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Mt. Baldy Summit Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.6 (7) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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


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Map Key

0.8

Miles

1.3

KM

Out and Back

664' 203 m

High

615' 188 m

Low

55' 17 m

Up

55' 17 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

6%

Max Grade (3°)

Dogs Leashed

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.

Overview

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.

Description

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Rafi Wilkinson

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 7 votes

#2133

Overall
  4.6 from 7 votes
5 Star
71%
4 Star
14%
3 Star
14%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#10

in Indiana

#2,133

Overall
16 Views Last Month
1,662 Since Dec 17, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

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
Hiking up Mt. Baldy during a ranger-led tour.
Jan 13, 2016 near Michiga…, IN
The backside of Mt. Baldy during a ranger-led tour.
Jan 13, 2016 near Michiga…, IN

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Check-Ins

Apr 4, 2021
Valerie King-Colón
Mar 23, 2021
Valerie King-Colón
45h 00m
Mar 22, 2021
Valerie King-Colón
40h 00m
Jan 8, 2020
Tom Herr
Short trail through the woods onto the loose sand of the dune. Got lost and went to the beach, then went over the dune as a shortcut to the car. 0.8mi
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