The Indiana Insider Blog

Think you can handle The 3 Dune Challenge?

Are you looking for a new challenge? Do you have what it takes to climb the three highest sand dunes in Indiana?

If so, The 3 Dune Challenge is for you.

To complete The 3 Dune Challenge, a person must run or hike a special 1.5 mile course at Indiana Dunes State Park, climbing Mount Jackson (elevation 176 feet), Mount Holden (184 feet), and Mount Tom (192 feet). Some parts of the trail feature 40-degree slopes, making each step that much more, well, challenging. In the sandy vertical climbs, it’s common to take two steps forward and slide one step back.

The 3 Dune Challenge is a rugged course at Indiana Dunes State Park. The park also has easier trails.

The 3 Dune Challenge is a rugged course at Indiana Dunes State Park. The park also has easier trails.

But those who conquer The 3 Dune Challenge are invited to stop by the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, located just a mile south of the state park, to buy a shirt and pick up a free commemorative sticker or decal and postcards.

I did it, and it was challenging, but fun. I plan to make it a regular activity to keep me motivated and fit. But I also like variety, so I’ll still do some of the other great trails at Indiana Dunes State Park.

What’s interesting is that so many people think Mt. Baldy, which is located a few miles to the east in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, is the tallest dune in Indiana. But at 125 feet, Mt. Baldy is significantly less tall than the three sand dunes that are part of The 3 Dune Challenge. The 3 Dune Challenge is definitely the premier fitness challenge in the Indiana Dunes. For those who have enjoyed Mt. Baldy in the past, keep in mind that it is closed indefinitely, with visitors being directed to the many other great Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore sites or Indiana Dunes State Park.

Anyway, I see The 3 Dune Challenge trail becoming something that athletes, families and groups of friends attempt and then make into a regular activity or annual tradition.

The 3 Dune Challenge trail at Indiana Dunes State Park begins at the Nature Center and is rated as rugged in difficulty level, but the park has several other trails that are rated moderate and easy. So, groups that have people of different fitness levels can pick a trail that matches their ability. The park’s entry fee is $5 per car for Indiana residents and $10 per car for those outside of the state.

The Indiana Dunes area also features 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline for swimming, volleyball or relaxing.

The 3 Dune Challenge is a fitness challenge, but with better views than you'd get on a treadmill.

The 3 Dune Challenge is a fitness challenge, but with better views than you’d get on a treadmill.

To learn more about The 3 Dune Challenge or other things to do in Indiana Dunes Country, stop by the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, located at 1215 N. State Road 49 in Porter, IN; click here or call 800-283-8687. The 3 Dune Challenge, an initiative of Indiana Dunes Tourism, officially kicks off June 12.

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Written by : Ken Kosky is promotions director for Indiana Dunes Tourism, the official tourism bureau of Porter County. He is a graduate of Portage High School and Ball State University and wrote for The Times of Northwest Indiana before entering the tourism industry. Read more about Indiana Dunes Country at http://www.indianadunes.com/travel-blog/ .