Finding parks off the beaten path is no easy task. When I go on a hike, I always seek out trails that incorporate the natural landscape’s geography into the path, and that is the case on a few of Franklin Creek State Natural Area’s trails. This well-marked 882-acre park is in a very quiet section of northwestern Illinois, and its creek-side cave and several natural springs are absolutely worth a visit. 

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Franklin Creek State Natural Area is ideal for birdwatching, taking a morning stroll, hiking for an afternoon or going on a high-speed trail run. Be sure to review Franklin Creek State Natural Area’s website before you go to double check the hours and whether or not there is hunting going on the day of your visit.

I would love to get in shape to join the 10K trail run, and for those of you planning to do so, see if any of The North Face’s trail shoes will elevate your running. Have you ever done a trail run in Illinois before? If so, let us know the best spot! If you are looking for a beautiful park to explore on the southern half of the state, take a look at this Remote State Park in Illinois.

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