Photos and story by: Beth Rudnick
Location: USGS Great Lakes Science Center, 1574 N. 300 E, Beverly Shores, IN
Hours: 6am - 11pm
Trail Length: Paved - Science Center trail .5 miles; Great Marsh Trail 1.7 miles.
Entrance Cost: Free
Dog Friendly: Yes, on a leash.
As the weather turns brisker, there's no reason to ditch the dunes -- even if you are not a cold-weather warrior. There are plenty of easier trails for the less stout hikers who want to warm up to nature without chilling their bones.
The Great Lakes Science Center is the starting point for a stunning, tree-sheltered walk or hike, offering both a paved, easy trail as well as longer, "off-road" hike. This time of year the scenery is spectacular, but even an eventual snow pack adds festive charm. (And, makes it a great spot to x-country ski!). The paved trail is less than a mile with benches along the way. The Great Lakes Science Center is located at 1574 N 300 E, otherwise known as the intersection of Highway 12 and Kemil Beach Road in Beverly Shores.
Another short, paved, and handicap-accessible walk is along the Great Marsh Trail off Broadway in Beverly Shores (with access to a longer, non-paved walk along the marshes). If birding is your thing, the overlook offers a chance to spot Northwest Indiana's larger winged friends. The accessible parking is the 2nd small lot off Broadway heading North.
It's well worth it to grab the gloves and scarf and enjoy the newly redesigned Lake View on Lake Front Drive before leaving Beverly Shores. A few years ago rising lake levels levels decimated this area but it has been redesigned and reopened with benches and spectacular lake views. There is lake access here as well.
Be sure to stop at Over Yonder Dunes Gift Shop before heading home and pick up a reminder of the beauty our dunes has to offer. You can recharge with a cup of warm soup at Joe and Freddy's or a delicious craft cocktail at Goblin & the Grocer, both located along Highway 12.
Want to read about more trails and local spots in the Indiana Dunes? Be sure to sign up for the Dig the Dunes weekly e-newsletter, right here.