Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk, Portage, Indiana

The Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk is one of the newest beaches on the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Opened in 2008, it features a spacious, accessible pavilion with snackbar, accessible fishing, paved trails, dune succession trails, 900-foot sea wall, and a great shoreline that connects with the town of Ogden Dunes.

Both the National Park Service and the City of Portage, Indiana, are proud that this beach is a successful brownfield reclamation project that provides a place for dune wildlife to thrive and for people to enjoy it. Visitors to this area will go via Route 12, over the bridge near Midwest Steel, and then turn right near Precoat Metals, where this sign should be in view.

The Pavilion at the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk is open daily from 7 am till sunset, and is just steps from the parking lot. The snackbar is open during the late morning and early afternoon, with hot cocoa and pulled pork sandwiches among other items. There are places both indoors and out to sit down and relax.

This staircase is the shortest path to the Portage beach, and it's located on the far side of the Pavilion. The stairs here are wide and sturdy. Winds and lake currents will bring sediment from both the eastern and western shores to the southernmost shores of Lake Michigan, including this beach.

This view from the top of the stairs at the Portage Pavilion looks northwest toward Gary, Indiana, which is toward the left, while is Chicago obscured in the center on the water's horizon. As the gull flies, Chicago is 35 miles away. Lake Michigan is 307 miles north to south.

This accessible pathway to the beach begins between the parking lot and the Pavilion, and runs diagonally in this image. (The building on the far right is part of Midwest Steel.) The parking lot has 125 spaces, including several accessible ones, but the Portage Beach website says that this lot will often fill up by mid-morning during the peak summer season.

This 900-foot breakwater was cordoned off on this mostly cloudy, 43-degree day; nevertheless, these adventurous shoreline fishermen were determined to make the most of this rain-free afternoon. The boat on the left rocked a little in the choppy water. The ever-hopeful man at the end of this jetty will hop the rail in a few moments to take his place on the rocks.

Looking due north on April 2, 2014, this accessible fishing spot is located along the Riverwalk portion of the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk shoreline. Just to the right of this image is the Midwest Steel plant, owned by US Steel's Gary Works, which creates steel for automakers. Gary Works is just ten miles to the west in Gary, Indiana.

This is the Burns Waterway, which runs parallel between Midwest Steel and Riverwalk Drive. Every now and then, gulls flew low and slow in this area looking for lunch, while mallard duck pairs floated serenely on the water. The riverwalk runs north to south (the south end of this walkway was closed, alas.)

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