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The Calumet Trail traverses the south side of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, a unique ecosystem of forest, marsh, dunes and beach along Lake Michigan. This dirt and crushed limestone path stretches between two interesting natural features: the Cowles Bog, an 8,000 year-old marsh, and Mount Baldy, a 123-foot-tall sand dune.
The route parallels the South Shore Rail Line, which carries passengers from Chicago to South Bend, and passes through residential and commercial areas, including a unique and unexpected sight: the Bailly Power Generator.
A parking lot is available mid-way along the trail on Kemil Road/E. State Park Boundary Road and Rte. 12. The Mt. Baldy parking lot is also an option on the trail's eastern end.
As a dentist with a penchant for thrilling outdoor escapades, I recently embarked on an adrenaline-fueled gravel expedition like no other: Calumet trail. Allow me to share my firsthand experience and rate this trail a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
From the moment I saddled up, it was evident that this ride would put my skills and endurance to the test. The gravel terrain presented a formidable challenge, demanding unwavering focus and precise control. The relentless rain turned the path into a treacherous, mud-covered rollercoaster, adding an extra layer of intensity to the journey.
Despite the daunting obstacles, I couldn't help but appreciate the breathtaking beauty that enveloped me. Towering trees and verdant landscapes created a stunning backdrop, reminding me of the untamed wonders of nature. Catching glimpses of wildlife along the way added an element of awe to the experience, showcasing the harmonious coexistence between humans and the natural world.
However, let me emphasize that this trail is not for the faint-hearted or inexperienced riders. The technical demands and physical exertion required are not to be underestimated. Prior preparation, both mentally and physically, is vital to fully embrace and conquer this challenging course. A reliable and robust bike, such as my trusted companion, the Sirvelo, is an absolute must for tackling the rugged terrain.
Amidst the hardships, a sense of triumph washed over me with each conquered section of the trail. The sheer satisfaction of pushing my limits and overcoming the obstacles was an extraordinary feeling, fueling my passion for adventurous pursuits.
In summary, Calumet trail is an adventure that beckons seasoned gravel enthusiasts to rise to the occasion. With its demanding terrain, awe-inspiring natural surroundings, and an invigorating rush of adrenaline, this trail earns a solid 4-star rating. So, fellow adventurers, don your gear, prepare for an unforgettable journey, and let this gravel odyssey ignite the thrill-seeker within you, even if you're a dentist like me!
This trail is awesome for a gravel bike ride. My hygienist drove me to the start and raced me on the road, I finished the trail just in time for lunch break and beat the hygienist's car!! Then I got back to my dental work so I can get paid and buy next year's Cervelo.
The "too big", loose stones make this trail almost unusable. Stay away. Your bike and body will thank you.
Porter County should really consider paving this trail as it would be a great asset to attracting bikers to the lake shore
I hope that this trail will improved soon. It would be a great safe connector from the state park to Michigan city, but currently, it is not a great option
Trail is rough gravel with a lot of depressions. Water fountain at Beverley Shores station if needed on a hot day. Definitely strenuous. Local informed me that recently towns’ along the trail have agreed to pave this trail which will be a game changer. Trail’s eastern end now joins the Singing Sands trail through Michigan City, which is paved. MTB trail for sure.
This trail? is full of depressions holding rainwater creating walk around areas. Not recommended trail unless it has not rained for weeks.
As per all the other reviews this trail has huge mud puddles that you have to walk around might be fun if you wanted to get all dirty but otherwise stay off of it.
No this trail is not paved or smooth but if you enjoy more of a path then pavement, you will enjoy this one. During periods of rain the trail does have sections with standing water ....but we wear our sandals and it's fun.
I’m more of a road rider, but picked up a gravel bike recently and this trail really put me and the bike through our paces. Up to 10 inch deep puddles of stagnant water along with mud sections, the full trail is not for the faint of heart.
Not taken care of, tall weeds, mud puddles holes
Don't rely on Google Maps if you're trying to access this trail from MIchigan City. We realized after much frustration that it tries to take you through the power plant property, which is not actually an option.
I bicycled the Calumet Trail this morning. While I found the trail section from Mineral Springs Road to SR 49 in better condition than it was prior to the pipeline project in 2017, it still is in dire need of upkeep. There were washouts, sections that clearly had water flowing over it, ruts, and very chunky gravel. These conditions made for a less than ideal ride.
In it’s current condition, this bike trail continues to remain an embarrassment to our County Park system.
Not a true bike path. It's just a shared lane with a local utility. It's listed as a County park, no one has even mowed the weeds all year. Trail is closed for utility work.
