Chesterton Tribune

Indiana Dunes State Park picked by USA Today as a top hiking spot

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Indiana Dunes State Park has again garnered national attention, this time by being chosen by USA Today as one of the best places in the nation to hike.

USA Today last week ran a feature called “51 scenic hikes,” and they enlisted local experts to pick one great place to hike in each state and the District of Columbia. In Indiana, USA Today chose Dunes State Park based on the recommendation of Sally McKinney, author of Hiking Indiana.

“East of the Nature Center, choose the wide, sandy path to Indiana Dunes Nature Preserve,” USA Today wrote. “Enter black oak and maple forest and find dramatic dune country blowouts amid shifting sand hills. Green grasses and sedge poke up between matted, dry leaves; moss forms a natural carpet. From the crest of high dunes, look out over vast Lake Michigan.”

Brandt Baughman, park manager at Indiana Dunes State Park, said the description fits the park’s Trail 9, one of six trails in the park which together total 16.5 miles.

Baughman added that he is pleased the park was recognized as a hiker’s destination just a short time after Midwest Living magazine named the park one of its “Best State Parks.” “This is one I can certainly agree with,” he said. “Our trail system in the state park is certainly phenomenal, among the best I’ve been on anywhere, and I’m glad to see it recognized. It’s such a unique trail system and a diverse trail system. You’re not going to see anything else like it in Indiana and the rest of the Midwest.”

Although Trail 9 is certainly as great as described, Baughman noted, all of the park’s trails have their own unique attractions.

Porter County’s parks and attractions have attracted a lot of positive attention this season. In its June edition, Parents magazine picked Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s West Beach, located in Portage, as one of the Top 10 Best Family Beaches in the nation.


for more information about Dunes State Park.






Posted 6/28/2011