Illinois is full of places to go hiking. A walk down the country roads can be enjoyable while observing the wildlife and the environment. Hiking is a great way to unwind from day to day stress, put down technology, and allow you to explore the world. Illinois has over a hundred state parks with access to hiking for both beginners and experienced hikers. A beginner hike is a short trip around a pond through a little brush. An expert hiker has more obstacles such as: traveling deep into the woods and uneven terrain. A beginner should start on a beginner trail until you’ve got more experience under your belt. You don’t have to go to a state park to explore Illinois. A hike around your own neighborhood can open up eyes more than a drive. Just today, I found a cherry tree walking in the same area I’ve lived for several years.
Heron State Park is hidden in the small town of Danville. The park has a 950 foot long floating boardwalk that’s accessible by foot and wheelchair. It’s the second longest boardwalk in the state. Hiking on the boardwalk offers you the chance to explore the outdoors without the rough terrain. Heron Park has a half mile self-guided hike. Along the boardwalk you’ll see beaver building dams in the wetlands, swans huddling together, animal paw prints in the dirt, wily worm nests, and wild flowers growing beside the vermillion lake banks.
Kickapoo State Park is located in Oakwood, Illinois. Inside the park, you’ll find over 30 miles of trails for hikers of all skill levels. Each trail is clearly marked. The most difficult trail is over seven miles long. The beginner hiking trail wraps around a lake. During your hike, you’ll find obstacles to complete such as climbing over logs and through heavily wooded areas, but the park department keeps things maintained so you can enjoy the park while staying safe. In the park you’ll see wild turkey, deer, squirrels, and bird’s native to Illinois. In the early spring to summer you’ll see baby fawns huddled up with their mother. Bring a sack lunch so you can stop off at the many picnic areas, but don’t feed the wildlife.
Kennekuk State Park is located next to Kickapoo in Oakwood, Illinois. The park has trails for novice and experienced hikers. Inside Kennekuk you’ll find over ten miles of hiking and seven and half miles around Lake Mingo. Kennekuk has several bodies of water and wildlife such as: squirrels, birds, beaver, coyote, rabbits, fox and deer.
Forest Glen Preserve is located in Westville, Illinois. Forest Glen has 25 miles of hiking trails, an 11 mile backpack trail and 1/3 mile asphalt hiking trail for the disabled. They have a leaf hike in the fall and monthly hikes. Inside Forest Glen Preserve you’ll find woodpecker, fox, geese, coyote, turkey and deer. There are several bodies of water to explore. Take a bag to enjoy next to the water.
There’s something for everyone at the state parks located all over Illinois. Grab your family and a bag lunch to get your family away from the house and technology.