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Dune Succession Trail

Intermediate
 4.6 (12)

Sweeping views of Lake Michigan and dunes succession ecology in just one mile!


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Map Key

0.6

Miles

1.0

KM

Point to Point

667' 203 m

High

591' 180 m

Low

79' 24 m

Up

43' 13 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

15%

Max Grade (8°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Lake · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Located close to a swimming beach with incredible views of Lake Michigan from the top of the dune.

Parking and access open daily 8:00 am to 10:00 pm Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend and 8:00 am to 30 minutes after sunset the remainder of the year. There is a $6 per car expanded amenity parking fee collected from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. No bicycles or motorized vehicles allowed on the trail. Stay on the trail to protect fragile dunes and yourself. Pets are permitted on a leash (6 or shorter) everywhere except for the lifeguarded swimming area.

Description

The Dune Succession Trail (Loop 1) at West Beach highlights the four stages of dune development within its one-mile length. The actual trail is only ~0.6 miles long, but the loop totals one mile when the necessary jaunts along the road and West Beach Trail are factored in. From the parking lot, follow the road north, toward the lake and look for the trail to pick up to the west of the bathhouse.

This scenic, but strenuous, trail includes a climb up 250 stairs for a spectacular view of Lake Michigan and Chicago. Support the restoration effort in the fragile dunes and ponds, or pannes, by remaining on designated trails.

The main trail is not accessible to wheelchairs. However, there is a paved road from the parking lot to the bathhouse that offers views of Lake Michigan that is accessible to wheelchairs. The main parking lot has spots for 596 cars and is open year round.

There are restroom facilities and potable water available year round in the West Beach Contact Station. Seasonal showers, lockers and a lifeguarded beach are available from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

Indiana Dunes National Park (formerly national lakeshore) was established to preserve portions of the Indiana Dunes and other areas of scenic, scientific, historic and recreational value. Up to two million annual visitors enjoy the park's 15,000 acres of wetlands, prairies, sand dunes, oak savannas, forests, and historic sites. The park's 15 miles of beaches hug the southern shore of Lake Michigan from Gary, IN, to Michigan City, IN. For more information, visit nps.gov/indu/index.htm or facebook.com/IndianaDunesNPS.

Contacts

Shared By:

Rafi Wilkinson

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 12 votes

#714

Overall
  4.6 from 12 votes
5 Star
67%
4 Star
25%
3 Star
8%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#4

in Indiana

#714

Overall
31 Views Last Month
1,553 Since Dec 17, 2015
Intermediate

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Photos

The Dune Succession Trail.
Jan 11, 2016 near Ogden D…, IN
Hiking through some of the southernmost stands of jack pines in the world. These are a result of the last ice age!
Jan 11, 2016 near Ogden D…, IN
View from the overlook.
Jan 11, 2016 near Ogden D…, IN
Stunning view of the ice on Lake Michigan and the West Beach bathhouse.
Jan 11, 2016 near Ogden D…, IN
Climbing the Dune Succession Trail stairs.
Jan 11, 2016 near Ogden D…, IN
Looking at a frozen Lake Michigan!
Jan 11, 2016 near Ogden D…, IN

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Check-Ins

Jul 5, 2021
Sallie LeCounte
Jun 12, 2021
Trina Laube
May 23, 2021
Jeanette Numrich
Beautiful views, big climbs on stairs 1mi — 1h 00m
Apr 4, 2021
Nichole Haines
Sep 19, 2020
Lily Adams
Aug 5, 2020
Peter Z
Did in combo with West Beach trail Wish they provided more info on dunes to understand the "succession" aspect
Aug 3, 2020
Todd Nelson
Neat little hike
Jun 29, 2020
Liz Biuksans-Gunderloy