West Beach Trails and Lakeshore near Gary

Ok, so you may not think this sounds like fun since you will be running near the city with the highest murder rate per capita of any in the world, but trust me, these are great. I grew up running these. Elevation is all under 700', the surface is usually sand and some crushed limestone, and you may not see anyone else if you do this between September and June.

Directions: You want to take county line road North toward the Lake from Highway 20 or 12 in northwest Indiana. This road is the county line between Lake Co. (Gary) to the west and Porter Co. (Portage) to the east. Get of the Indiana Toll Road or Interstate 80/94 onto highway 6 north , take this north to highway 20, then take 20 east to county line road. Go left (north) on county line road until you get to The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore West Beach Unit. Go in there and park. You will have to pay a fee in the summer. Start by finding maps of the west beach trail and do this very hilly 3.7 mile loop up and down sand dunes with some stairs. Then head out to the shore of Lake Michigan and run out and back on this great beach almost 5 miles one way to the US steel landfill blocking your path at the west end. You can also do a flat 2.1 mile one way , 4.2 mile out and back on the crushed limestone Indiana Harbor Belt Marquette Trail which connects in to the west beach trail where it crosses the west beach entry road where you got on it at county line road.

Views: On a clear day great views of Chicago skyline 35 miles across the Lake. Views and smells of steel mills. Also great views of moving sand dunes 100 feet high, fresh water swamps and marshes, lake Michigan waves and water. Possibly waterfowl, deer, raccoon, lots of birds, huge carp in long lake, snakes, turtles, gulls, etc.

FOOd and etc.: Lots of fast food and such along highway 20. Water and restrooms open at parking area most days. The west beach area is locked at night so don't get your car trapped inside the gate.