Further east along US 12 is the most historic area of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm are important settlements in Northwest Indiana. A 2.1 mile trail takes visitors to both settlements. The homes are only open on certain days (check the event schedule on the official website) but there are several interpretive panels on the properties.
Joseph Bailly, the first settler in Northwest Indiana, was a French-Canadian fur trader from Québec and settled the region in 1822. His homestead and family cemetery still exist. The cemetery is about a mile north of the house and has the graves of Bailly, his wife Marie, and daughter and son-in-law.
The farm of the Chellberg family (Kjellberg) was built by Swedish immigrants who came to the United States in 1864. The area maintained a strong Swedish community for several years.
One of the best trails in the park, the Little Calumet River Trail, is just behind Bailly Homestead and across the road. This 2 mile trail through the stunning Mnoké Prairie, an active restoration project of an original tallgrass prairie, and a forest and marsh around the Little Calumet River, is very pleasant to walk and one of my favorites.
North of the Bailly/Chellberg area is one of the most important areas of the park, Cowles Bog. This is where Henry C. Cowles did his pioneering work in ecology. A rugged 5 mile trail through a wetland and dunes leads to an often totally empty beach. It’s not, however, an actual bog. It’s a fen because it has an underground water source. Continue to Part 3.