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As its name implies, the beautiful Prairie Duneland Trail offers snapshots of the flora and fauna—from hardwood forest to remnant prairie grasslands—that once dominated this region. In spite of the rapid development of the south Chicago suburbs spilling into northwest Indiana, this trail ensures the preservation of these invaluable pockets of land. The trail also offers a classic rail-trail experience, with a long, level grade and a 10-foot-wide asphalt surface suitable for bicycles and inline skates (and cross-country skis in winter). It's also ADA accessible.
Starting in Chesterton, the trail makes its way toward Portage and on west to Hobart, passing well-manicured subdivisions. The sights and signs of town life begin to fade away just 1.5 miles into the ride, when you enter a lightly forested area with farm fields interspersed along the way. In between, and in some cases intermingled with, these areas you will encounter remnants of tall-grass prairie environments. In several sections, a veritable tunnel of vegetation envelops the trail, with the dense forest canopy creating a lush passageway.
Coming out of one such section at just past 3 miles, you encounter a 130-plus-foot bridge that travels over State Route 149 and takes you into the section of trail through Portage. The next stretch—approximately 2 miles—takes you through an area crossing a small creek drainage as well as a couple streets.
Near mile 5, backyards and residential subdivisions begin to dominate the landscape. After the trail passes beneath Interstate 80, it travels through another pocket of forest. The remaining 5-mile stretch to the trail's end at SR 51 in Hobart is bordered mostly by neatly kept backyards.
In Portage, the trail connects to the 5-mile Iron Horse Heritage Trail. In the future, the Prairie Duneland Trail will link with other trails, including the Oak Savannah Trail, to form the Lake Michigan Heritage Greenway and connect communities all along the south shore of Lake Michigan. This system will cross three counties and stretch more than 40 miles from Hammond, Indiana, to Michigan City, Indiana.
To access the eastern trailhead on S. Jackson Avenue in Chesterton, take Interstate 94 to SR 49 and head south for 1.25 miles. Turn right on Porter Avenue and go 1.5 miles. Turn right onto S. 15th Street and turn left on W. Morgan Avenue after 0.2 mile. After 0.1 mile, turn right on S. Jackson and look for the trailhead on the right.
To reach the trailhead in Hobart, take I-94 to SR 51 (Ripley Street/Adam Benjamin Highway), and head south for 3.25 miles. (SR 51 changes names twice in this short distance: first Randolph Street then Hobart Road). The trailhead is on the left of Hobart Road, just before the intersection of Hobart Road and Cleveland Avenue.
I loved being able to ride on a trail and not having to worry about being mowed down by a big old pickup truck. I traveled from the Chesterton Skate Park to Hobart (and back) but unfortunately I was really disappointed by the bumpy ride.. My road bike graciously transmitted every tree root and surface crack directly to me sorry butt. The only smooth section was around Rt 149. There were many stretches were absorbing the bumps didn't allow me to maintain any type of cadence. All that said - I'm feeling fortunate to have the trail available and will definitely be riding there again.
Love the trail, the people and the scenery. Will definitely be back!
Today was my first time at riding this trail. I only went from Chesterton to the Samuelson-Central Avenue location and then back to Chesterton. The fall colors were amazing. There are several Burning Bushes on the route and they are spectacular. I hope the weather holds up so I can make the full ride to Hobart.
Well maintained and well used trail! Will definitely use this trail often!!
This is a great trail from the perspective that it's longer, completely paved, continuous, and the streets that must be crossed are not that busy. The only drawback for me is that there are few open views of countryside, as the trail is generally surrounded by tall trees and there are some stretches with views of not much more than people's backyards. There are some shelters and benches for resting, but not that many. The trail seems to have good parking throughout its length, and the lot where I parked at near Chesterton was nice(it even had a portable bathroom). Nice trail overall.
Very scenic trail that has drinking fountains and restrooms strategically stationed! A great way to travel from Hobart to Chesterton safely, the trail goes over and under most of the busiest streets you encounter along the way!
I ride this trail from my house to the Portage YMCA daily. I am never disappointed by it's beauty that is well maintained by the city. I always feel safe. Since the trail connects to the Iron Horse and Oak Savannah, it's a good way to get around town while avoiding streets. My favorite part is the smell because of all the different wildflowers in bloom. There's a good chance you'll spy a little wildlife too. One note of caution, the bugs can be a nightmare before dusk depending on the time of year.
