Celebrate Mountain Day Right Here in Northern Indiana

Posted on August 6, 2021

by Laurin Katzmarek

When you hear the word “mountain,” the Indiana Dunes probably doesn’t come to mind. However, the Indiana Dunes State Park (within the Indiana Dunes National Park) is home to 3 sand dunes that tower over the rest of the landscape, earning them an honorary title of “mountain.” Although the Dunes are not quite Pikes Peak, Mount Rainier, or Denali, these sand dunes still provide an impressive view of the ecologically unique landscape our local National Park offers. Mountain Day, this August 11th, is the perfect excuse to tackle either of these challenges.


The 3 Dune Challenge takes you over the peaks of Mt. Holden at 184 feet, Mt. Tom at 192 feet, and Mt. Jackson at 176 feet. 

Other notable dunes in our area include Mount Baldy at 126 feet (restricted access: ranger-guided hikes only at this time) and the steep slope featured in the Diana of the Dunes Dare, a sister challenge to the 3 Dunes Challenge. 




Before you go trekking out to explore the peaks and celebrate our local “mountains,” take a stroll through these 5 books about the Indiana Dunes!


Nature Walks in the Indiana Dunes by Alan McPherson

The guidebook briefly describes the natural and social history of each walk. Accurate maps and detailed highway directions and trail descriptions help in planning your trips. Numerous color images of this unique region enhance the pages.


The Indiana Dunes Revealed: The Art of Frank V. Dudley by Frank V. Dudley

The Indiana Dunes Revealed serves as the accompanying catalogue for the exhibition of Dudley’s work showing from August 15 to November 30, 2006 at the Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University. Featuring 150 color and 70 black-and-white images, it celebrates Dudley’s unique artistic legacy, documents the exhibition, and demonstrates the painter’s importance to environmentalists and naturalists, especially during the many years of national debate over the designation of parts of the dunes as a national park.


The Indiana Dunes Story: How Nature and People Made A Park by the Shirley Heinze Environmental Fund


Diana of the Dunes : The True Story of Alice Gray by Janet Zenke Edwards

In this first-ever book about Diana of the Dunes, the mystery of Alice Gray is revealed by those who knew her and through new research. Excerpts from her dunes diary are published here for the first time since 1918. In these pages, rediscover the legend of Diana of the Dunes…and learn the truth.


Dune Country : A Hiker’s Guide to the Indiana Dunes by Glenda Daniel

Dune Country explains for the first time in terms everyone can understand why the plant and animal succession and the rich variety of natural habitats there are so unique. Now Daniel has added a section on the geology of the area so that hikers will be able to identify formations that can be seen on a field trip.


In this revised edition, Daniel also includes guides to the 15 miles of new trails added to the National Lake Shore, which cover a variety of terrains–the dunes along the lake and inland along rivers, old dunes and marshlands. This new edition now has more than 75 drawings as well as maps and guides to over 45 miles of hiking trails in both the National Lake Shore and Indiana Dunes State Park.


Book descriptions taken from the publisher.

Laurin Katzmarek

Laurin Katzmarek

Laurin is a Public Services Librarian and Oxford Comma enthusiast. She strives to provide excellent customer service to those who visit the library and will promote libraries/archives and their resources to anyone who will listen. Laurin enjoys hiking in the Dunes, combing the lakeshore for beach glass and crinoids, DIY crafting, and playing D&D (druids and monks are her favorite classes). If she were not a librarian, Laurin would own a bubble tea shop or be a professional organizer. Her bucket list includes visiting every Disney theme park around the world and touring Hobbiton in New Zealand.
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