Trails for Hiking & Biking in Miller Beach

Gary’s Miller Beach neighborhood  sits at the heart of over 20 miles of interconnected biking and hiking trails, linking the Miller South Shore station, the Douglas Nature Center (western National Park visitor’s center), as well as downtown shops and restaurants.  

Take the Chanute trail and experience a paved path linking Lake Street Beach to the Historic Gary Aquatorium in Marquette Park, where the beaches, playgrounds, and dunes overlooking the Chicago skyline create the perfect family picnic spot.  Hike and bike a wide variety of gorgeous scenery!  Bike east on the Marquette Greenway trail to connect to other places within Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana Dunes State Park, and other towns in Northwest Indiana.  Get on a trail in 10 minutes from anywhere here!  See a pictorial account of riding these trails.

Trail Highlights:

Refer to the map for locations (scroll down)

Bayless Dune Trail: Sandy. Scenic dune hike through a wooded areas, dunes and blow outs marked with interpretive signage. Located at 8975-9047 Indian Boundary, Gary, IN. A Shirley Heinz Preserve in the northeast residential section of Miller Beach.

Bayless Dune Trail leads through woods and over scenic dunes. Photo Credit: Tom Cera (also the banner image for the page)

Beachfront Trail: Sandy.  Five miles plus of beautiful Lake Michigan beaches are open year round for your walking pleasure.  Begins at end of the Paul H. Douglas Trail at Miller Woods Beach, thru Lake Street Beach, Marquette Beach and stretching across the entire Miller Beach neighborhood.  Continue walking east into the West Beach (national park) on the east side of the Miller Beach neighborhood.  Public parking at key points as shown on the map.

Miller Woods Beach fall scene.
Miller Woods Beach fall scene.

Chanute Trail: Paved. Connects Lake Street and Marquette Beach parking lots.  Extensive views of wetlands and open dunes, with peeks of Lake Michigan.  Sandy paths off of the paved trail lead to the beach.

Chanute Trail connects Lake Street Beach to Marquette Park.

Lake Street Cycle Track: Paved. Starts in downtown Miller Beach on Lake Street, one block north of the Miller South Shore train station.  Bike lane runs north thru downtown and connects to the national park’s Paul H. Douglas Center.  Continue north, on the street for another few minutes to  reach Lake Street Beach (Lake Michigan).

Cycle Track downtown Miller Beach
Lake Street Bike Trail runs through downtown Miller Beach.

Marquette Greenway Trail: Hard Pack/ Gravel. Beautiful views of Long Lake, scenic wetlands with beaver lodges, oak savannas, and forested dunes. Connects to Miller Woods and West Beach which are both parts of the national park.  Cuts through the center of the Miller Beach neighborhood. Trail connections at Grand Avenue and Montgomery Streets about 1/2 mile south of the lake. Note: Grand to West Beach is great for bike riding.  Grand Avenue to the Paul H. Douglas Center parking lot is good for hiking but a little rough for biking at this time. West of Lake Street is rough gravel.

Brilliant fall colors on the Marquette Greenway Trail that connects two sections of the national park: Miller Woods at the Douglas Center and West Beach.  Photo Credit:  Peggy Vanhala


Marquette Park Loop: Paved. 1 1/2 mile.  Bike path circling Marquette Park with gorgeous views of Lake Michigan, and thru an oak savanna. Passes the kayak launch on the Calumet Lagoon, the Marquette Pavilion, and the historic Gary Aquatorium. Connect directly to the Chanute Trail on this loop or other key routes.

Marquette Loop Trail
Marquette Loop Trail at the Concession Stand.


Miller Woods Trail: Sandy. 1 1/2 mile.  This is the place where the national park was dedicated for a reason, it has it all! This trail connects to the Paul H Douglas Trail behind the Paul H Douglas Center and winds through oak savannas, dune and swale, across the Calumet Lagoon, thru sand dunes, and ends up on Miller Woods Beach, the westernmost beach in the Indiana Dunes National Park with gorgeous views of Chicago. It features an awe inspiring bloom of millions of lupines every May.

Typical May bloom in Miller Woods features millions of native lupines for most of the hike, right next to the trail! Photo Credit: Peggy Vanhala

Nelson Algren/Simone de Beauvoir Trail: Paved. Short connection to Marquette Park Pavilion from east end of Forest Avenue. Oak savanna & views of the Calumet Lagoon.  Begins adjacent to Nelson Algren former home on the lagoon at the end of Forest Avenue.

Sand Coreopsis on the south end of the Calumet Lagoon.
Sand Coreopsis blooms along the Nelson Algren Trail. Photo Credit: Cullen Ben-Daniel

Paul H. Douglas Trail and ADA loop: Paved. Gorgeous views and trails through wooded areas with expansive view to interdunal ponds.  Lovely picnic area with grills.  Boardwalk over a beautiful interdunal pond to observe wildlife. Suitable for people with disabilities or families with strollers. Enter by going thru the Douglas Nature Center ( Paul H Douglas Center, the western visitor center for the  Indiana Dunes National Park). Connects to the sandy Miller Woods Trail to take you to Lake Michigan.

Boardwalk over wetlands at the end of the Paul H. Douglas Trail. Photo Credit: Peggy Vanhala


West Beach (3 trails): Sandy & boardwalks. The world famous Succession Trail (where the Theory of Succession was developed) starts at the beach and winds through dunes, pines, deciduous forest, on a boardwalk and up many stairs to a scenic dune top  featuring panoramic views of the Chicago skyline, Lake Michigan, and the Indiana Dunes.  The Long Lake Trail, and West Beach Trails wind past wetlands and through dunes. Listed as an Important Birding Area by the Audubon Society.

Mayapples on Long Loop Trail
Masses of spring mayapples cover the forest floor on the Long Loop Trail, West Beach.

Hike and Bike Trail Map