Trails at the Dunes

There are over 16 miles of trails at Indiana Dunes State Park. Of the seven trails, I’ve done five of them so far. I’ll give a short description of the trails in this post. Sometimes I didn’t exactly go on the best day for photos (overcast with a misty rain at times) but there was always a cool temperature perfect for hiking.

 

Trail #9

Trail #9 is the first trail I did and my favorite. It’s 3.75 miles long and rated moderate difficulty. It starts near the Nature Center and is a lasso-shaped trail. The first part of the trail is through a forest. I went counter-clockwise at the split.

Trail #9 at Indiana Dunes State Park

Trail #9

The trail went through more forest and then passed by the Furnessville Blowout. A blowout is a depression in a sandy environment where strong winds have removed the sand. Shortly after, the trail climbs up a bit. Some spots along the way have great views of Lake Michigan.

Furnessville Blowout on Trail #9 at Indiana Dunes State Park

Furnessville Blowout on Trail #9

Trail #9 at Indiana Dunes State Park

Trail #9

Later on, I came to the Beach House Blowout, which is much easier to observe than the Furnessville Blowout. As I walked along the ridge, I was able to see thousands of treetops looking all the way south. From there, the trail had a quick and steep descent. It was back to a relatively flat forest trail until the end.

Beach House Blowout on Trail #9 at Indiana Dunes State Park

Beach House Blowout on Trail #9

Trail #9 at Indiana Dunes State Park

Trail #9

Trail #9 at Indiana Dunes State Park

Trail #9

 

Trail #10

Trail #10 is rated moderate and is 5.5 miles long. It runs about 2.5 miles along the beach and the rest through the forest. I picked it up by taking Trail #7 to the beach from the Nature Center, walking the trail in a clockwise direction. It was 2.5 miles of walking on the beach.

Trail #10 at Indiana Dunes State Park

Trail #10

There wasn’t much beach to walk on as the waves washed right up to a small ridge along the shore for most of this stretch. It was a windy day and Lake Michigan was very choppy.

Trail #10 at Indiana Dunes State Park

Trail #10

 

The view of the Chicago skyline in the distance was one of the highlights of this part of the trail, as well as passing a few blowouts along the way.

Big Blowout on Trail #10 at Indiana Dunes State Park

Big Blowout on Trail #10

Chicago skyline on Trail #10 at Indiana Dunes State Park

Chicago skyline on Trail #10

After the long walk on the beach, the trail cuts back into the forest through a gorgeous stretch called Paradise Valley. It then turns into a boardwalk passing several colorful flowers.

Paradise Valley on Trail #10 at Indiana Dunes State Park

Paradise Valley on Trail #10

Trail #10 at Indiana Dunes State Park

Trail #10

Flower on Trail #10 at Indiana Dunes State Park

Flower on Trail #10

The final part of the hike goes through an area called The Pinery, but strangely, there are no pine trees to be seen. There’s also a wooden bird observation deck overlooking a marsh but it was closed for safety purposes.

The Pinery on Trail #10 at Indiana Dunes State Park

The Pinery on Trail #10

 

Trail #8

Trail #8 is a rugged trail that’s 1 ½ miles long and climbs to the top of the three highest sand dunes in the park. Parts of the trail run on 40° slopes. That may not sound bad to some people, but try climbing up in the sand! Make sure you have plenty of energy for this trail. It starts at the Wilson Shelter, but it’s also possible to catch it from near the Nature Center. The trail makes up a part of the 3 Dune Challenge, which you can read about here.

Mt. Holden on Trail #8 at Indiana Dunes State Park

Mt. Holden on Trail #8

 

Trail #4

Trail #4 is a trail from the beach to the campground. It climbs up the stairs to Mt. Tom and back down through a black oak forest. I took only a part of the trail. It’s ¾ of a mile long and is rated moderate. It shares part of the trail from the beach with Trail #7.

Trail #4 at Indiana Dunes State Park

A boardwalk on Trail #4

The beach at Trails #7 and #4 at Indiana Dunes State Park

The beach at Trails #7 and #4

 

Trail #7

Trail #7 runs between the beach and the Nature Center. It’s 1.1 miles long and is rated moderate. Like Trail #4, it goes through a black oak forest.

Trail #7 at Indiana Dunes State Park

Black oak forest on Trail #7

Trail #7 at Indiana Dunes State Park

Black oak forest on Trail #7

 

Other Trails

When I get to the other trails, I’ll add them to this post. I’m missing Trails #2, #3. I’m not sure why there isn’t a Trail #1, #5, or #6!

4 thoughts on “Trails at the Dunes

  1. weekendcampervanning

    The trails are so beautiful and diverse. I never knew that Lake Michigan was such a pretty color blue. The beach looks like it was from a tropical island, I want to go in that water! Do people swim there? One of these days we’ll venture out further, but until then it’s fun to be introduced to all these interesting places. Thanks for sharing!

  2. adventuresoffiveblog

    I didn’t realize there were sand dunes in Indiana! The forest trails look so lush and green–just beautiful. I haven’t made it as far east as Chicago or Indy yet, but am hoping to see this someday. I give you so much credit for making it up those sand dunes! We made the mistake of running up one in Oregon and almost passed out, lol. Great photos and post!

    1. nomadicniko

      Thanks! Yes, there are dunes in Indiana and southwest Michigan. The biodiversity at the tiny national park here is ranked 7th out of all the parks! It’s our little piece of paradise.

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