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Discover Great Marsh Trail

The Great Marsh Trail is 1.2 miles long and runs through the largest interdunal wetlands in the Lake Michigan watershed. The marsh is a vital habitat for plants and animals, and visitors can take advantage of the accessible observation deck to see some of the hundreds of species of birds that visit during their long migrations or make the area their home. Separated from Lake Michigan by a majestic dune ridge, the trail is only minutes from the shore. 

While once people believed that wetlands like the Great Marsh should be drained for development, today we understand that they serve vital functions in preventing flooding and erosion, and helping to protect our drinking water.

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Get Involved

Be the Change — Volunteer! Get more involved with the Indiana Dunes! There are many no-hassle, drop-in volunteer opportunities available for everyone. Just show up! The organization provides the gear and training.


While the Indiana Dunes area is considered a safe, family-friendly destination, there still some things you need to know. In this video, we explore different safety tips and visitor responsibilities. From understanding rip tides to protecting yourself against ticks, this video offers important information for keeping you and your loved ones safe during your stay in the Indiana Dunes area.

Visit Off Season

This trail is a perfect birding location thanks to being the largest wetland complex in the Lake Michigan watershed. During the spring and fall migration birders can spot herons, egrets, sandhill cranes, warblers, and red-winged black birds. Other birds that rest in the Great Marsh Trail during the migration season include kingfishers, tree swallows, and rusty blackbirds.

What to Expect

Guests can choose from two small parking lots at the Great Marsh Trail. The south lot features several gravel spaces for 8–10 vehicles and leads visitors to the main trailhead.  The north lot features a paved parking lot (with one handicap space and one regular space) which leads visitors to a wheelchair-accessible trail to the observation deck. The deck offers a spectacular view of the marsh and the birds that inhabit it.

Hikers can expect grassy trails with some sections of packed dirt along this 1.3 mile trail. Come prepared to wear appropriate footwear ideal for wet conditions as the trails can become muddy and slippery after a heavy rainfall.

Main Lot and trailhead (south):

  • Free to enter
  • Open daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm
  • 1.3 miles
  • No drinking fountains
  • No restrooms
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • No handicap parking

Accessible Lot (north):

  • Free to enter
  • Open daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm
  • .2 miles accessible path to boardwalk platform
  • No drinking fountains
  • No restrooms
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • One handicap parking space