Hike the 3 Dune Challenge

    5.0
    1.5 miles 552 ft gain  - Loop Trail

    Added by Jake McKinney

    Scramble up the 3 largest sand dunes in Indiana, each over 175 feet tall, for enhanced views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline.

    Start at the Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center (the first exit off the roundabout in the park after the toll), after receiving your park map, and follow the 3 dune challenge. This challenge, looping trails 8 and 4, involves climbing to the top of Mt. Jackson (176 feet), Mt. Holden (184 feet), and Mt. Tom (192 feet). If you do not receive a map, ask one of the park attendants, or follow the paths to the large dunes of sand towering over the beach. There are shortcuts back to the Nature Center throughout the trail if time is short or the length is too long. While hiking (or running) up these dunes aren't easy, they're worth the effort-and plus going down is much more fun than up! At the top of these dunes, and throughout the park, be sure to look across the water to find the Chicago skyline, which can sometimes be hard to see because of the distance across the lake, but is for the most part easy to find. After completion be sure to head back to the visitor center to buy a sweatshirt or t-shirt saying you completed the challenge or tag @indianadunes on social media. 

    Read More
    Chillin
    Photography
    Running
    Hiking
    Bathrooms
    Beach
    Easy Parking
    Family Friendly
    Lake

    Go Pro.

    We're committed to building a better, more inclusive home for the modern outdoors. Go PRO to support our mission and get benefits like gear deals, no ads, and more!

    Learn More

    Reviews

    Rate this Adventure

    🥇Top Contributor

    5 months ago

    Awesome Challenge and Views

    I loved visiting this park and completing this challenge while in Indiana for an internship. The dunes are fairly high and are a tough, sandy climb - be sure to hydrate well and be prepared for a workout! The views from the top are worth the effort. It would be a good hike on its own, but the challenge makes it even more fun! When I completed it, the visitor center even awarded me with a free sticker to display the accomplishment!

    Leave No Trace

    Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

    We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

    Stay Nearby

    Gary, Indiana

    Villa Santorini + The Addition

    From $1,548/night

    Gary, Indiana

    The Addition At Villa Santorini

    From $350/night

    Chicago, Illinois

    Stylish Downtown High Rise: City Views, Pool & Gym

    From $90/night

    South Bend, Indiana

    1900's Farmhouse

    From $137.50/night

    Nearby Adventures

    Photograph the Chicago Skyline from the Indiana Dunes

    Hike the Cowles Bog Trail, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

    3.0
    3.4 mi / 200 ft gain

    Stroll along the Beach at Beverly Shores

    Hike the Dune Succession Trail, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

    4.5
    1 mi / 150 ft gain
    More Nearby Adventures