Indiana Dunes Country Destination Profile & Press Kits

Learn more about Indiana Dunes Country and some of the specific attractions. If you need any assistance, please contact Promotions Director Ken Kosky:

Ken Kosky

Indiana Dunes Tourism Promotions Director

Where: The Indiana Dunes are along the southern shore of Lake Michigan and are primarily in Porter County, a Northwest Indiana county with a population of about 167,000. There are two cities in Porter County: Portage (pop. 37,000), and Valparaiso (the county seat, pop. 32,000). The largest town is Chesterton (pop. 13,000), and other towns include Beverly Shores, Burns Harbor, Dune Acres, Hebron, Kouts, Ogden Dunes, Porter and The Pines.

The Indiana Dunes: The Indiana Dunes are a state park surrounded by a national park. Indiana Dunes State Park draws about 1 million visitors each year, while the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore sees about 2 million visitors annually).

Distance: The Indiana Dunes are about an hour from Chicago, 2.5 hours from Indianapolis, and within driving distance of much of the Midwest. It is easily accessible by taking Interstate 65 (from the south) to either the Indiana Toll Road or Interstate 80-94 (which visitors use when coming from the east or the west), to State Road 49 North.

Weather: The average weather highs and lows, in Fahrenheit, are:

  • Spring: 58/35
  • Summer: 81/60
  • Autumn: 64/44
  • Winter: 29/10


Swimmer Safety:
Indiana Dunes Tourism advises people not to swim when high waves are present. Even strong swimmers can be carried away by large waves. If a current is taking a person away from shore, they are advised not to swim against it. Instead, swim parallel to shore until out of the current.

Who: Any reporter, photographer or videographer and their audience

What: The 3 Dune Challenge, a special 1.5-mile course at Indiana Dunes State Park, climbing Mount Jackson (elevation 176 feet), Mount Holden (184 feet), and Mount Tom (192 feet). These are the three highest dunes in all of Indiana Dunes State Park (add photos and reference).

Where: Starts at the Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center, 1600 North 25 East, Chesterton, IN 46304. Finishers can pick up free stickers and can purchase commemorative shirts at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, located about a mile south of the state park at 1215 N. State Road 49, Porter, IN 46304.

When: The 3 Dune Challenge can be done from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.

Why: To conquer an extreme physical challenge.

When is The 3 Dune Challenge? It can be done any day of the week, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Is it guided, or do I do it on my own? Indiana Dunes State Park occasionally has guided hikes, but it is primarily to be done on one’s own schedule and at one’s own pace. The trail is marked with signs to guide users.

Is there a cost? There is a $5 per car fee (Indiana residents) or $10 per car fee (out of state) to enter Indiana Dunes State Park. Once inside, there are no parking fees or fees to do The 3 Dune Challenge.

How difficult is it? People of all ages – from children to seniors – have completed The 3 Dune Challenge. However, others have had to turn back. Be realistic about your running or hiking ability. If you get tired, stop for a break or take a shortcut back to the starting point. There are plenty of easier trails to enjoy.

Is there written copy, images and video of The 3 Dune Challenge? See below for written copy. For photos and video, contact Promotions Director Ken Kosky at 800-283-8687 or 219-926-2255, ext. 223, or by email at ken@indianadunes.com.

Are you ready for a run or hike that will leave your legs screaming, sweat pouring down your face and your mind telling you that you should turn back?

If so, The 3 Dune Challenge is for you.

To complete The 3 Dune Challenge, a person must tackle a special 1.5-mile course at Indiana Dunes State Park, climbing Mount Jackson (elevation 176 feet), Mount Holden (184 feet), and Mount Tom (192 feet). These are the three highest dunes in all of Indiana Dunes State Park.

Some parts of the trail feature 40-degree slopes, making each step that much more, well, challenging. In the sandy vertical climbs, it’s common to take two steps forward and slide one step back.

The course is tough, but many have conquered it. Some extreme fitness enthusiasts have even done the flip trip – finishing the challenge, then turning around and doing the course from the opposite direction for double the fun and double the exhaustion.

The 3 Dune Challenge at Indiana Dunes State Park along Lake Michigan is tough, but you get great views and, hey, not everybody can say they finished it.

Those who conquer The 3 Dune Challenge are invited to stop by the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, located about a mile south of the state park, to buy a shirt and pick up a free commemorative sticker or decal and postcards.

The 3 Dune Challenge can be done any day of the week from morning to night at Indiana Dunes State Park, 1600 North 25 East, Chesterton, IN. The challenge starts at the park’s Nature Center. There’s no cost to do the challenge, but there is a gate fee ($10 per car if you’re out of state/$5 per car in state).

To learn more about The 3 Dune Challenge, visit www.IndianaDunes.com/3dc.
To learn about or other things to do in Indiana Dunes Country, or to claim a sticker to commemorate doing The 3 Dune Challenge, stop by the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, located at 1215 N. State Road 49 in Porter, IN.

The Indiana Dunes (PDF 155KB)

Must See and Do in Indiana Dunes Country (PDF 238 KB)