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The West Beach Trails are a multi-faceted trail system with "varied hiking experiences for those wanting a leisurely stroll through a flat oak savanna or a strenuous dune climb up steep stairs." The Succession, West Beach and Long Lake Trails all join together to create this beautiful 3.4-mile loop loaded with plant and wildlife diversity plus views of Chicago to the northwest.
Well-behaved and leashed pets are also welcome on the trails but are prohibited in the main beach swimming area. In contrast to most hikes in Indiana Dunes National Park, a parking fee is required between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.
The gates are open from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm daily plus restrooms and drinking water are both available.
The lot also boasts enough parking for 600 cars and 20 buses and more detailed information on the beach [can be found here](https://www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/west-beach.htm). Along this hike, you may notice wildlife such as green herons and even deer, especially around the West Beach Loop.
This "unnaturally flat" area is the "result of sand mining that took place in the 1920's," and it has since become the perfect habitat for the eastern prickly pear cactus. Sources: https://www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/upload/West-Beach-Trail-Map-11-13-12.pdf https://www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/wb16.htm