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Heron Rookery Trail @ Indiana Dunes National Park

Heron Rookery Trail - Indiana Dunes National Park
3.3 ml
2 hr
0 ft
0 ft
1336 600 East, Michigan City, IN 46360

The Heron Rookery Trail follows along a portion of the Little Calumet River that once featured over 100 Great Blue Heron nests. After 60 years of nesting here, the herons have moved on to new nesting grounds. These woods remain alive with dozens of birds including kingfishers, woodpeckers and a wide variety of migrating and nesting warblers.

In spring, before the trees leaf out, the woodlands along this trail are blanketed with the most extensive display of spring wildflowers in the national park. Trillium, spring beauties, and Dutchman’s breeches are just a few of the flowers you’ll see along this trail. Most years, the wildflowers peak from late April through mid-May.

Trail Features: Spring Wildflowers, Birding, Wildlife, Little Calumet River
Must See Gems: Spring Wildflowers

Getting There

Trailhead Parking Lots

Main (east) Lot: 1336 600 East, Michigan City, IN 46360
Alternate (west) Lot: 1301 North 450 East, Chesterton, IN 46304

Trailhead GPS Coordinates
East Lot: 41.627043, -86.952446 (Decimal Degrees)
West Lot: 41.622502, -86.980227 (Decimal Degrees)

Need to Know

Hours & Information

  • Hours – Open daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm.
  • Passes are required.
  • Hike Length – 3.3 miles.
  • Hike Time – 1.5 to 2 hours.
  • Difficulty – Easy with no change in elevation.
  • Trail Surface – Packed dirt and clay. Trail can be very slippery and muddy.
  • Facilities – No restrooms or potable water.
  • Pets – Permitted on a leash (6' or shorter).
  • Prohibited – Littering, hunting, and removing plants.
  • Prohibited – Bicycles and motorized vehicles.
  • The main (east) parking lot is gravel and is large enough for buses & RV's to park.
  • The alternate (west) parking lot is gravel and has room for only 4 cars.


  • Please stay on the trail and respect closed area signs. Going off trail damages fragile habitat.
  • Wear adequate footwear as the trail can be muddy and slippery in sections.
  • Ticks are present year-round. Take precautionary measures to prevent bites.
  • Poison ivy can be present on the edges of the trail.
  • Mosquitos and flies can be bad in the summer months.
  • Be prepared for changing weather conditions.
  • In case of an emergency or to report a crime, call 1-800-PARK-TIP.


  • The trail is not wheelchair accessible.


Part of the Indiana Dunes National Park

Hiking Trail