Nature May 30, 2016
10 Places In Illinois That’ll Make You Swear You’re On Another Planet
Sure, a lot of Illinois is flat and full of cornfields. But there are some amazing spots that will make you swear you are on another planet. Here are some of these otherworldly spots.
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. Cache River Natural Area (Belknap)
This bog definitely looks like something from another world, or at least another part of earth. It is full of green waters, snakes, and large cypress trees. Some of these trees are 1,000 years old. They are large, too. Some are 40 feet in circumference.
2. Mississippi Palisades State Park (Savanna)
Walk in the spots that Native Americans once called home. The Palisades are named for the steep cliffs overlooking the Mississippi River. The park is actually located at the confluence of the Apple and Mississippi Rivers. The area is lush from the rivers. The area is full of caves, as well as dangerous sink holes.
3. Starved Rock State Park (Oglesby)
With caves and canyons, as well as trees that seem to grow right out of the earth, with roots hanging out the sides of cliffs, you will feel like you are in another world. There are 18 canyons here with vertical walls of moss-covered stone. You also get some gorgeous views of the Illinois river from various overlooks.
4. Garden of the Gods (Herod)
This has to be the number one sunrise/sunset in America. These cliffs were formed some 300 million years ago. What's amazing about this place is that it looks pristine and untouched for the last 300 million years. Some of the scenic bluff overlooks provide panoramic views.
5. Giant City State Park (Makanda)
Nature has created some of the most inspiring trails in all of Illinois. The park is famous for the Giant City Nature Trail. It is home to the "Giant City Streets" which are huge bluffs of sandstone that formed some 12,000 years ago. Stones are covered in ferns, moss, and all sorts of flowering plants.
6. Castle Rock State Park (Oregon)
Castle Rock is known for its rolling topography. It is located along the west bank of the Rock River. Other than interesting rock formations, there are ravines and unique plant formations through the park. Short trails provide you fantastic scenic views.
7. Nygren Wetland Preserve (Rockton)
This gorgeous wetland preserve takes up a whopping 720 acres. Besides wetlands, it has preserved some woodlands and prairies. It is particularly gorgeous in the summer, as gray-headed coneflowers and sunflowers bloom. The result is a gorgeous purple and yellow ocean of color on the bluffs.
8. Kinkaid Lake (Jackson County)
A wonderful place for fishing, you could not ask for a more scenic place to angle. There is varied topography here, from rolling hills to sandstone bluffs. There are also prairie grasses surrounding it, as well as gorgeous falls.
9. Ferne Clyffe State Park (Goreville)
This 2400 acre park has incredible geological features that people have taken notice of for at least the past 100 years. There are picturesque woods that swirl through awesome rock formations. There are also some fantastic vistas. Unusual plants (including ferns) make it green and lush.
10. Cave in Rock State Park (Cave in Rock)
Once a place for bootleggers and pirates, this is now located in a small, sleepy town. The cave mouth is quite large (55 feet) and is located among high bluffs. There is a fantastic view of the Ohio River here as well.
Have you been to any of these spots? What did you think?