Nature January 14, 2021
In 2021, Take These 12 Incredible Illinois Hikes, One For Each Month Of The Year
Cheers to the New Year! We do hope for better things to come, but in the meantime, we can always rely on a steadfast hiking trail at one of the many stunning preserves in Illinois. Let’s discover a trail for each month of the year around the Prairie State.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. January: Dells Area to Vermillion River Area Loop, Matthiessen State Park - Oglesby
Start 2021 off right by hiking to a waterfall that may be frozen and looks otherworldly this time of year. The moderate 6.4-mile loop trail may be slippery in some areas, so be prepared!
2. February: Lover's Leap Overlook Trail, Starved Rock State Park - Oglesby
February brings Valentine's Day, so why not take the romantically-named Lover's Leap Overlook Trail, a 1.7-mile loop that will take you to a waterfall and grant you epic views of Starved Rock. What is more romantic than that?
3. March: Trail to the Glen, Rocky Glen Park - Peoria County
They say March comes in like a lion, and if that's the case, you may see snow and a frozen waterfall along this moderate 1.1-mile out and back trail. Be prepared for some steep parts on this hike, but the beauty of the Trail to the Glen is quite spectacular.
4. April: Red Cedar Trail, Giant City State Park - Makanda
April brings spring weather and an abundance of water flow after the winter snow melts. The Red Cedar Trail is a long loop at 10.8-miles, but after spending so much time indoors during winter you may be up for the challenge of this moderate hike. If you are unable to hike the full length, travel out and back to the Red Cedar Waterfall.
5. May: Morton Arboretum - Lisle
April showers bring May flowers, which is absolutely true on the grounds of Morton Arboretum. With 1,700 acres of gardens, trees, and hiking trails, visitors are treated to a rainbow of blooming flowers come springtime. You won't want to miss hiking here this month.
6. June: River Route Natural Trail, Apple River Canyon State Park - Rush Township
This state park is great for car camping, fishing, and hiking. Take the River Route trail that will lead you to the crystal-clear river where you can fish. With spectacular views, flowers, and wildlife, we think this will be a great hike for the month of June.
7. July: Sangamon River Forest Preserve Loop - Fisher
See wildflowers and wildlife along this 2.2-mile trail that is easy enough for all hiking levels. This preserve features a river, woods, and prairie, providing a lovely hike on a trail that's not too busy.
8. August: Jackson Falls Trail - Pope County
During the dog days of summer, a hike along Jackson Falls Trail will lead you to a waterfall spilling into a pool where you can cool off. This is a great place for families! If you are more adventurous, you can go rock-climbing in the canyon.
9. September: River Bluff Trail Loop, Buffalo Rock State Park - Ottowa
With the end of summer in sight and fall on the horizon, September is a fantastic time of year where the temperatures are just about perfect for hiking. This 2.6-mile loop will bring you to points overlooking the picturesque Illinois River.
10. October: Hickory Trail (Red), Pere Marquette's State Park - Grafton
This out-and-back trail is 0.8-miles long and will give you epic views of the river and acres of trees with leaves changing colors. What a pretty hike to do in the fall!
11. November: Cache River and Heron Pond State Natural Areas - Belknap
As a longer hike, this 7.4-mile trail is actually good for all skill levels and features a swamp area that is a must-see! And you don't have to do the entire hike to experience the beauty here.
12. December: Buffalo Viewing Trail, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie - Elwood
End the year by hiking Buffalo Viewing Trail, a 3.6-mile loop that is good for all skill levels. Experience the quiet and serenity here this winter and perhaps you will even see one of the buffalo that roam the preserve.
What are your favorite hikes to do during the year?
Learn more about these 12 hikes by clicking the links below:
Dells Area to Vermillion River Area Loop February:
Lover’s Leap Overlook Trail March:
Trail to the Glen April:
Red Cedar Trail May:
Morton Arboretum June:
River Route Natural Trail July:
Sangamon River Forest Preserve Loop August:
Jackson Falls Trail September:
River Bluff Trail Loop October:
Hickory Trail (Red) November:
Cache River and Heron Pond State Natural Areas December:
Buffalo Viewing Trail
Address: 2500 IL-178, Oglesby, IL 61348, USA Address: Oglesby, IL 61348, USA Address: 243 N Kickapoo Creek Rd, Peoria, IL 61604, USA Address: Makanda, IL 62958, USA Address: 4100 IL-53, Lisle, IL 60532, USA Address: County Rd 18, Rush Township, IL, USA Address: Fisher, IL 61843, USA Address: Pope County, IL, USA Address: Ottawa Township, IL 61350, USA Address: 15550 Scenic Dr, Grafton, IL 62037, USA Address: Heron Pond Ln, Belknap Precinct, IL 62908, USA Address: Elwood, IL 60421, USA