Portage Lakefront and River Walk
Submitted by: Stephen Lehman
For the busy adventurer
Hours: Closes at dusk
What to expect: Easy parking, lots of driftwood, a nice beach and trail
I’ve been to the Portage Lakefront & Riverwalk many times prior to this mild December day; I’ve never been disappointed. The first thing you’ll notice when you enter is the pavilion. Inside, you’ll find restrooms, a water fountain and a meeting space. Just past the pavilion is a breakwater pier and a small lighthouse. During the winter, this pier is closed off due to “emergency conditions” but fisherman seem to be there no matter what.
The breakwater is encased with giant rocks, similar to Washington Park in Michigan City. The winter brings ice and dangerous conditions. I would recommend making it out on a day when ice is not present. With that being said, don’t forget how dangerous shelf ice can be and stay off of it this winter season. This lakefront is exceptionally beautiful during golden hour (the 1hr-45min before sunset). Actually, I think everything is gorgeous during that time. The golds from the sun that showed up in my photos provided a perfect contrast for the deep blue/green of the water.
It’s unfortunate that the eastern edge of the lakefront is plagued by one of the area’s steel mills. I’m not against them, I just get frustrated by the eyesore that they are in the face of the natural beauty of our lake and beaches. Regardless, this place is magnificent. Below is a photo of both of the break waters.
This spot is perfect for photos and viewing the entire lakefront. Standing up on the dune and looking out across the water makes one feel quite adventurous. Across the lake to the east, the mill in Gary can be seen, and of course the Chicago skyline a little further along the coastline.
One of my favorite things about the lakefront here in Portage is the small section of beach to the west. On this particular day, a group of people with some really nice looking kites made their way down to the beach. As I watched them put their kites together I knew that I was in for a show. Sure enough, they let their kites out on their strings and they began to soar. All was well in that moment. It was December and almost 50 degrees, folks were flying kites, fishing, and exploring what normally would be a windy and cold lakefront area.
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