, and tower nearly 200 feet above Lake Michigan. A wide range of habitats and plant species are found in the park, with vegetation stabilizing some of the sand. These habitats provide homes for many types of plants and animals. The lake also provides habitat for many aquatic species, as well as a constantly changing fishery.

DESCRIPTION OF HIKING TRAILS

Note: For trail locations, view the property map under the MAPS tab.

2. EASY (3 miles)—The best trail for early spring flowers and ferns. Climax forest is used for crosscountry skiing during the winter season.

3. MODERATE (.75 mile)—Provides an opportunity to view succession in dunes area. Excellent for late spring wildflowers, including prickly pear cactus.

4. MODERATE (.75 mile)—Goes through dunes covered with black oak forest.

7. MODERATE (1.1 miles)—Similar to Trail 4. Most direct route from Nature Center to beach.

8. RUGGED (1.5 miles)—Goes over the tops of the three highest dunes of the Indiana Dunes.

9. MODERATE (3.75 miles)—Provides best representative view of the dunes. Good view of lake.

10. MODERATE (5.5 miles)—Hikers are rewarded by stands of white pine and a "tree graveyard" in Big Blowout. A good morning hike.

PLEASE STAY ON MARKED TRAILS. Contact the park office at (219) 926-1952.
Plan to visit Indiana Dunes State Park during your Chesterton vacation using our convenient Chesterton day trip planning site.
Source
Create a full itinerary - for free!

Indiana Dunes State Park reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
868 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • I messed up my knee just as we were packing. The nature center had a mobility scooter that I used to see a large part of the park. We went in the bird observation room for a very few minutes and saw.....  more
    I messed up my knee just as we were packing. The nature center had a mobility scooter that I used to see a large part of the park. We went in the bird observation room for a very few minutes and saw.....  more »
  • We were there on a wet, windy day, but it was still beautiful and a ton of birds. Not much was open since too early in the year, but def worth a stop. 
    We were there on a wet, windy day, but it was still beautiful and a ton of birds. Not much was open since too early in the year, but def worth a stop.  more »
Google
  • Had a great day trip to the Dunes. We were there on April 6, 2021. We hired trail 2 because it said they had early spring flowers. Unfortunately they hadn't bloomed yet. I'm sure it would be very impressive once they do. Definitely some must spots, so don't wear your brand new shoes. The beach wasn't crowded at all, so we were able to easily relax and enjoy the sand and water. We'll definitely be back. Some of the trail signage want always the greatest. You definitely need a map. Since it was still off-season, restrooms weren't open yet, so it was just port a potties.
  • Great scenery! We went right after a big storm and got to see the water frozen pretty high! It was gorgeous. My husband and I enjoyed the long walk on the beach. Pet friendly as well! We got to see all the puppies who were friendly!

Plan your trip to Chesterton

  • Get a personalized trip
    A full day by day itinerary based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place. Everyone on the same page.