Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, authorized by Congress in 1966, is located
approximately 50 miles southeast of Chicago, Illinois in the counties of Lake,
Porter, and LaPorte in Northwest Indiana. The national lakeshore runs for nearly
25 miles along southern Lake Michigan, bordered by Michigan City, Indiana on the
east, and Gary on the west. The park contains approximately 15,000 acres, 2,182
of which are located in Indiana Dunes State Park and managed by the Indiana
Department of Natural Resources. Miles of beaches, sand dunes, bog, wetlands,
woodland forests, an 1830's French Canadian homestead, and a working 1900 era
farm combine to make the national lakeshore a unique setting for studying humans
and their impact on the environment. Dr. Henry Cowles conducted his landmark
ecological studies in the Indiana Dunes. Indiana Dunes is ranked 7th among
national parks in native plant diversity. Research conducted over the last two
decades has revealed 1,418 vascular plant species within park boundaries, of
which over 90 are on the state of Indiana's threatened or endangered list.
Visitors can access the national lakeshore via Interstate Highway I-94; the
Indiana Toll Road, I-80/90; U.S. 20, or Indiana State Hwy 12 and various state
roads. The Visitor Center is located 3 miles east of Hwy 49 at the intersection
of Hwy 12 and Kemil Road, Beverly Shores, Indiana.
Visitors can travel park roads in personal vehicles. Bicycles are permitted on
the main roads but are prohibited on all hiking trails except: Calumet Bike
Trail, Long Lake Trail, Marquette Trail, and the Lake Michigan shore line from
Lake Front Drive to Central Avenue Beach. Bicycles are strictly prohibited
off-trail or on sand dunes.