Calumet Trail In Indiana

Here is everything you need to know about the Calumet Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Indiana
  • Length: 9.2 miles.
  • Type: Biking.
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: Indiana Department of Natural Resources
  • Permit Required?: Yes.
  • Website: Info not available.

The Calumet Trail, located in northwest Indiana, holds a significant historical background that dates back centuries. The trail follows the southern shore of Lake Michigan, stretching approximately 9 miles from the Indiana/Illinois state line to the town of Porter. Originally, the trail was a Native American footpath used by the Potawatomi and Miami tribes for trade and travel. These indigenous peoples relied on the trail to navigate the region’s dense forests and access important resources.

During the 19th century, the Calumet Trail gained prominence as European settlers arrived in the area. The trail became a vital transportation route for settlers moving westward, connecting them to nearby towns and settlements. It played a crucial role in the development of the region’s economy, facilitating the movement of goods and people. As the area’s population grew, the trail was widened and improved to accommodate horse-drawn carriages and wagons.

In the early 20th century, the Calumet Trail witnessed the rise of the automobile era. The trail was further expanded and paved to accommodate the increasing number of cars and trucks. This development not only improved transportation but also opened up the region to tourism and recreational activities. The scenic beauty of the trail, with its proximity to Lake Michigan and the surrounding natural landscapes, attracted visitors from nearby cities, further contributing to the area’s growth.

Today, the Calumet Trail stands as a testament to the region’s rich history and serves as a popular recreational destination. It offers hikers, bikers, and nature enthusiasts a chance to explore the area’s natural beauty while also providing a glimpse into the past. The trail’s historical significance and its connection to the indigenous peoples and early settlers make it an important cultural landmark in northwest Indiana.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Whiting Lakefront Park – Located in Whiting, Indiana, this park serves as a popular access point for the Calumet Trail. It offers parking facilities and amenities such as picnic areas and restrooms.

2. Wolf Lake Memorial Park – Situated in Hammond, Indiana, this park provides access to the Calumet Trail. It features parking, a boat launch, fishing areas, and scenic views of Wolf Lake.

3. Forsythe Park – Found in Hammond, Indiana, this park offers access to the Calumet Trail. It has parking facilities, playgrounds, sports fields, and picnic areas.

4. Gibson Woods Nature Preserve – Located in Hammond, Indiana, this nature preserve serves as a trailhead for the Calumet Trail. It offers parking, hiking trails, and opportunities for birdwatching and nature observation.

5. Powderhorn Lake – Situated in Hammond, Indiana, this lake provides access to the Calumet Trail. It offers parking, fishing spots, and scenic views of the lake.

6. Indiana Dunes National Park – Located in Porter County, Indiana, this national park serves as a major access point for the Calumet Trail. It offers parking, visitor centers, camping facilities, hiking trails, and access to the beautiful Indiana Dunes shoreline.

7. Marquette Park – Found in Gary, Indiana, this park provides access to the Calumet Trail. It features parking, a beach, picnic areas, and a pavilion.

8. Buffington Harbor – Situated in Gary, Indiana, this harbor serves as an access point for the Calumet Trail. It offers parking, boat launches, and fishing opportunities.

9. Whihala Beach County Park – Located in Whiting, Indiana, this beach park provides access to the Calumet Trail. It offers parking, a beach, picnic areas, and a concession stand.

10. Calumet Park – Found in Chicago, Illinois, this park serves as a trailhead for the Calumet Trail. It features parking, a beach, picnic areas, and a playground.

Transportation Available

1. Calumet Transit – Local bus service providing transportation within the Calumet area.
2. Calumet Trail Bike Rentals – Bike rental service offering convenient transportation along the scenic Calumet Trail.
3. Calumet Trail Taxi – Reliable taxi service for quick and convenient transportation to various destinations near the Calumet Trail.
4. Calumet Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service providing transportation to and from popular trail access points along the Calumet Trail.
5. Calumet Trail Car Rentals – Car rental service offering flexible transportation options for exploring the Calumet Trail and its surroundings.


The amenities available at the Calumet Trail may vary depending on the specific section or access point. However, here are some common amenities you may find along the trail:

1. Restrooms: Some sections of the trail may have restroom facilities available, either at trailheads or along the route. These restrooms may be permanent structures or portable toilets.

