10 Of The Most Beautiful Fall Destinations In Illinois
Winter might earn props as the most wonderful time of the year, which means fall might be the most beautiful time of the year. We have no shortage of places to view the fall foliage in Illinois – from our own neighborhoods to sprawling state parks. Here are 10 of the most beautiful fall destinations in Illinois that are definitely worth a visit this autumn.
1. Garden of the Gods – Herod
For some of the most sensational views of the fall foliage in Illinois, plan a visit to Garden of the Gods Recreation Area in Shawnee National Forest. Follow the Observation Trail, which spans just a half of a mile, for unforgettable views of the sandstone rocks and the fall foliage. Learn more about
Garden of the Gods Recreation Area.
2. Shawnee National Forest – Herod
You won't want to pass up a little more leaf peeping at Shawnee National Forest. Whether you're in the mood for hiking or horseback riding, you have more than a dozen trails you can follow. For more information, visit the website of
Shawnee National Forest.
3. Grand View Drive – Peoria
Touted as the world's most beautiful drive by Theodore Roosevelt, Grand View Drive boasts jaw-dropping fall foliage. Admire the fall foliage with a drive along the road that spans just over 2.5 miles. If you prefer a leisurely stroll instead, meander along the 1.75-mile sidewalk. For more information, head over to the website of
Grand View Drive and Park.
4. Starved Rock State Park – Oglesby
Starved Rock State Park features so many beautiful natural features - from waterfalls and natural springs to canyons. Drink in some of the colors of fall by hiking on one of the 13 miles of trails. Stop by the website of
Starved Rock State Park.
5. Matthiessen State Park – Oglesby
Just five minutes from Starved Rock State Park, Matthiessen State Park boasts an abundance of natural beauty, too, including waterfalls and forested areas. It's also the perfect backdrop for a day of hiking and admiring the colorful leaves. Learn more about
Matthiessen State Park.
(Check the website before heading over as the park has been temporarily closed due to storm damage.)
6. Mississippi Palisades State Park – Savanna
Enjoy a day outdoors - with spectacular views of the fall foliage - at Mississippi Palisades State Park. The park features 15 miles of hiking trails, rocking climbing in select areas, and picture-perfect spots to have a picnic. For more info, visit the website of
Mississippi Palisades State Park.
7. Ferne Clyffe State Park – Goreville
Don't forget your camera when you head over to Ferne Clyffe State Park. The park is particularly striking painted in the colors of fall. You can stop by for a day of leaf peeping, or you can follow one of the hiking trails, go horseback riding, or have a picnic. Visit the website of
Ferne Clyffe State Park.
8. Forest Preserves of Winnebago County – Rockford
Nothing compares to the forest trees during the peak fall foliage. To see some of the best in Illinois, visit one of the 44 individual forest preserves in Winnebago County. The preserves are popular with hikers, horseback riders, and birdwatchers. For more info, head to the website of
Forest Preserves of Winnebago County.
9. Chicago Botanic Garden – Glencoe
Spend a day exploring the beautiful grounds of Chicago Botanic Garden, which features spectacular fall foliage. You must reserve a time for your visit as timed entry is now required due to the pandemic. Stop by the official website of
Chicago Botanic Garden.
10. Morton Arboretum – Lisle
If you've got a few free hours, you might want to make your way to Morton Arboretum, where you'll be treated to sensational views of the fall foliage. However, you must first make a reservation for timed entry, due to the pandemic. Visit the official website of
What are your favorite fall destinations in Illinois? Let us know in the comments! For more beautiful fall foliage, hit the highway on this
fall drive through Illinois.
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Garden of the Gods Road, Garden of the Gods Rd, Illinois, USA
Shawnee National Forest, Herod, IL 62946, USA
Grandview Drive, Grandview Dr, Peoria, IL, USA
Starved Rock State Park, Oglesby, IL 61348, USA
Matthiessen State Park, 2500 IL-178, Oglesby, IL 61348, USA
Mississippi Palisades State Park, 16327A IL-84, Savanna, IL 61074, USA
Ferne Clyffe State Park, Goreville Rd, Goreville, IL, USA
5500 Northrock Dr, Rockford, IL 61103, USA
Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL 60022, USA
The Morton Arboretum, 4100 IL-53, Lisle, IL 60532, USA