This natural area is open from dawn to dusk daily.
Montrose Beach Dunes is a natural area located on the eastern end of Montrose Beach within Lincoln Park. The area was originally formed by landfill and has since been shaped by natural processes. In 2001, the Chicago Park District stopped grooming the area to encourage dune formation. As a result, the site now contains beach, foredune, and globally rare panne habitat, which support numerous state threatened or endangered plant species. In 2005, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources added Montrose Beach Dunes to the statewide list of high-quality natural areas known as the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI). The size of the natural area changes depending on lake levels.
Montrose Beach Dunes is an important area for foraging, migrating, and resident shore birds, including the federally endangered Great Lakes piping plover, which first nested at the site in 2019. In total, over 300 bird species have been recorded at Montrose Beach Dunes and the adjacent Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary.
Much work has been done to bring this natural area to its current state of health. The dunes have benefited greatly from the dedication and hard work of community volunteers who collect and scatter native seed, plant native species, pick up trash, monitor vegetation and birds, and remove invasive species. Learn more about these and other volunteer opportunities by visiting our Community Stewardship Program page.