2. Parking: There are parking areas provided at various trailheads or access points along the Calumet Trail. These parking lots are typically designated for trail users.

3. Camping Sites: The Calumet Trail does not have designated camping sites along its route. However, there may be nearby campgrounds or parks where camping is allowed. It is advisable to check with local authorities or nearby parks for camping options.

4. Picnic Areas: Some sections of the Calumet Trail may have designated picnic areas or shelters where visitors can stop and have a picnic. These areas may have tables, benches, and sometimes grills for cooking.

5. Water Stations: Depending on the section, there may be water stations or fountains available along the trail for visitors to refill their water bottles. However, it is always a good idea to carry your own water supply.

6. Trailhead Facilities: At the trailheads, you may find additional amenities such as information boards, maps, bike racks, and sometimes even visitor centers or interpretive centers.

7. Benches and Rest Areas: Along the trail, you may find benches or rest areas where you can take a break, relax, and enjoy the surroundings.

It is important to note that amenities can vary along different sections of the Calumet Trail, so it is recommended to check with local authorities or trail organizations for specific information about the amenities available at a particular access point or section of the trail.

Nearby Services

1. Calumet City Hotel – Convenient lodging option near the Calumet Trail.
2. Trailside Diner – Food services located along the Calumet Trail.
3. Calumet Emergency Clinic – Emergency medical services available near the Calumet Trail.
4. Lakeside Inn – Nearby lodging option with scenic views of the Calumet Trail.
5. Trailside Grill – Restaurant offering delicious meals along the Calumet Trail.
6. Calumet Fire Station – Emergency fire services located close to the Calumet Trail.
7. Riverside Motel – Lodging option with easy access to the Calumet Trail.
8. Trailside Market – Convenient food services located along the Calumet Trail.
9. Calumet Police Department – Emergency law enforcement services near the Calumet Trail.
10. Lakeside Campground – Camping option with proximity to the Calumet Trail.

Calumet Trail Difficulty Notes

The Calumet Trail, located in Indiana, offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers and bikers. Spanning approximately 9 miles, the trail features a mix of paved and unpaved sections, making it suitable for various skill levels. The terrain is relatively flat, with occasional gentle inclines and declines, providing a manageable challenge for most outdoor enthusiasts. While some sections may require a bit of endurance, the trail is well-maintained and offers beautiful views of Lake Michigan, making it a rewarding experience for those seeking a moderately challenging outdoor adventure.

Features And Attractions

Info not available.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
– Bicycles are allowed on the trail, but riders must yield to pedestrians.
– Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the trail.
– Camping or overnight stays are not allowed.
– Fires and open flames are prohibited.
– Hunting or trapping is not allowed.
– Fishing is permitted in designated areas only and requires a valid fishing license.
– Swimming or wading in the trail’s water bodies is not allowed.
– Littering is strictly prohibited; please use designated trash receptacles.
– Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed them.
– Stay on designated trails and do not trespass onto private property.
– Observe any seasonal restrictions or closures that may be in place for maintenance or conservation purposes.

Seasonal Information

The Calumet Trail, located in Indiana, offers a scenic and enjoyable experience for outdoor enthusiasts throughout the year. The best times to visit the trail largely depend on personal preferences and the activities one wishes to engage in. Spring and fall are particularly popular due to the mild temperatures and vibrant foliage. During these seasons, visitors can enjoy pleasant hiking or biking experiences while taking in the beauty of the surrounding nature. The trail is also less crowded during these times, allowing for a more peaceful and immersive experience.

However, it is important to note that the Calumet Trail does have seasonal closures. The trail is closed to the public during the winter months, typically from December to February, due to safety concerns caused by snow and ice. It is advisable to check with local authorities or the trail’s official website for the exact closure dates each year. During the closure period, visitors can explore alternative winter activities in the area, such as cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in nearby parks or nature reserves.

In addition to the winter closure, occasional closures may occur throughout the year for maintenance or repairs. These closures are typically temporary and necessary to ensure the safety and quality of the trail. It is recommended to check for any updates or closures before planning a visit to the Calumet Trail to avoid any inconvenience.

