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There’s Still Time to Hike the 1966 Challenge at Indiana Dunes!

     Join a ranger and hike all the trails in Indiana Dunes National Park. This hiking challenge will take place over the course of the summer with each week featuring a ranger-led hike on a different trail. There will be a total of 19 hikes covering 66 miles to honor the year, 1966, when the park was established. Can’t make them all or want to do some self-guided hikes instead? Then ask for information about the hikes at the Visitor Center, the Paul H. Douglas Center, or look on our website at www.nps.gov/thingstodo/1966-hiking-challenge.htm
     July 6th – Dunes Kankakee Trail.
This trail is a 1.8-mile walking and bike path that carries trail users throughout Indiana Dunes National Park. Starting at the trail’s southern endpoint just outside the park at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, the trail carries park visitors in through the heart of the park before ending at the scenic Porter Beach. From here, trail users can enjoy the beach or explore the impressive nearby sand dunes.  The trail also connects to the Calumet Trail, a 9.1 trail that crosses the park east-west. At the western endpoint of the Calumet Trail, there is also the Porter Brickyard Trail, a mostly on-road route that also covers the park.

     July 13th – Harbor Belt Trail (starts at Douglas Center) With a unique pattern of alternating sand ridges and lush wetlands, Miller Woods is an enchanting landscape of diversity. Delight your senses as you travel through this globally-rare topography known as ridge and swale on the Harbor Belt. The Harbor Belt is an abandoned railroad bed that cuts east-west through Miller Woods. Catch the crimson shimmer of a red-headed woodpecker on a black oak as you explore deep into Miller Woods

     July 20th – Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk Trail, This featured hike is a loop style trail and is mostly wheelchair accessible. Starting at the pavilion, pick up the trail heading south on the east side of the road off the traffic circle. The trail will wind through restored dune habitat. After approximately a half a mile, the trail crosses the road, goes down a set of stairs, and heads back north on a boardwalk along the Burns Waterway to the pavilion.

     July 17th – West Beach 3 – Loop Trail, Get to know this 3.5-mile loop trail near Portage, Indiana. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 16 min to complete. This is a very popular area for birding and hiking, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful

     August 3rd, Marquette Trail (Douglas Center to County Line Road) The 2-mile Marquette Trail offers picturesque views of Lake Michigan as it travels through the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. This scenic route follows a former rail line through a variety of diverse habitats, including hardwood forests, wetlands and rolling dunes. Along the way, trail-goers can enjoy catching a glimpse of the water birds, deer, lizards and other wildlife that call this area home.

     August 10th, Hobart Woodland Trail (From Robinson Lake) The Hobart Woodland Trail is an extension off the Oak Savannah Trail. Park at the Robinson Lake parking lot on South Liverpool Road just north of East 53rd Avenue. Follow the Oak Savannah rail trail east for just under a half mile. Look for the the Hobart Woodland trailhead on the south side of the rail trail just before the woods start. There is a foot bridge. The packed dirt singletrack trail will head south following the wood line for a short distance before entering the woods. The trail makes its way to a scenic overlook of Lake George. There a small loop offering different views of the lake.

     The Hobart Prairie Grove preserves several habitats including wetlands, prairie remnants, white oak flatlands, and a rare bur oak savanna. At about 300 acres in size, it contains 343 native plants and an abundance of wildlife. This area is also noteworthy because of a unique soil that is made up of at least 70 percent silt and clay with the smaller portions of sand. This type of soil is one of the reasons for the outstanding diversity of life here at Hobart Prairie Grove. This very special place was added to the National Park System as part of a 1992 expansion of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (now the Indiana Dunes National Park).

     August 17th, Dunewood Trace Trail (From USGS Office) This trail connects the Calumet Dunes Paved Trail and the Glenwood Dunes Trail to the Indiana Dunes National Park’s Dunewood Campground. Park at the USGS research station (old visitor center) located at the corner of Kemil Road and U.S. Highway 12. The paved parking lot holds 35 cars. Begin the hike by hiking south.
 
