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Discover Pinhook Bog

One of only two bogs in Indiana, Pinhook Bog offers a unique glimpse into the region’s geological past. The bog was formed approximately 10,000 years ago when the water from a melting glacial fragment formed a freshwater lake here. With no source of additional fresh water other than rainfall or melting snow, the lake stagnated for millenia, creating the incredible ecosystem we see today. The bog is home to 1/3 of Indiana’s rare or endangered plants, and its acidic water provides the perfect habitat for an amazing assortment of carnivorous plants and the remarkable sphagnum moss that flourishes here. The moss forms a thick bed on the surface of the bog where trees and other plants have taken root. Even the tallest trees here will shake when the water is disturbed, which is why Pinhook Bog is known as a “quaking bog.”

IMPORTANT: Pinhook Bog is only accessible via ranger-led tours on summer weekends. Upland Trail is available any time of the year.

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Be Safe and Responsible

Pinhook Bog is a rare and fragile ecosystem, and we are all responsible for protecting it for future generations. Visitors must stay on designated trails at all times. The plants are precious, and their leaves, pinecones, and flowers are essential to their survival.

Poison ivy can grow alongside the trail, so wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents.

Parts of the Upland Trail and Pinhook Bog trail can become wet and muddy and adequate footwear is advised.

Watch the Video

While the Indiana Dunes area is considered a safe, family-friendly destination, there are 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.

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.

Visit Off Season

Pinhook bog is a beautiful place to visit during the fall. The Upland Trail offers visitors views of the bog as they hike among the massive colorful Beech-Maple forest. During the spring months guests can view the rare pink Lady’s Slipper orchid. This unique wildflower usually blooms in May or early June. The bog itself has restricted access and can only be accessed with authorized staff. However, the Upland Trail is open year round.

What to Expect

Today visitors can experience Pinhook Bog two ways: first, by walking the Bog Trail, a carefully monitored one-mile hike including a floating boardwalk over the sphagnum moss. Hours are limited to protect this fragile habitat, so be sure to plan ahead. For another view of the bog, check out the Upland Trail. This two-mile trail winds its way beneath beech and maple trees as it follows the dips and swells of the moraine, the ridges of earth and stone left behind by the receding glaciers. As it climbs, the trail offers a marvelous view of the bog below.

 

Pinhook Bog

  • Only open during ranger-led open houses on summer weekends
  • No entry fee
  • 20-space parking lot with one handicapped space
  • Two picnic tables
  • Porta-John during summer months only
  • No drinking fountains or other amenities
  • .3 mile packed dirt trail leading to boardwalk at bog
  • Not wheelchair accessible

Upland Trail

  • Open daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm
  • No entry fee
  • Available year round
  • Packed dirt trail
  • Not wheelchair accessible

Want More?

Our enthusiastic park rangers and local experts have shared much more information than we could fit into our main video. Thankfully, we have provided those videos here so you to discover even more.

Purple Pitcher Plants

Ranger Jennifer tells us about these amazing carnivores.

Dragonflies

Local nature enthusiast Lynea Hinchman has more to share about the dragonflies of Pinhook Bog.

Bog or Fen?

So what exactly is a bog? Ranger Jennifer tells us more about how the bog came to be and what makes it a bog and not a fen.

Bog Blogs

Indiana Dunes Blog

Pinhook Bog is a unique place with so much to learn about. These blogs from local experts, rangers, and Indiana Dunes Tourism staff continue the story.

Dunes 101

Dunes 101: Did you know?

Ranger Matt shares some fun facts about dunes environment, ecology, and history.

Itineraries

Two-day Group Itinerary in the Indiana Dunes

What to Expect

The Pinhook Bog Trail System features two very different habitats.

Pinhook Bog

The Bog Trail is a carefully monitored one-mile hike including a floating boardwalk over the sphagnum moss. The bog is a depression in the moraine created when a large piece of ice broke off the melting glacier and features an incredible habitat with unique plants. Hours are limited to protect this fragile habitat, so be sure to plan ahead.

Upland Trail

This two-mile trail winds its way beneath beech and maple trees as it follows the dips and swells of the 15,000 year old moraine, the ridges of earth and stone left behind by the receding glaciers. As it climbs, the trail offers a marvelous view of the bog below.

How to Help

The Indiana Dunes is a treasure that we can all explore and experience. It’s up to all of us to do our part to preserve this natural wonder in a safe and responsible way across each and every park and natural habitat in the dunes area.

Be Ready

Poison ivy can grow alongside the trail, so wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

Parts of the Upland Trail and Pinhook Bog trail can become wet and muddy and adequate footwear is advised.

Mosquitoes and ticks can be a nuisance in the summer so be sure to use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents.

Be Safe & Responsible

Pinhook Bog is a rare and fragile ecosystem, and we are all responsible for protecting it for future generations. Visitors must stay on designated trails at all times. The plants are precious, and their leaves, pinecones, and flowers are essential to their survival. We have created a video to help you learn about your role in enjoying the dunes area in a safe way while also doing your part to minimize impact on this precious natural resource.

The Indiana Dunes National Park has these additional safety guidelines.

Get Involved

Be the Change — Volunteer! Get more involved with the Indiana Dunes! There are many volunteer opportunities within the National, State, and Local parks within the dunes area.

One Location, Two Experiences