The Indiana Insider Blog

Hiking Trails of Northwest Indiana


Bird at the Taltree Arboretum

Indiana has four distinct seasons, summer, fall, winter, and spring. Each season is uniquely beautiful. Spring can be especially beautiful in Northwestern Indiana. The area offers a vast array of hikes, and nature walks, from being nestled against Lake Michigan to the prairies, we have it all.  Here are the top five most loved and little known nature walks in Northwest Indiana.

1. Taltree Arboretum:  This 360-acre arboretum is located south of Valparaiso, Indiana. It has been in use since its purchase in 1999. The arboretum offers beautiful trails that wind through woods and prairie. The hikes range from 3 miles to a simple walk around one of the beautiful ponds. The arboretum has been replenished with local and naturally grown plants, that would have been around when settlers originally came to the area. Taltree also offers a vast array of events, such as live music during the late spring and early summer.

2. The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore: The Dunes offer amazing trails for every level of hiker. You can take a stroll next to the water, or climb high up into the dunes. Most trails do have some amenities such as bathrooms, and water fountains. If you prefer to ride a bike instead of walking, you can ride along the Calumet Trail, through the park. For a detailed maps and locations please visit the National Dunes Lakeshore website.

3.Coffee Creek Park: This nature walk is situated on a 167-acre natural watershed in Chesterton, Indiana. This charming trail is wonderful for families, as most of the trail is paved.  The trail runs through beautiful wooded areas and prairie alike. The trail also follows parts of coffee creek. Another benefit of this particular trail is it is located directly north of the Indiana Toll Road. However, although the location is convenient, once you are among the trees along this enchanted trail, road noise cannot be heard.

4.Grand Kanakee Marsh: If you are looking to make a day of your hiking adventure, then Grand Kankakee Marsh is your answer. This beautiful park is nestled along the historic Kankee river. The park offers a vast array of trails that wind through wooded areas and prairie alike. This park also offers wonderful amenities such as picnic areas and even grills, to make a yummy picnic before or after your walk. This park is very family friendly.

5. Heron Rookery Trail: This trail is a well-kept secret to locals. The Heron Rookery Trail located in Chesterton, Indiana is a hidden away amongst farm fields. The area surrounding the trail is a natural habitat for the blue heron. This trail winds along the Little Calumet River. While this hike is only about 2.4 miles, make sure to wear your hiking boots, as this trail can sometimes be a bit more difficult to navigate. As you walk down this trail, it is like walking in a secret garden.

Whether you want a strenuous hike, or a nice stroll on a weekend afternoon, come see the wonderful trails that Northwest Indiana has to offer. While these trail are open all summer, they are most beautiful in the spring as nature comes back to life. All of these trails also offer dynamic and beautiful wildlife. Next time you are looking for something to do on a weekend afternoon, come for a walk in Northwest Indiana.

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Written by : Jonathan Thomas is a blogger based in Northwest Indiana. He's passionate about the Indiana Dunes and Lake Michigan and wants to share all the fun possible in the area with the rest of the world. When not blogging for Travel Indiana, he hangs his hat at his Anglophile blog - Anglotopia and Niche Blogger Today. If you want to connect with him, you can contact him on Twitter @jonathanwthomas Jonathan receives compensation from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development in exchange for blogging. For more information, please see our FTC Disclosure page.