The trail is fully paved and in great condition. There are mile markers and emergency trail locater signs at regular intervals, including picnic tables, trash cans, and wave bike racks. It appears to connect with many other routes/paths throughout the city, including other parks and trails(and to residential backyards). If you start at the skate park, there's a port-o-potty at mile marker 2. The road intersections are well marked and highly visible with ample time to stop and safely cross. The scenery was beautiful and the trail was almost always dappled with ample shade. Smells great too! It was in good use on a late Monday morning; observed many other cyclists and walkers.
My husband and I recently rode this trail from Chesterton to Hobart. We were exploring trails in Northern Indiana. It was a beautiful ride. Shaded, quiet, not too many people, and very safe. You are basically riding through neighborhoods, but the scenery is very nice. There are a few places where you have to cross roads(only 2 lane roads) and one very large railroad crossing, but manageable. There are a couple of underpasses that give you a slight challenge on a otherwise pretty flat ride. Going down these hills gives you a real thrill. We loved this trail and would certainly go back again and recommend it to others.
Trail is very flat and easy to ride. Most of the trail is shaded by trees, which is great for a hot day. Several places throughout where riders must yield to traffic, but nothing too serious. the Bathrooms along the way we're a huge plus!
Very scenic route through Porter County to enjoy the colors of fall. Trail is well maintained and safe with a clean indoor restroom, Port a Potty, several drinking fountains, and picnic benches that make for nice rest stops along the way. This trail is quiet and paved nicely which makes for a relaxing ride throughout. Looking forward to finishing the rest of this trail soon!
People Complained back when they first mentioned making this trail, now it's a priviledge to live near it.
Yesterday, Father's Day, my family took this trail from the mid point in Portage to 23rd St. in Chesterton to visit an Aunt and Uncle then rode back home.
Awesome time, my kids said it felt like vacation, and my wife was amazed at the beauty of nature along the way. It really did feel like we were somewhere else.
Get out and enjoy this great trail.
Good trail to get a workout on and also to take family on. We use it as a destination trail when the family goes along. Only a coulple blocks from trail head in Porter there is a nice mexican restaurant, Santiago's and a DQ.. Then work it off on the way back to Hobart.
One of the most pleasant and scenic trails we've experienced so far! Nice long ride and a great workout. The bridge over Route 149 is especially challenging. We found Wagner's Rib joint in Porter as a refuel rest stop before trekking back to Hobart; a wonderful way to enjoy an Indian Summer afternoon and rack up a 20 mile trip.
I ran the from the east trailpoint (Chesterton) 7 of the 10 miles yesterday. That portion of the trail was bone dry. No flooding issues.
Good news to those that like the Praire-Duneland Trail....they are widening Rt 6 and it looks like they are taking the trail under the new road just like they did at Willowcreek Road....The trail is such a wonderful place to get in your daily exercise and it is quite peaceful and pleasant...it is the best place in Portage,In
The Oak Savannah Trail is not mentioned for Indiana which connects to Prairie-Duneland goes into Hobart Indiana to Oak Ridge Prairie.
"This is a great leisurely trail, although Route 6 in Portage needs an overpass. I have waited up to ten minutes to cross there."
"Compared to other states I've ridden in, Indiana needs to do a lot of work to develop a trail system! The Prairie Duneland is by far the best Indiana has. It really is a nice trail with smooth surfaces for the most part. Crossing US 6 can be tricky so keep a close eye on traffic. One bridge and one tunnel help cross two other busy streets though.
The trail can be quite busy on the weekends, and some folks don't always follow trail etiquette so serious riders need to watch out when passing.
I see a lot of bladers using this trail -- I'm anxious to learn myself!"
"I take this trail from Chesterton to the Lake Co. line at least once a month -- my odometer says it's closer to ten miles, full-blown. It's an easy and safe twenty mile roundtrip with lots of nice folks along the way. A lot of backyards open up into this trail with some homeowners constructing pretty little private gateways out of their yards and into the trail. There are prairie flowers planted on both sides and all along the way; tree and shrub greenbelts to hide noises and lend privacy to some homeowners; water fountains, information kiosks, benches for resting, and restrooms in two different places. It's newly paved and has a bridge and a tunnel crossing two heavily traveled roads, but there needs to be two more. This is very pretty little trail, friendly, too!"
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