Get Directions to WEST Trailhead of Heron Rookery Trail in Indiana Dunes National Park
Click here to visit EAST Trailhead
(The WEST END of the trail is best spot to view flowers, but there are only five parking spots. The main parking lot is on the east end, 1.7 miles away.)
IMPORTANT: A national park pass is required to be in the park, which includes Miller Woods, Cowles Bog Trail, Tolleston Dunes, West Beach, and Heron Rookery Trail. Click here to learn about purchasing a pass or call (219) 395-1882.
Follow the banks of the Little Calumet River for, quite possibly, the best place in Indiana Dunes National Park for spring wildflowers.
- Glorious woodland full of spring ephemerals including bloodroot, hepatica, wild ginger, Virginia bluebells, Solomon’s seal, phlox, mayapple, Jack-in-the-pulpit, and great white trillium
- Little Calumet River
- May: Large-flowered trillium in the woodland
Best Times to Visit:
- Spring for the woodland wildflowers
- Fall colors
Access & Parking: There are two parking lots:
- Main (East Trailhead with more parking spots than the west) Lot: 1336 North County Road 600E, Michigan City, IN 46360
- GPS Coordinates: 41.627043, -86.952446 (Decimal Degrees)
- Alternate (West and best Trailhead, but small parking lot) Lot: 1301 North County Road 450E, Chesterton, IN 46304
- GPS Coordinates: 41.622502, -86.980227 (Decimal Degrees)
Restrooms: No restrooms or potable water. Town of Chesterton is only ten minutes away.
Mike’s Thoughts: This preserve is not sandy like much of Indiana Dunes National Park and, therefore, offers a different array of wildflowers that you’d often see farther from Lake Michigan.
- There is no longer a heron rookery at this site. The birds have moved on to nest in other areas.
- Not to be confused with nearby Indiana Dunes State Park, this national park spreads out along fifteen miles of Lake Michigan’s southern shoreline and comprises 15,000 acres of habitats ranging from wetlands to dunes. Both sites have entrance fees.
Learn more about Heron Rookery Trail from these websites: