This 9.7-mile loop in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore combines a section of the Ly-co-ki-we Trail with a 3.6-mile round-trip on the Dunewood Trace Trail. From the trailhead off US 20, follow the eastern portion of the Ly-co-ki-we Trail through dense oak, sugar maple, and flowering dogwood, heading north into marshy wetlands.
Cruise two sections of boardwalk before turning east amid sandy savannahs and forested dune ridges en route to the Calumet Interpretive Center—look for white-tailed deer in this section during morning and afternoon hours. There’s a short stretch of pavement near the interpretive center, where this route continues east on the sandy surface of the Dunewood Trace trail for a 1.8-mile stretch to the campground.
Retrace the Dunewood Trail through wetlands and bottomland woods, this time skirting the interpretive center via a paved path and branching left on the Ly-co-ki-we’s northern leg near mile 6.7. Loop through familiar dune ridges as the route turns south, skips the 1.2-mile extension trail, and bears east toward a small hill climb just before the trailhead.
Note: The sandy trail surface is harder to walk on than hard-packed dirt, so expect a calf workout if you complete this entire route. To drop mileage, consider cutting back on short connector trails that periodically link the Ly-co-ki-we’s loop.
-Mapped by Ted Villare