Best Trails in Illinois
Trying to find the best trails in Illinois? Bivy has great hiking, biking, paddling, climbing, skiing, riding and more, with hand-curated trail maps, as well as detailed driving directions.
Missouri, St. Louis County
00 :51 hrs
Bee Tree Park is located on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. The scenery is a mix of mature woodlands open areas and charming fishing lake. The park is known for its display of wildflowers in the spring. This route combines sections of a few different trails in the park making a nice loop.
Illinois, LaSalle County
01 :15 hrs
Starved Rock State Park is located on the south side of the Illinois River and offers scenic sandstone canyons for exploration and excellent views of the river from high bluffs. The west section of the park explores multiple sections of canyon and leads to multiple overlook spots. Starting from the visitor center multiple trails can be used to customize a hike of a longer or shorter distance if desired. The trails are very popular, especially during peak season so visiting during the week and off-season may provide a little more solitude. There are sections of trail along exposed cliffs so extra caution is advised.
Illinois, LaSalle County
00 :56 hrs
Hiking along the trails in Matthiessen State Park, hikers will enjoy beautiful scenery as they travel through and above a scenic sandstone canyon that offers lots of solitude and shade. There is a creek running along much of the hike that creates some nice pools and dramatic waterfalls. Some stream crossings may be required, especially to get good views of the waterfalls. There is also Lake Matthiessen along the northern end of the area that makes for a nice place to stop and visit. The state park is less-visited than Starved Rock State Park just a few miles away making it a nice option for hikers looking to avoid the crowds. The state park offers picnic areas and restrooms.
02 :50 hrs
Starved Rock State Park is located on the south side of the Illinois River and offers scenic sandstone canyons for exploration and excellent views of the river from high bluffs. The east section of the park explores multiple out-and-back canyons and follows the cliffs on the river to multiple overlook spots. There are multiple trails and parking lots to access the trails allowing hikers to customize a hike of a longer or shorter distance if desired. The trails are very popular, especially during peak season so visiting during the week and off-season may provide a little more solitude. There are sections of trail along exposed cliffs so extra caution is advised.
Illinois, Williamson County
00 :35 hrs
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is a large natural area that offers three manmade lakes and lots of hiking trails for exploring the area. The Rocky Bluff Trail is located on the eastern side of Devils Kitchen Lake and travels through dense woodlands and along the shores of the lake where abundant wildlife and great views of the lake can be seen. There is also a scenic waterfall located along the route. The trail can be muddy with lots of debris and tree roots along sections of the path so be cautious and pay attention when hiking.
Illinois, Johnson County
00 :24 hrs
The Round Bluff Nature Preserve is located in Ferne Clyffe State Park and offers a loop trail that leads through the natural area that offers interesting rock formations, abundant wildlife, and diverse flora and fauna all year long. The protected area only allows hiking on designated trails and all plants and animals are protected within the preserve. The state park also offers picnic areas, campsites, and lots of other hiking trails outside the boundaries of the nature preserve.
Illinois, Jackson County
01 :19 hrs
Located in the Mississippi River valley, the Little Grand Canyon is a unique and scenic destination where visitors will enjoy hiking through deep canyons and lush ravines that are habitats to abundant wildlife and interesting flora and fauna. The hike is steep along sections including a stairway of sandstone steps that can be slippery. The trail also passes along some high cliffs above sheer canyon walls that provide some impressive views down below but also require some careful footing.
Illinois, Saline County
00 :15 hrs
This overlook trail travels through an area known for its interesting geologic history and unique rock formations as it leads along sandstone cliffs that provide excellent views down to the forest terrain below. There are lots of side spur trails off the main trail that lead to good overlook points that are optional but worth the extra mileage. The trail is a good option for hikers of all levels but there may be some exposed areas so pay close attention to younger hikers. The trail is very popular, especially on weekends, and parking may be limited so arrive early or visit during times that might be less crowded.
Illinois, Pope County
01 :17 hrs
Located in the Bell Smith Springs Recreation Area, this scenic hike follows multiple trails through a quiet creek in a rugged canyon setting along rocky bluffs with interesting rock formations. The area provides lots of opportunity for viewing beautiful wildflowers and abundant wildlife. The trail does require some stream crossings which can be slippery so be cautious. The trail also follows some steep exposed areas that require paying close attention. There are other connecting trails in the Bell Smith Spring Recreation Area providing hikers with numerous hiking possibilities.
05 :37 hrs
Starting from the small historic town of Galena, this biking route leads through beautiful countryside that offers excellent scenery and lots of steep rolling hills. The ride follows mostly quiet roads through diverse terrain including woodlands, along streams, past farms, and through rural areas with only a few busier sections that require a little more caution. The names of the roads change frequently and get a little confusing so pay close attention in order to stay on track.
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