Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore: Cowles Bog Trail

Cowles Bog Trail is part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. It is also a National Natural Landmark because of the rich diversity of plants and animals that inhabit it.

I first heard about this trail from another Women Who Hike member who said it was a must do. I added it to my bucket list and finally this April (2018) I was able to check it off my list!

Cowles Bog Trail-head is located off the right hand side of Mineral Springs Road just before the entrance to the Town of Dune Acres. The trail can also be accessed via the Greenbelt Trail and parking lot, however, when I pulled into the parking lot (mistaking it for the Cowles Bog parking lot) it appeared that the power company was doing work along the trail making it look like a construction zone instead of a National Natural Landmark.


I knew that Cowles Bog was beautiful from the pictures I’d seen online, but it never dawned on me the amount of interesting plants and wildlife that I would be seeing. I saw a bunch of geese including one nesting, some ducks, a small brown bird with white tipped wings, these fascinating looking flower plants, and a blue heron!


someone PLEASE tell me what the name of this plant is!


Cowles Bog reminded me a lot of Beaver Marsh at Cuyahoga Valley National Park and its wildlife and plants.






The trail is not difficult besides what the trail map indicates as a “steep climb” up and over the dune to reach the lake and back. It is not exaggerating either – my knees were to my chest making my way back up the dune from the beach because it was so steep.


The trail can be hiked as a loop, figure 8, or as an out-and-back depending on what you feel like doing.



Lake Michigan was a really pretty color that day.







blue heron!

I am so glad that I was finally able to do the Cowles Bog Trail. It really is a must do, especially if you’re at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

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