What do you do to escape? Many watch TV or read a book, entering into a new world with swords, dragons, and evil twins.
Another great way to escape when you need to unwind, enjoy nature, and grab your daily dose of exercise in, is taking to the trails.
Every weekend, I head to one of the Porter County trails in Northwest Indiana for my long run or hike with the dogs. I join in other local runners as we trek through the sand, pavement, and dirt, because the trails are something special, something different, something that is hard to describe. It is just a trail thing…
Here is where I go and I hope to see you out there!
1. Indiana Dunes State Park Trail 10: This is the classic, go-to trail when you’re at the Dunes. Surrounded by trees and animals this trail starts at Wilson Shelter and is three-miles long until you reach the beach. This trail connects to pathways throughout the Dunes, the beloved Three Dunes Challenge, and if you’re lucky you may stumble upon The Ridge. If you’re looking for an easy run or beautiful walk with the dogs, you’re in for the perfect trail trip. TIP: If you don’t care about your shoes, take the path toward Trail 2, where half the boardwalk sits underwater, before leading onto a flat, rooted path.
2. Fire Trails: These are the long-lost trails near Beverly Shores and Kemil Beach. These trails are short and sweet, winding around in circles, easy to get lost, yet easy to find your way out. These are single-track trails and leads to the closed off Beverly Road. While running through, you run next to a large swamp with birds, bugs, and ducks. Further along, tree branches overhang above you like a walk through the dark forest. TIP: These trail plants are overgrown and like to stay that way. Wear your pants or socks, or those sticks and thorn bushes are going to get ya!
3. Calumet Trail: The world’s longest trail…well, that is what you feel like when you’re walking on it! With trees and grass on one side, the South Shore Line on another, the nine-mile trail starting from Mineral Springs Road to Michigan City is a flat, fast, and a great path for a mountain bike ride or run! With this path, take water because the only water stop includes the bright pink Beverly Shores train station! Also, grab a hat and some sunglasses; there is nothing between you and the sun for a long time! TIP: Don’t head out after big thunderstorm. This trail becomes a small Lake Michigan with its constant puddles!
4. The Prairie Duneland Trail: Are you training for a road race or your dog needs a break from your neighborhood? Then the bike trail in Chesterton is the best road trail to go. As one of my favorite places to run, the bike trail offers a large paved path starting from Chesterton to Hobart! The 10-mile long path is filled with dog walkers, road bikers, walkers, and runners. Along the path, there are porta-potties and drinking fountains, and you can start in Chesterton and hop off in Portage at any time! For those who need a safe place to walk or run, the bike trail is the spot to go. TIP: Pay attention to the wooden sign posts with mile markers – these are the newest and most accurate mile markers, just in case you forgot your watch!
5. Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve: For a mix of trails and roads, the Coffee Creek Preserve offers it all. There are wooden boardwalks, graveled trail paths, and cobbled streets. Coffee Creek is used by people from all over the Region and continues to get more beautiful. Deer eat and play just a few feet from the path, and the ponds are great places to sit next to for a picnic or watch the sunset. Head out on Wednesday afternoon for a Farmer’s Market in the back parking lot. TIP: Be aware of any parties, walks/run races, fundraising activities and construction the day you’re going. This is a busy place!
Northwest Indiana is filled with diverse landscapes and place to enjoy nature and the outdoors for everyone. Whether you’re running for a time, or chasing down your escaped puppy, the local trails are here for every need. And, when you need to escape from the pressures of daily life, every step on any trail will do the trick.
Let us know your favorite trail in the Region!