The 997-acre Fults Hill Prairie State Natural Area is owned and managed by the Illinoois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Most of this unique natural area was purchased between 1970 and 1976. From the uplands of Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve to the lowlands of Kidd Lake Marsh, a variety of plants and animals can be found, some common and some found nowhere else in the state. Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve consists of 532 acres of uplands and includes woodland, prairie and glade communities. It has the largest complex of high quality loess hill prairies in Illinois. Prairies were once the dominant natural community in Illinois. The Illinois Nature Preserve system was established to give the highest level of protection to the state's few remaining high quality natural areas; this site was dedicated as a preserve in 1970. In 1986 it was recognized federally by the U.S. Department of Interior as a National Natural Landmark.
Did some field work here as a graduate student. The first part is a steep nearly vertical climb but it's rolling hills once you're on top of the bluffs and among the prairies. You get a great view of the Mississippi flood plain and local farmland.
The trail is actually rated as extreme difficulty. We went up the stairs first, which really gets your heart pumping and blood flowing and also makes you want to turn around, but the views are definitely worth it. Lots of loose rocks on the path down. Other than that it's a great workout!
Trail not marked, but easy to follow. Ascent and descent moderate difficulty. Great views towards end if you walk counter clockwise. Little overgrown in spots. Beautiful wildflowers blooming. Watch out for ticks and poison ivy.
Hiked this trail with my two children ages 5 and 11. They did great. Not really sure why this trail is rated as "extreme". The first leg of the trail is about a 250 ft ascent, then it levels until the descent. The trails were very well maintained.
Jeffery G. on Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve Trail
Prepare for a steep climb and little else. The prairie, however, is worth the climb.