Trails & Biking in Miller Beach

Gary’s Miller Beach neighborhood  sits at the heart of over 20 miles of interconnected trails, linking the Miller South Shore station, the Douglas Nature Center (the west visitors center of Indiana Dunes National Park), 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.  

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.

Gary’s Aetna neighborhood borders the Miller Beach neighborhood  – it’s south side of Melton Road (Highway 20).  Aetna is also shown on this map.  The Glen Ryan section of the Miller Beach neighborhood is also shown and connected on this map at Glen Ryan Park/Pavilion.

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. This Shirley Heinz Preserve is in the northeast residential section of the Miller Beach neighborhood.

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, starting east at the north end of the Paul H. Douglas Trail in the national park, thru Lake Street Beach, Marquette Park and stretching across the entire Miller Beach neighborhood.  Continue walking east into the West Beach section of the national park on the east side of the Miller Beach neighborhood.  Beach trails at the end of streets allow for easy walking access .  Public parking at key points as shown on the map. Birding hotspots on the Indiana Birding Trail at Lake Street Beach and Marquette Beach.

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

Chanute Trail: Paved. Extensives views of wetlands and open dunes, with peeks of Lake Michigan.  Sandy paths off of the paved trail lead to the beach. Runs parallel to the Lake Michigan shoreline connecting Lake Street Beach to Marquette Park and beach. The trailhead /entry point is located at the east end of Lake Street Beach parking lot.  The second trailhead/ entry point is located at the west end of the Marquette Park parking lot. Suitable for people with disabilities or families with strollers.

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. Suitable for people with disabilities or families with strollers.  Continue north, on the street for another few minutes to  reach Lake Street Beach (Lake Michigan). Lake Street Beach is a hotspot on the Indiana Birding Trail, and listed as an Important Birding Area by the Audubon Society.


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, past historic architecture and thru an oak savanna. Passes next to the kayak launch on the Calumet Lagoon, the Marquette Pavilion and the historic Gary Bathing Beach building now called the Gary Aquatorium. Connects to the Chanute Trail thru the west end of the Marquette Park parking lot. This Indiana Audubon birding festival destination passes along the southern most point of Lake Michigan. Indiana Birding Trail site at the eastern concession stand area on the lakefront. Listed as an Important Birding Area by the Audubon Society.

Marquette Loop Trail
Marquette Loop Trail at the Concession Stand.

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. Suitable for people with disabilities or families with strollers.

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.  Includes a 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).  :

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