Like its users, the Erie is a trail of many personalities. The southern portion of the trail, built along a grassy right-of-way of unusually enormous width, passes through tranquil fields, wetlands and neighborhoods. Trail designers took advantage of the extra space and gave the asphalt a tight, wavy, sinusoidal pattern, a unique twist on the typically straight or mildly arced course of rail-trails. Beautiful new trail heads adorned with gazebos, benches and painted brick surfacing invite unplanned stops. Toward Griffith and Highland, the trail becomes more of a busy neighborhood fixture, passing several schools, the old town centers, crossing active railroads and multi-lane streets. The trail ends unceremoniously to the north in a corner of Highland near I-94 amidst a string of soaring electric towers disappearing into the horizon.
Distance: 11.25 Miles – Two Lane – Asphalt
Endpoints: North- Little Calumet River, Highland South- Lake County Courthouse, Crown Point
This nearly straight trail begins at its west end in Oak Ridge Prairie Co. Park in Griffith, jogs north to Johnson Road and runs eastward through Gary to Hobart, ending at Wisconsin Street. Eventually it will run through town to link with the Prairie-Duneland Trail. An oak savannah ecosystem is a transition area between tall grass prairie and oak woodland which receives enough sunlight and shade for species of both ecosystems to thrive simultaneously. Oak savannah was once a common occurrence in northern Indiana but has been encroached by development and disallowed to regenerate by natural fire, grazing and drought disturbances.
Distance: 7.5 Miles – Two Lane – Asphalt
Endpoints: West - Oak Ridge Prairie Park in Griffith East - Wisconsin Street in Hobart
One of Indiana's "crown jewel" trails, the P-D traverses some of the most beautiful natural areas in the state. Abundant species of flora and fauna are to be found along the way in the unique ecosystem which gives the trail its name. Just west of SR149, along the eastern half of the trail, the Iron Horse Heritage Trail connects to the P-D Trail with a 10' concrete path, bordered by an ominous looking barbed-wire fence.
Distance: 10.4 Miles – Two Lane - Asphalt
Endpoints: West- SR51 in Hobart East- 15th Street in Chesterton
Trail parallels US12 just to the north, and runs along the south side of Indiana Dunes State Park. The trail is built on a Northern Indiana Public Service Co. (NIPSCO) right of way running parallel with the active South Shore railroad tracks. No water is available along the trail. There is one restroom on the far west end, and there is a small store at approximately the half way point.
Distance: 9.1 Miles - Crushed Limestone
Endpoints: West- Mineral Springs Road in Chesterton East- Porter/Laporte Co Line
Iron Horse Heritage Trail
Largely a rustic trail through woodlands and wetlands. The trail is paved for about 1.5 miles (more pavement is currently under development), between Imagination Glen Park (Samuelson Road) and Hamstrom Road. Much of the ballast has been removed, so some portions of the trail can be muddy until construction is finished. Imagination Glen park, toward the east end of the trail, has an extensive mountain biking trail system. At the east end of the trail is a 10' concrete path leading to the Prairie Duneland Trail.
Distance: 5.1 Miles – Asphalt and some dirt
Endpoints: West- Lake/Porter County Line East- SR149
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