There is no better way to explore the beauty of Illinois than by heading down some of the many trails. You can hike, bike, and even take your dog. Many trails offer other opportunities like kayaking or fishing. There are so many to choose from, but we’re looking at ten great Illinois trails:
1. Waterfall Glen (Lemont)
This is one of the most scenic areas in Northern Illinois, hiding out in the Chicago suburbs. The Wisconsin glacier has left interesting potholes and ridges. There are 2,492 acres to explore. You can hike, bike, and even cross-country ski.
2. Rock Cut State Park (Loves Park)
3,092 acres include 2 lakes, perfect for fishing or ice skating when the weather gets colder. There is also a nice campground with 270 campsites. There are hiking, biking and equestrian trails for you to enjoy.
3. Starved Rock (Utica)
With thirteen miles of trails to explore, you can't go wrong. In the Spring and after heavy rains, see some pretty spectacular waterfalls. There are waterfalls in 14 out of the 18 canyons.
4. Garden of the Gods (Herod)
The observation trail is just 1/4 mile long, so you can see that no matter what shape you're in. Garden of the Gods is situated in Shawnee National Forest. A 160 mile River to River trail awaits. There are a variety of small trails for those with limited abilities and those for people who want to hike all day.
5. Matthiessen State Park (North Utica)
At 1,938 acres, there are five miles of trails for you to explore. The bluff tops are very scenic and are accessible for pretty much everyone. If you are more experienced, explore the interior of the two dells.
6. Giant City State Park (Makanda)
This park is also nestled in the Shawnee National Forest, so you know it's going to be scenic.
There are several trails to take. If you're looking for more of a challenge, check out the twelve mile Red Cedar Hiking Trail. You can go rock climbing and rappelling in two locations.
7. Mississippi Palisades State Park (Savanna)
One of the most scenic parts of Illinois, this park offers 2,500 acres of beauty. This includes a 15-mile trail system. There are also three scenic overlooks so you can enjoy the park and they only require minimal walking. At the confluence of the Mississippi and Apple Rivers, fishing and boating is ideal.
8. Ferne Clyffe State Park (Goreville)
Explore 2,430 acres of
picturesque woods and impressive rock formations by choosing one of the eighteen trails. This is also a great place to camp and picnic.
9. Cahokia Mounds (Collinsville)
Cahokia Mounds offer some of more historical trails to navigate. There are three trails. The Nature/Culture hike is 6.2 miles, winding through the more remote parts of the site. A booklet available for sale will explain various historical events on the trail and explain the culture of the Mississippians.
10. Rim Rock Recreation Trail (Vienna)
This trail offers peerless scenic beauty. Of particular interest are the spring woodland flowers. On the lower trail, there are impressive sandstone rock formations. Ox-Lot Cave is worth seeing; it's a large rock overhang where 19th century loggers kept oxen and horses.
What is your favorite trail? Let us know in the comments.