Hike Leader: Bill Artz
You are invited to travel to Northwest Indiana to hike the Paul H. Douglas Trail (Miller Woods). The trail is located within Indiana Dunes National Park. It winds through several habitats including wetlands, globally rare black oak savanna, open dunes, and beach. The views of the lake and the dunes are incredible. The oak savanna’s native grasses and wildflowers, including lupine, thrive in the sunlight and open forest floor
The planned hike is 6-miles. However, because this featured hike is essentially an out and back trail, including walking on the beach along the Lake Michigan shore, you can elect to walk less or more than the planned distance.
Starting from the Paul H. Douglas Center, we will take the trail north around the wetland complex. Look for wildlife including beavers. The trail will run west along the top of the wetland. At the trail junction, take a right and follow the trail to the north. The trail from this point is an out and back to the beach. The trail features beautiful scenery with small interdunal ponds nestled among oak savanna covered dunes teeming with wildflowers in the spring and summer.
Once you cross the bridge over the Grand Calumet River, the landscape changes dramatically into a world of towering sand dunes. The trail winds around and through the dunes all the way the shore of Lake Michigan. After enjoying the lake, follow the trail back to the junction at the wetland complex. Follow the trail to the right along the wetland back to the Paul H. Douglas Center. The trail surface is mostly sand with some sections of packed soil, gravel, or boardwalk. The hike will take longer than you think due the loose footing of walking in the sand. The trail starts in relative shade but ends in the full sun.
Please bring plenty of water, sun protection and dress for the weather. Please note that the weather on the beach can be dramatically colder or hotter than in the woods. It is also recommended that you bring a picnic lunch and a beach towel or blanket to sit on the beach. Lifeguards will be on duty if you fancy a dip in Lake Michigan to cool off.
Directions: From Chicago on the north, take I-94 East to Exit 59A to merge on to I-90 East , Skyway, Indiana toll road. Proceed on I-80E to Exit 17 onto US 12 East. Turn left onto Lake street. Lake Street is under construction. Please follow the detour signs and turn left onto Grand Blvd. Proceed north past the stoplight and turn left onto Birch St. Turn left at Lake Street and follow signs to parking lot on the left.
South: I-80 East to I-65 North. Take I-65N to US 12 East. Turn left onto Lake street. Lake Street is under construction. Please follow the detour signs and turn left onto Grand Blvd. Proceed north past the stoplight and turn left onto Birch St. Proceed West on Birch and turn left at Lake Street and follow signs to the parking lot on the le