As spring comes to the Dunes, everything is coming alive and blooming. This makes it the perfect time of year to explore the national park around Beverly Shores. This gentle bike ride will take in the beach scenery, the historic world’s fair homes, beautiful marshland alive with birds and the historic Beverly Shores community.
If you drive your bike to the park, then your best bet is to park in the National Park parking area. It’s free and you shouldn’t have trouble finding a free space. There are bathrooms available along with a water fountain. There is also information posted about the area that may be interesting.
Once you exit the parking area, right north towards the lake. It’s mostly downhill, which makes it an easy ride. It doesn’t take long to reach the lakeshore. Turn right and follow Lake Front Drive.
The road is at a nice height compared to the beach, almost on a ridge. So you can look out upon the beach and the lake and take in some stunning vistas. After a gentle, flat ride on new asphalt you’ll start to see some houses.
Most of the homes in this part of the lakeshore have been bought out by the National Park and torn down, allowing the land to return to it’s natural state. Several houses have been allowed to remain because of their historical significance.
The Beverly Shore World’s Fair Homes were built for the Chicago World’s fair in 1933 and were meant to showcase what the homes of the future would look like. After the fair they were brought to Beverly Shores in a publicity stunt. They remain there to this day, in various states of repair. The homes have been leased to several people on the agreement that they restore them to the original state. To read more about the World’s Fair Homes, check out The Beverly Shores World’s Fair Homes Post on Dunesblog.
As you ride, stop and take a moment to read the signs about each house and take a peak inside. The houses are really interesting and it’s worth a few minutes.
After you ride past the World’s Fair Homes, you’ll see more stunning lakeshore as you come upon another Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore rest area, which has parking, restrooms and water fountains. This is where you transition into Beverly Shores, where people still live and haven’t been affected by the National Park purchases.
After the National Park parking area, turn right and as you ride south through Beverly Shores you’ll see lots of really unique houses. Many were meant to be beach cottages, occupied during the summer but now many of them are year round homes. There are also many exciting new build homes, many with a modern architecture style that fits in well with the lakeshore. Many of the older homes have been there since Beverly Shores was established.
In between Beverly Shores and Route 12, you’ll re-enter the National Park and see some really stunning marshland. There’s some nice benches to rest on, along with water fountains. It’s nice to sit and listen to the birds. During the spring, the marshes come alive with birdsong. You’ll spot many bird watchers out taking a look as it’s a great bird watching destination.
As you exit Beverly Shores, you’ll come across the historical Spanish style South Shore Beverly Hills station that is still in service to this day. There is also a museum about the Beverly Shores area that’s worth a visit. After you’ve left Beverly Shores proper, it’s time to ride along the Calumet Trail and complete our circle of Beverly Shores.
This will be the most grueling part of the ride as you leave blacktop and ride on bare gravel. It looks deceiving on the map, but this part of the ride is the longest part. I don’t recommend doing this part of the ride on a windy day. If your lucky, you’ll see a South Shore train speed by as the trail runs along the South Shore tracks (but not close enough to be a danger). If you want to stop for a rest, you’ll be treated to a bizarre treat. The trail runs under some high tension power lines and you can hear the buzz of electricity through the lines. It’s a really neat song.
The Calumet Trail goes on for many more miles, but our section ends at the street you initially pulled into to park. You’ll ride through the beautiful forest canopy that creates a tunnel like effect. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a beautiful yellow carpet of flowers on the forest floor. After riding for quite some time, you’ll end up back at where you started.
It’s not a hard ride and the result is very rewarding. This ride will take less than an hour, but you’ll wish it went on for a little longer.
Ignore the part of the map that shoes riding on Route 12, you’ll actually be riding on the Calumet Trail, which runs parallel to Route 12.
All the pictures on this post are mine. If you’d like to see more from this bike ride, click here.
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