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Mt. Baldy Summit Trail

  4.5 ( 4 ) Favorite


0.8 mile 1.3 kilometer loop


Ascent: 55' 17 m
Descent: -55' -17 m
High: 664' 203 m
Low: 615' 188 m


Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 6% (3°)


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Trail shared by Rafi Wilkinson

The iconic dune of the National Park with sweeping views of Lake Michigan.

Rafi Wilkinson

Features Lake · Views

Family Friendly Kids love climbing the dunes.

Restricted access. Access requires advanced approval and accompaniment by authorized staff. See the Need to Know section for more information.


Mt. Baldy is 126 feet above the water level of Lake Michigan and is moving inland at about 4 feet per year. Beach sand on the dune moves when the prevailing northwest wind exceeds 7 m.p.h.

The movement of Mt. Baldy is made worse because there is no longer sand collecting at the water's edge to bolster the dune. Beach erosion is taking away more sand from Mt. Baldy than the waves are bringing in due to the breakwall that was built for the Michigan City Harbor. To try and correct the effect of the breakwall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began feeding the beach in 1974.

Thus far there have been four replenishments of sand to Mt. Baldy:
- 1974 fine sand trucked in
- 1983 coarse sand trucked in
- 1996 early summer 35,000 cubic yards slurried in by pipe from the harbor
- 1996 late summer 50,000 cubic yards trucked in

Need to Know

There are free ranger-led hikes on weekends in the summer and at other times throughout the year. Tour details can be obtained at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center at (219) 395-1882. Call to confirm tour dates and times or check the park newspaper, The Singing Sands. You can also find tour dates on the park website or Facebook page.


The hike is short with a very steep climb up loose sand to reach the top of the dune. The views are incredible as you hike on top of the barren (or bald) sand dune. Follow the ranger in order to protect the fragile dune.

History & Background

Indiana Dunes National Park (formerly national lakeshore) was established to preserve important 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 the park website or Facebook page.

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Aug 11, 2019
Lisa Reisman
Aug 9, 2019
Grace Gulczinski
5h 00m
Jul 23, 2018
Chris Davis
May 26, 2018
Dana Webb
Loved the hike it was very pretty at the top 8.8mi
Jan 28, 2018
Anna Swan
Went with Jamie

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 4 votes


  4.5 from 4 votes
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in Indiana


35 Views Last Month
1,166 Since Dec 17, 2015



Sweeping views of Lake Michigan from the top of Mt. Baldy during a ranger-led tour.
Jan 13, 2016 near Michiga…, IN
Enjoying the ranger program from the top of Mt. Baldy.
Jan 13, 2016 near Michiga…, IN
The backside of Mt. Baldy during a ranger-led tour.
Jan 13, 2016 near Michiga…, IN
Hiking up Mt. Baldy during a ranger-led tour.
Jan 13, 2016 near Michiga…, IN


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