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Miller WoodsGary, Indiana

Miller Woods

Gary, Indiana

  • Author: Mike MacDonald
  • Date Posted: Jun 1, 2016
  • Category:

Get Directions to Miller Woods in Indiana Dunes National Park
(Park at Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education)

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.


In this black oak savanna within Indiana Dunes National Park, wildflowers blossom from spring into fall. Hike past rolling dunes and flooded swales, where beavers startle with slaps from their tails, then over high dunes to reach the Lake Michigan shore.

The sun sets upon the lupine-covered black oak savanna in a colorful story of the dune-and-swale habitat at Miller Woods at Indiana Dunes National Park.

This scene is an example of the dune and swale habitat located at the southern half of the preserve. Upon this dune thrives wild lupine, the favorite flower of the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. Just beyond the floral display is the swale where a pond has formed.


  • Beautiful oak savanna in frequent bloom
  • Dune-and-swale
  • Beaver ponds and the occasional beaver
  • Acrobatic ferns


  • May: glorious displays of wild lupine alongside golden hoary puccoon
  • Late August: rough blazing star

Best Times to Visit:

  • May through September for the blooming flowers
  • Fall for the changing colors of the trees and plants

Mike’s Thoughts: Beavers live and work in the ponds, moving from one to another. You can easily see their muddy paths that cross the white gravel trail. It’s not uncommon to be startled by a beaver as it loudly slaps its flat tail against the still water whenever they see a suspicious human lurking about.


  • The Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education is a visitor center at Miller Woods and part of Indiana Dunes National Park.
  • 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 the Miller Woods and the Paul H. Douglas Trail and visitor center from the this website:


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