What to Expect

The parking lot sits between the trailheads of the Upland Trail and Pinhook Bog Trail. The bog portion of Pinhook Bog Trail is only accessible via ranger-led tours.

Aerial view of a oval-shaped parking lot. A lone white van is parked. Trees surround the lot.

Pinhook Bog Trail

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.

Aerial of Upland Trail

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.

Be Ready

Poison ivy can grow alongside the trail, and portions can become wet and muddy. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Bring along a reusable water bottle and snacks.

Be Safe

Mosquitoes and ticks can be a nuisance in the summer, so be sure to use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. Check yourself for ticks after your hike.

Be Responsible

Visitors must stay on designated trails at all times. We have created a video to help you learn about your role in enjoying the dunes area safely while minimizing your impact on the park.

The Geological Story of Pinhook Bog

Thousands of years ago, mighty glaciers advanced and receded across the Midwest. They carved the rolling hills of moraines, ground stone into sand, and eventually melted and formed the great lakes. Pinhook Bog was formed when a piece of these icy giants broke free and melted right here in what is today northwest Indiana. Its waters created a lake whose bed was sealed tightly with clay-like “glacial till,” the sediment left behind by the receding glaciers. With no springs, rivers, or streams to replenish the lake, rainfall or melting snow became the only available sources of fresh water. In these stagnant conditions, organic matter decomposed here over thousands of years and slowly filled the lake, depleting the oxygen and making the water highly acidic. This, in turn, slowed the process of decay and rendered the bog a prehistoric time capsule, preserving pollen and other relics deep in these murky waters. In time, the bog will fill completely and become solid ground.

Aerial of Pinhook Bog

The Indiana Dunes is one of the most biodiverse national parks in the entire country. Over 1,100 flowering plant species and ferns make their homes here. How many flowers can YOU find?

Insects You May See

Bog Swimmers

Known for the orange spots on its shell, spotted turtles can be seen swimming by the main bog wetland boardwalk.


Pinhook Bog has wild blueberries and blackberries in the summer. You are free to eat a handful while you are there, but you are not allowed to take any with you.


The rare tamarack trees that grow around Pinhook Bog have exquisite pinecones that look almost like rosebuds. Please look but don’t touch!

An Interesting Pair

Staying on the trail helps visitors avoid the painful hairs of the Stinging Nettle plant. Its acidic sting uses the same chemical used in painful ant bites. Thankfully, there’s often a remedy close by called Jewelweed. The crushed stem of this plant soothes the irritated skin.

Since all the plants and animals in Pinhook Bog are federally protected, you’ll need to wear appropriate jeans or pants to avoid the sting altogether.

Stinging Nettle at Pinhook Bog
Stinging Nettle
Jewelweed at Pinhook Bog

Plan Your Visit

  • 946 N. Wozniak Rd.
  • 219-395-1882

A floating boardwalk traverses the landscape where you'll see insect-eating plants and the most unexpected environments in the dunes. While the Upland Trail is open year-round, the bog is only…

How to Help

We are all responsible for protecting our parks for future generations. The Indiana Dunes, as a whole, is one of he most biodiverse areas in the United States. Here are some tips to help you limit your impact on the natural habitats in the 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!

Love & Protect the Dunes

Each of us who visit the Indiana Dunes can also help protect natural heritage, biodiversity, and local culture by taking a few simple steps.