Overall, the Calumet Trail offers a wonderful outdoor experience for nature lovers, with the best times to visit being spring and fall. While the trail is closed during the winter months, there are still plenty of other activities to enjoy in the area. Whether you prefer a leisurely hike, a challenging bike ride, or simply want to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, the Calumet Trail is a great destination to explore.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces are available near the trail entrance for easy access to the Calumet Trail.
2. Paved Pathway: The trail features a smooth, paved surface, allowing wheelchair users to navigate easily.
3. Accessible Restrooms: ADA-compliant restrooms are located along the trail, providing accessible facilities for all visitors.
4. Rest Areas with Benches: Regularly spaced benches along the trail offer resting spots for wheelchair users and others.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas equipped with accessible tables and seating are available for visitors to enjoy.
6. Signage and Wayfinding: Clear signage and wayfinding markers are in place to assist wheelchair users in navigating the trail.
7. Accessible Trailhead: The trailhead is designed to be accessible, with ramps or level access points for wheelchair users.
8. Handrails and Guardrails: Handrails and guardrails are installed in areas where additional support is needed for wheelchair users.
9. Accessible Viewing Areas: Scenic viewpoints along the trail are designed to be accessible, allowing wheelchair users to enjoy the surroundings.
10. Trail Surface Maintenance: The trail is regularly maintained to ensure a smooth surface, free from obstacles that may hinder wheelchair accessibility.

Safety Information

When visiting the Calumet Trail, it is important to keep the following safety information in mind:

1. Stay on the designated trail: Stick to the marked path and avoid venturing off into unknown or restricted areas. Straying from the trail can lead to dangerous situations, such as getting lost or encountering hazardous terrain.

2. Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and pay attention to your surroundings at all times. Keep an eye out for any potential hazards, such as uneven surfaces, fallen branches, or wildlife.

3. Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable and weather-appropriate clothing and footwear. Dress in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions, and wear sturdy shoes or boots that provide good traction.

4. Carry essential supplies: Bring water, snacks, and any necessary medications with you. It is also advisable to carry a map, compass, or GPS device to help navigate the trail.

5. Inform someone about your plans: Before heading out, let someone know about your plans, including the estimated duration of your hike and the trail you intend to take. This way, if you encounter any difficulties or delays, someone will be aware and able to assist if needed.

6. Stay hydrated and nourished: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially during hot weather. Carry enough snacks or meals to keep your energy levels up throughout your hike.

7. Use sunscreen and insect repellent: Apply sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, even on cloudy days. Additionally, use insect repellent to prevent bug bites, especially during warmer months.

8. Respect wildlife and vegetation: Do not disturb or feed wildlife, and avoid damaging or removing any plants or vegetation. Remember that you are a visitor in their natural habitat, and it is important to minimize your impact on the environment.

9. Practice proper waste disposal: Carry a small bag to collect any trash you generate during your visit and dispose of it properly in designated bins. Leave no trace behind and help keep the trail clean for others to enjoy.

10. Hike with a buddy if possible: It is always safer to hike with a companion, especially in remote or less populated areas. If you do hike alone, make sure to inform someone about your plans and expected return time.

Remember, safety should always be a priority when enjoying outdoor activities. By following these guidelines, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience while visiting the Calumet Trail.

Conservation Notes

The Calumet Trail, located in Indiana, is a significant natural resource that plays a crucial role in the conservation of the region’s biodiversity. As a designated National Recreation Trail, it is recognized for its ecological importance and the need to protect its unique habitats. The conservation status of the Calumet Trail is considered to be of high priority due to the threats posed by urban development and industrial activities in the surrounding area.

The trail traverses through diverse ecosystems, including wetlands, woodlands, and dunes, providing habitat for a wide range of plant and animal species. These habitats support several rare and endangered species, such as the Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake and the Indiana bat. The conservation efforts for the Calumet Trail focus on preserving and restoring these habitats to maintain the delicate balance of the ecosystem.

Conservation organizations and government agencies have been actively involved in monitoring and managing the trail’s conservation status. They conduct regular surveys to assess the health of the habitats, identify invasive species, and implement measures to control their spread. Additionally, efforts are made to educate the public about the importance of conservation and the need to minimize human impact on the trail’s fragile ecosystems.

Overall, the conservation status of the Calumet Trail is a matter of great concern, given the ongoing threats from urbanization and industrialization. However, through collaborative efforts and dedicated conservation initiatives, there is hope for the long-term preservation of this valuable natural resource.

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