Northwest Indiana Birding Opportunities - Hammond Lakefront Park & Bird Sanctuary

The Hammond Lakefront Park & Bird Sanctuary is almost certainly the best location in the Calumet region to observe migrating passerines.

Black and White Warbler at Hammond Lake Front Bird Sanctuary


This 600-meter wooded strip of lakefront on Lake Michigan is a virtual oasis of vegetation among a vast urban landscape. Once well-known simply as “The Migrant Trap,” it serves as a valuable migrant stopover site which concentrates great numbers of migrant passerines in spring and fall. As a lakefront site, flanked to the east by the Hammond Marina, this site is also great for migrating and overwintering waterfowl.

Typically, it is best to begin birding at this site by checking the ornamental pines on the east side of the sanctuary, then scanning the marina and Lake Michigan for waterfowl. Enter the sanctuary from the east edge and walk the interior trail in a westward direction until you reach the area where the bike trail intersects the trail. Return eastward along the bike trail just outside of the sanctuary. At the west end, it can be productive to walk a short distance west along the bike trail, especially near the train tracks where the grasses provide cover for sparrows and other skulking species.

eBird Hotspot Link:

Total Birding Time:
The loop is about 1.2 miles so 1-2 hours is typically enough time to cover the entire area.

Best Times to Bird: 
Hammond Lakefront Park and Marina is a four-season birding site, with May and September being the peak for songbird migration. Waterfowl begin arriving in late October and many species winter on Lake Michigan.


701 Casino Center Dr., Hammond, IN 46320.
Directions: From Indianapolis Blvd., turn onto the overpass for the Horseshoe Casino and Hammond Marina. As the overpass descends, make a very hard right turn (like a U-turn) onto a frontage road that leads to Hammond Marina parking lot. The lot is gated so you’ll have to stop at the booth.
Hours: Open dawn til dusk
Ownership: City of Hammond, Indiana, Hammond Parks and Recreation Department
Admission: No admission fee, but there may be a parking fee seasonally. 
Restrictions: Please obey all rules and regulations.
Parking lot at site, parking fee may apply.
Nearby Amenities:
Restrooms are on site in the marina office building. Hotel/motel accommodations are available in Hammond and other nearby lakefront cities.
Accessibility: The trail through the sanctuary is mulched and flat. There are paved trails directly adjacent.
Phone Number:
(219) 659-7678

Written by: 
Matt Igleski
Photo by: Jeff Timmons