Explore the Prairie Duneland Trail

For those eager to explore rail-trails in Northwest Indiana, the 10.3-mile Prairie Duneland Trail is one of the best options thanks to its abundance of scenic spots.

As the paved trail shoots a straight line between Hobart and Chesterton, you’ll see wetlands, parks, and plenty of wild and wooded terrain mixed in with patches of suburbia.

But that’s just part of it. Here’s a closer look at this gem of a trail.

After picking up the trail on east side of Hobart at the northeast corner of Cleveland Avenue and Highway 130, you’ll immediately encounter a pleasant mix of cropland, residential areas, patches of woodland, and small marshes. A creek winds along the south side of the trail after crossing County Line Road.

Soon, the trail arrives at Countryside Park, which contains the Alton Goin Museum and a historic farmhouse. The museum focuses on the history of Portage, with items such as a spiffy fire truck from the 1920s, a miniature replica of the historic village, and local Native American artifacts. On one side of the museum is a sledding hill; a fishing pond sits on the other.

The next few miles after Countryside Park, residential developments come and go. About 6 miles into the trail, the Iron Horse Heritage Trail spurs to the north, offering quick access to the 256-acre Imagination Glen Park. Ten miles of dirt trails in the park provides a popular destination for local mountain bikers.

Dense woodland lines the trail for the final few miles to its endpoint at a new skate park at the outskirts of Chesterton. Take a break while watching the skaters strut their stuff, or take a short trip to downtown Chesterton and visit places like the Red Cup Café and Deli, the Butler Winery, and the Chesterton Art Center.

Resources: The Northwest Indiana Bike Map shows all the parking areas and cross streets along the Prairie Duneland Trail.

The Alton Goin Museum is open on weekends in Countryside Park.

This guest blog post was provided by Ted Villaire, author of a handful of outdoor recreation guidebooks, including 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Chicago and Best Bike Rides Chicago, which will be released spring 2011.

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