Now if the Calumet Trail was maintained and not completely ignored, maybe we would consider chipping in help maintain it. But obviously no one has cared to already do their job to maintain the constant standing water and unfinished work on that trail. It could be so beautiful!!! Between the poorly and unkempt trail and garbage, something has to be done. It is so not enjoyable to ride bikes on. The husband and I would rather pack up and go to Michigan!!! Sad with what's to offer here.
Essentially, worse than an unpaved road as we biked thru standing water with tadpoles swimming about.
I'm told that they are trying to pave this route but they are running into environmental issues...don't know if this is true. I hope they work on this soon.
It's clear that the owner, Porter County Parks, has abandoned this trail. The garbage can at the east trailhead parking lot has been removed.
Weeds so thick and heavy covering entire trail it should be closed have talked to many family's who will Never Use or try to use it again. Will have cuts and scratches all over body if you try to ride or wall it in places it is 5 or more feet tall and has to be parted to get thru. Please don't waste your time!
I only rode the four miles from Kemil Road to the beginning. The good news is that more of the trail was above water than under...but not much more. Wait at least a couple weeks after the most recent rain before trying this trail. I don't plan to ever ride there again. If Indiana wants to lure more tourists from Illinois, they should pave this trail.
tried to ride the trail june 26 and it was open it should have been closed too much water deep not rideable at all shut down the trail for a while put up warning signs
Nice trail, but all the weeds and puddles can get excessive at times. Considering what's taking place with the Dunes-Kankakee project, I'd say it's time to re-write history and pave certain portions of this thing. The distance extending from Mineral Springs to Waverly, and then from the state park train station east to Lake Shore County Road (Brown Road) would be nice...
DOES NOT LOOK LIKE ORIGINAL PICTURE; UPLOADED AS OF JULY 4, 2014
I am glad I scouted this route before my bike trip. the weeds were so high that they grabbed on to your handle bars. Many places had standing water for long enough time were tadpoles were living. In addition the water puddles that were not supporting tadpoles had a red/orange color to it so I am sure it was contaminated. Not the best trail for such a nice state park or national lake shore area.
Large sections of the trail are underwater most of the year. Not maintained.
Although I haven't ridden the trail, I will soon if what I hear is true! An Indiana Dunes park ranger told me that they are going to pave the entire trail this summer from the Dunes to Michigan City
On our trip to Indiana Dunes over the weekend, we decided to go east. Staff at the camping area said the trail runs all the way to the state border. She was not correct.
We ended up at the Mineral Springs Road and somehow ended up in the dunes area and ended up at the beach. We biked along the beach. I did not know it was possible to bike on the sand but it was.
We came back out the the Mineral Springs Road and went south and found a new paved eastbound trail. There is a new bridge for bike to cross over the Hwy 12 then goes on eastbound. We did not go to the trail and do not know how far the trail runs east.
Ok, so it is not a gorgeous trail. I like that it is crushed gravel and it gets lots of mud puddles on the western end. About 5 miles in you can stop and get an ice cream! Parking on either end is great. Yes, it gets overgrown with weeds...I love to go fast and just bust through. I put on my tunes, get my mind right and I CRANK on this trail. I have had some almighty great workouts on this trail. It can be hot in summer...and I love that...I did this trail last summer when it was 100 degrees and when I was done I was TOAST. But it was a great ride. You can find MANY side distractions on this trail...there are tons of little side roads that are no longer roads, just grown up corridors. You hardly see any people out here. I have seen deer, raccoons, feral cats and lots of hawks and birds. I have a couple bikes and my bike of choice for this is my full suspension mountain bike. I am in my higher gears most of the time and I just CRANK. It does get muddy and you will get dirty after a rain storm. I was at the far eastern end once and I heard a tornado siren...I was moving and listening to tunes and not paying attention behind me...I looked back at a BLACK sky. I thought "Uh oh...where am I going to ditch and hide." I put on my afterburners and by mid point it was pouring rain. Western end gets muddier and as I slogged through it was pretty humbling. The force of nature was all around. Finally I reached my truck and I was exhausted...but happy. So, this is a great workout trail. Don't listen to anyone else talking about the dog crap on it or anything else...just get on the bike and crank out 18 miles. You will be greatful for it. I have ridden this trail well over 25 times from end to end and back. Will always be a go to trail for me.
I rode the full length of the trail this morning, beginning at the LaPorte/Porter County line and heading west - then returned. About 18.6 miles round trip. The trail is not very well maintained - with a lot of weeds growing up in the middle of the trail, many ruts and rough gravel spots. Some spots are just dirt - where the crushed limestone has been washed away. It's "OK" for mountain bikes. I rode my road bike - and it was pretty rough. We also were looking for a trail to pull my three-year old in a trailer. This is absolutely NOT suitable for a trailer. The trail has potential - if properly maintained. I also hear plans are in the works to connect this into Michigan City and beyond to the east - and ultimately to Chicago on the west. I look forward to that happening.
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