West Beach Pond

West Beach Pond Just before reaching the beach from the parking area of the West Beach access, you encounter a small interdunal pond - a pond formed between dunes. This particular pond is just on the leeward side of the foredune, the first dune inland from the beach. In spring and summer, I've seen wading birds taking advantage of the easy pickings around this shallow body of water. Currently, it's still a bit too early to see them, but I did encounter my first snowy egret of the season yesterday.

 West Beach is a rather unique place. Part of the Indiana Dunes National Park, this access point allows visitors to see dune progression in it's entirety, in a very short space. Taking the mile long dune succession trail, takes you from beach, to marram grass covered foredune, to conifer forest, to oak savanna, and all of the stages in between.

 In the summer, this is a popular swimming destination with ample parking, a bathhouse with concessions and life guards. I generally visit in the cold months when I'm practically the only person in the park.

 It's hard to imagine that just 30 miles across Lake Michigan is one of the largest cities in the country. On clear days, you can see the Chicago skyline from almost any beach in the Indiana Dunes National Park, and even a better view if you're able to climb to the top of one of the dunes.

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