The Native American pathfinders along the rock palisades of the Mississippi River did as present-day hikers do - in coursing the bluffs, they took the paths of least resistance. The trails at the Mississippi Palisades, especially the parks southern routes, puts you in touch with the past. Walk them and youll trace the footsteps of all those who came before you, some of whom came this way nearly a thousand years ago. Located near the confluence of the Mississippi and Apple rivers in northwestern Illinois, the 2,500-acre Mississippi Palisades State Park is rich in American Indian history.
There are several areas on the south section where the trails have not received maintenance. Stairs have washed out, and trees are down across the trails. This may be due to the State of Illinois budget difficulties, but who knows? At any rate, if you are hiking with very young children this might make the trail more challenging. We rather enjoyed the extra effort required.
Took the whole family this past weekend. Little legs worked hard up some of the hills. Aspen trail was a favorite on the Northside of the park. High Point trail did not offer that great of an 'outlook' spot to view the river. On the Southside we drove to the outlook points which were incredible. The trails were too difficult for the preschooler in our group.
Pretty park--there is no way I hiked 15 miles there however. We spent the day there and hiked many trails....but nowhere near fifteen miles. This best hikes were closest to river where we could look out on the rocks and railroad tracks.
Amazing views in the south end. If you are walking from a camping site to the south end be prepared for quite a hall. If you want to save your energy for the rather tough ( but amazing)trails there are I would suggest driving from the campsite to the trails.
The Palisades is a great place to camp and hike for a weekend. The views from the bluffs are some of the best in IL. Catch a memorable sunset from one of the outlooks.
The campground is huge, try to find a nice tucked away spot away from other campers. The restrooms/showers are the nicest I've ever been in for a campground. I tent camp and the first morning we had around 20 turkeys in and around our campsite, awesome site to see! A small general store is located right outside the campground has all the basics you need to get by.
There are numerous trails within the park, easy-moderate hikes with an occasional steep climb. Split up between the North System, and the South System. The North are longer and less traveled, while the South are short and sometimes busy because of the amazing views. The trails around the bluffs are amazing, especially the less visited ones, almost some "secret areas" with low foot-traffic. Try to catch rock-climbers on Sentinel Rock its cool to see! The lower trail of Sentinel is worth the decent, or accessible from the South entrance, and take in the view looking up the rock and talk with climbers.
The park location is convenient, its not far from civilization if you have to go back to town for something.
4-Star State Rating