Bicycling Pleasures Abound
On LaPorte County Byways
Vacationers who wouldn’t dream of leaving home without their bicycles are in for some outstanding surprises when they visit this intriguing corner of Northern Indiana. LaPorte County, along the shores of magnificent Lake Michigan, is already the escape of choice for so many people seeking a perfect weekend getaway spot or extended family holiday. Bicycling opportunities, including some longtime mapped routes and other exciting new additions, signal great times in store.
Imagine treks into the green countryside through forested parks and preserves and along shimmering lake shores as you soak in sunshine, fresh air, and scenery. You’ll discover friendly communities, great places to stop for a respite or quick bite, and a sense of camaraderie along the way. The open road lies just ahead.
So New, So Cool – Ride with GPS
Captivating bicycling routes are mapped out and can be downloaded to your iPhone under the LaPorte County Shared Bikeways Ride with GPS program. It couldn’t be easier or a better way to set a course for adventure!
What’s on the App – A total of 10 routes, ranging from 13 to 30 miles, are detailed on the Ride with GPS app. The app gives information about each route, including distance, elevation changes, and stops along the way where you can enjoy a break, explore, or grab a snack. Different routes encompass varying outdoor scenarios – from deep forests to wide-open sunny farmland, plus lakes and wetlands. The app also provides alerts for places to approach with caution, such as railroad crossings and major intersections.
Some Trail Examples – Here is just a sampling of what you’ll find along various routes:
● LaPorte Loop – Enjoy 22 flat miles as you pass through three city parks and past two lakes.
● Ambler Flatwoods Loop – A 20.8-mile route starting and ending at the Ambler Flatwoods Nature Preserve, just east of Michigan City, leads through wetlands and forests and by flowing waters. Along the way, stop and enjoy short hikes in preserves. The route suggests a seasonal stop at Stateline Blueberries.
● Red Mill Loop – This 28.1-mile route starts and ends at Red Mill County Park, west of LaPorte. It takes you into the city of LaPorte where you’ll ride by two of LaPorte’s beautiful natural lakes and then over the headwaters of the Little Calumet River. Take a break at Garwood Orchards.
● Kingsbury Route – This 16-mile trail begins at Luhr County Park south of LaPorte and winds through parts of the Kingsbury Fish and Wildlife Area, where opportunities to see wildlife abound.
● LaCrosse Loop – This 18.9-mile route is an unsigned route that is only available on Ride with GPS until officials complete all the signage for the new routes. A true country ride, it starts in the small town of LaCrosse and passes rich farmlands and grazing cattle. Stop by Guseberries Strawberry Farm for some delicious fruit.
County Trails and County Parks – Oldies but Goodies
LaPorte County Parks welcome bicyclists to nearly all their trails. You’ll find both paved and unpaved trails, plus loads of chances to stop and get in touch with nature. Bluhm County Park and Red Mill County Park have Mountain Bike Trails for the more adventurous bike rider.
In addition, LaPorte County has established 20 mapped routes with loops totaling 420 miles. These routes take cyclists along quiet roads that connect county parks, communities, city parks, and attractions.
Ready to get off the bike seat as you glide through the county parks? Here’s what’s in store (All parks are open 7am-sunset and feature picnic tables, playground equipment, and restrooms):
● Bluhm County Park, Westville – Nature trails, paved trails, and mountain bike trails roam through acres of forest and prairie, plus a wetland area where waterfowl are common.
● Creek Ridge County Park, Michigan City – A series of boardwalks make hiking easy in this park, comprised of prairies, wetlands, and hardwood forests.
● Luhr County Park, LaPorte – If you feel the urge to throw in a line, this park features a stocked pond with a fishing pier (fishing pole rental is available at the Nature Center). Hike paved trails and boardwalks and climb the observation tower.
● Red Mill County Park, Michigan City – Multi-use trails make this a great spot for hikers and mountain bikers. The burbling headwaters of the Little Calumet River are located here, along with 23 acres of wetlands and open water.
City Specials – In-Town Routes
As you cycle trails that pass through the communities of Michigan City and LaPorte, the county’s two largest communities, take advantage of city parks for both cycling and stops. Here are two popular places:
Soldiers Memorial Park, LaPorte – If you enjoy a view of sunlight on the water, the trail at Soldiers Memorial Park in LaPorte passes both Stone and Pine Lakes. Stop for a cooling swim or respite on the beach at Stone Lake’s public park along the shore.
Winding Creek Cove Park, Michigan City – This park serves as a trail connection to the Trail Creek Greenway Trail. It’s a good stop from your biking adventure to hike trails that lead through a heavily wooded area to a fishing access spot and an observation deck.
New bicycling options are in store as more and more trails connect for longer, stimulating routes.
Singing Sands Trail, Michigan City – The Singing Sands Trail is Michigan City’s portion of a multi-state effort called the Marquette Greenway Trail. Eventually, the Marquette project will connect trails from Illinois through Northern Indiana and on to New Buffalo, Michigan. The completed Singing Sands Trail in Michigan City, named for the beautiful sand beaches that anchor the community, runs parallel to U.S. 12 (Michigan Blvd) and ends at Liberty Trail. It connects two existing trails, including Michigan City’s 1.1-mile Trail Creek Greenway on the eastern end. Ultimately, it will connect with Memorial Park and Friendship Botanic Gardens.
On the western end, the Singing Sands Trail connects with Calumet Trail and leads to connections that run through Indiana Dunes National Park. A compelling part of the overall trail experience is biking through the nearby national park wetlands.
United States Bicycle Route 35 – LaPorte County marks the starting point of United States Bicycle Route 35 (known as USBR35), a 360-mile cycling route that travels through 16 counties to the southern tip of Indiana. It’s an ideal trail for both amateurs and avid cyclists through iconic farm fields, charming downtowns, and over gently rolling hills. The route ultimately connects with other states as part of a national cycling network combining off-road trails, bicycle lanes, and low-traffic roads.
Super Cycling Events to Benefit Others
Participants in these events, both sponsored by the LaPorte County YMCA, rave about the beautiful LaPorte County scenery – lakes, beaches, and green countryside – they pass by while taking part in the fundraisers.
Tour de La Porte (August 20-22, 2021, with cycling event on August 22), LaPorte – 100% of the proceeds from this popular cycling, running, and walking event benefit the Y’s youth and healthy living programs, providing direct support to eligible La Porte County residents in need of assistance for health reasons or to join Y programs. Pick up packets on Friday for the running events on Saturday and cycling events on Sunday. Cycling events on Sunday include 5- to 15-mile routes. Saturday’s events include a half-marathon run, a 5k walk and run, and a mini obstacle course for kids up to age 10.
LaPorte County YMCA Triathlon – Plan ahead for next summer! This annual triathlon, which just celebrated its 41st year, has already passed for 2021, but will be held in early June next year. Taking place along the shores of Stone Lake in the community of LaPorte, the race includes a quarter-mile swim in Stone Lake, a 12.4-mile bike ride through scenic countryside, and a 3.4-mile run through Soldiers Memorial Park. This fundraiser is the longest running triathlon event in Indiana and benefits the YMCA scholarship program.
Insider Tip: Need a bike repair? Cycle adjustment? Equipment? Or even a new ride? Bike Stop Cycling in Michigan City is your go-to shop for all biking needs and advice. A cycling staple for nearly 40 years, this family-owned business is here for you when you’re away from home.