The Dunewood Trace Campground Trail breaks off to the east within a tenth of a mile. The trail is 4.4 miles roundtrip to the campground and back. The trail surface is a mixture or packed dirt and loose sand. Please be careful on this section of trail as it runs on the rural road 375 East. There is no sidewalk or protected path. As you get close to the campground, look for remnants of an old golf course. The paved parking lot holds 35 cars. It is located at the intersection U.S. Highway 12 and Kemil Road (East State Park Road 300E). This is the location of the old visitor center. Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves, and tuck long

     August 14th, Cowles Bog Trail, Check out this 4.3-mile loop trail near Dune Acres, Indiana. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 27 min to complete. This is a very popular area for hiking, snowshoeing, and running, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash. Starting from the north parking lot, hike out back to Mineral Springs Road on the gravel entrance road and pick up the trail across the street. The trail travels along the edge of a wetland with abundant plant and wildlife diversity. At roughly the one-mile mark, you will reach the loop trail junction. The trail will now run through black oak savanna and between interdunal ponds filled with aquatic life. As you near Lake Michigan, you have to climb up and then down the steep final dune. The reward is sweeping views of Lake Michigan and a beautiful beach. Pack a lunch and stay awhile.

     August 31st, Little Calumet, Mnoke, Cemetery Trail, The Little Calumet River / Mnoke Prairie Trail, along with the Bailly Homestead / Chellberg Farm Trail and Bailly Cemetery Trail, reveal the rich natural diversity that has drawn people to this area for over 10,000 years. Hike through a forest dominated by maple, beech, basswood, and oak trees. Follow a stretch of the Little Calumet River, once a critical transportation route for early regional travelers. Explore the recently restored Mnoke Prairie for a glimmer of the vast stretches of pre-settlement grasslands. Visit the Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm to glimpse how families lived and farmed in Northwest Indiana.

The Indiana Dunes National Park has an entrance fee of $25 per car for a 1–7-day pass. A $45 annual pass for the national park is also available. Please purchase passes or pay the entrance fee at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, Paul H. Douglas Center, West Beach Entrance Station (after April 1st) or at www.recreation.gov/sitepass/indu. Veterans/Military/Gold Star Family, Access, and 4th Grade passes are available for free. For more information on national park passes go twww.nps.gov/indu.  

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ron seman video post 1260 views e1707768930106Learn More About Hiking The Indiana Dunes with this Youtube Video with Ron Seman 
Hikers Will LOVE this Video with Indiana Naturalist Ron Seman Talkin about His Hiking Adventures at the Indiana Dunes! Beachesandbeyond Learn about ShirleyHeinze Land Trust; Indiana Dunes National Park; Monarch Butterflies Migration; Salamanders; Wolf Lake Hammond In; Heron Rookery; Native Plant Sale at Friends of Indiana Dunes, Inc. Office (New Location) Porter County Parks and Recreation; Great Lakes Marsh Marsh in Miller Beach; Ambler Flatwoods Hiking Trail and Sandhill Cranes at Miller Beach, Gary, IN 
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Sue

Sue Baxter

Susie Young Baxter, CEO, has published PanoramaNOW Magazine for 31 years. Her hobbies are Camping, Boating, Hiking, Nature, Gardening and Outdoor Activities. She is an Artist, Graphic Designer, an Avid Seamstress, Dabbles in Homemade Crafts and Landscaping. Since her Father was a Health Teacher, she also likes homeopathic Health Solutions. Since blogging started over 10 years ago, PanoramaNow has been added to Newsbreak – a national news affiliate.

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About The Author

Sue Baxter

Susie Young Baxter, CEO, has published PanoramaNOW Magazine for 31 years. Her hobbies are Camping, Boating, Hiking, Nature, Gardening and Outdoor Activities. She is an Artist, Graphic Designer, an Avid Seamstress, Dabbles in Homemade Crafts and Landscaping. Since her Father was a Health Teacher, she also likes homeopathic Health Solutions. Since blogging started over 10 years ago, PanoramaNow has been added to Newsbreak - a national news affiliate.