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Indiana Dunes Hike (Cowles Bog Trail)/Sandhill Crane Watch (Jasper-Pulaski)

Indiana Dunes Hike (Cowles Bog Trail)/Sandhill Crane Watch (Jasper-Pulaski)

Note:  Important:  Don't forget binoculars.  Make sure you dress for the weather.  You will be standing outside for a period of time.

Time Schedule:
10:15 – 10 30 am Meet at Cowles Bog Trailhead
10:30 – 12:30 pm Hike Cowles Bog Trail
12:30 – 3:00 pm Lunch and travel to Jasper Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area
(1 1/2 hour of lunch and 1 hour drive)
3:00 – 3:15 pm Meet at Sandhill Crane Observation Point
4:23 pm Sunset (Central Time)


Cowles Bog Trail - Moderate to rugged; 4.1 miles. Features include interdunal ponds, marshes, stand of northern white cedars, forested dunes, foredunes, and open beach. A great way to experience several different habitats. Pets are allowed on Cowles Bog Trail.

Cowles Bog Trail Map Bog brochure-2.pdf
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Map
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Website

Directions to Cowles Bog Trail Head
(GPS Coordinates N[masked] W[masked])
Take 94 to US 20 East.
Take US 20 East until N. Mineral Springs Road.
Take a left on N. Mineral Springs Road.
Stay on N. Mineral Springs Road pass US 12.
The Cowles Bog Trailhead will be ¾ miles on the right pass US 12.


Sandhill Crane Watch (Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area)

The Greater Sandhill Crane at Indiana's Jasper Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Refuge, breed in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and parts of Canada and winter in Southern Georgia and Florida. The Greater Sandhill Crane, standing about 3.5 feet tall with a wingspan of 6 to 7 feet, is the largest race of Sandhill Cranes. During the fall migration, some 12,000 to 16,000 Cranes make Indiana their home. The highest population estimate of 32,000 individuals occurred in the 1991 migratory season.

The Jasper-Pulaski State Fish and Wildlife Area, located on Route 421 about 40 miles south of Michigan City, Indiana, is in a region once famous for the vast Kankakee Marsh.
This marsh, which consisted of more than a million acres of reeds, bogs, ponds, wild rice, lily pads, moss, beaver, waterfowl and other wetland species, was drained in the 19th and early 20th Century to make way for agriculture. Today, this vast wetland is essentially gone. The cranes feed in surrounding farmland in an area that was once the vast and famous Kankakee Marsh. As evening approaches, they return to congregate in the Jasper-Pulaski State Fish and Wildlife Area.

As evening approaches, the pace of returning birds increases. The dry rattling call of the Sandhill Crane can be heard more than a mile away. The call is distinctive. Once heard, it is not forgotten. Many times the call is heard long before the birds come into view. After sunset and well into dusk, the Cranes continue to congregate. The sky literally swarms with returning birds. The Cranes linger here well into fall, but with the first winds of winter, they head south. In mild years, migrating birds pass through Indiana well into December and January.

Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area (Sunset 4:23 Central Time)
5822 N. Fish and Wildlife Lane
Medaryville, IN 47957
Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area Map
Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area Homepage
Sandhill Cranes During Their Fall Migration Homepage

From:  Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, IN

To: 5822 Fish And Wildlife Lane, Medaryville 47957, Indiana
Distance: 45.0 miles (72.4km) Time: 0 hrs., 55mins.

1. Start out heading SOUTH on N MINERAL SPRINGS ROAD towards DUNES HIGHWAY. Drive for 0.5 miles.
2. Turn LEFT to get on DUNES HIGHWAY heading EAST. Drive for 1.2 miles.
3. Take exit on your RIGHT towards US-12 to get on IN-49. Drive for 13.9 miles.
4. Take US-30 E towards PLYMOUTH. Drive for 7.4 miles.
5. Turn RIGHT onto S US HIGHWAY 421. Drive for 7.6 miles.
6. S US HIGHWAY 421 becomes N WASHINGTON STREET. Drive for 0.9 miles.
7. N WASHINGTON STREET becomes S US HIGHWAY 421. Drive for 3.7 miles.
8. S US HIGHWAY 421 becomes US-421. Drive for 8.3 miles.
9. Turn RIGHT onto IN-143. Drive for 0.9 miles.
10. Turn RIGHT onto FISH AND WILDLIFE LANE. Drive for 0.1 miles.
11.You have reached 5822 Fish And Wildlife Lane, Medaryville 47957, Indiana
Note: Flush toilets are on the right as you enter the parking lot.

To the Observation Point:
1. Exit Headquarters Parking lot.
2. Turn Right on IN-143. Drive for 1/8 of mile.
3. Turn RIGHT onto 1650 W. Drive for 0.25 miles.
4. The parking lot for the Sandhill Crane Observation Point is on the left.

Join or login to comment.

  • Chris L.

    Your secret spot is safe with me. Crazy beautiful site! Thousands of birds at sunset over the marsh. Great Day Kevin!

    November 27, 2011

  • Soo

    Beautiful day in a beautiful setting and friendly fellow hikers. What more could you ask for? The thousands of sandhill cranes at sunset - wow!!! Thanks, Kevin!

    November 26, 2011

  • Kevin

    What a great day! Fantastic weather for the hike at Cowles's Bog, Val's "Bomb" was awesome for lunch, and viewing the Sandhill Cranes was a great experience. Thanks for spending you birthday with us Chris. Don't tell anyone about our secret viewing spot.

    November 26, 2011

  • Dot B.

    George and I had a great time on the trail. It was easy hills and a beautiful day.

    November 26, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great hike.... Really loved the View from the Top of the Dunes overlooking Lake Michigan! We enjoyed the hike, the group, and the lunch afterwards at Val's. Thanks for organizing this one, Kevin!

    November 25, 2011

  • Kevin

    We will eat at Val's Famous Pizza & Grinders, 112 S 11th St
    Chesterton, IN 46304.
    I was told to remember "The Bomb"!
    I am hoping to be there by 12:30.

    1 · November 23, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    Do you know where you'll be going for lunch? I'm not sure I'll get there by 10:15, so I may not be with the group at the bog, but I do want to go to lunch and the wildlife area.

    November 21, 2011

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