Sentinel, Sunset, and Pine Trail is a 3.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Savanna, Illinois that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
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. The gateway to seeing the parks impressive assortment of plant and animal life is its rugged 15-mile trail system. The five trails in the northern part of the park are generally wider and less strenuous than the five in the south, which are narrow and extremely close to the bluff. The southern trails also are very hazardous when wet. The North System includes High Point Trail at 3.5 miles and Aspen at 1.9 miles. Sentinel Trail, at 1.2 miles including spurs, is the South Systems longest hike, but it and other southern loops arent for the tenderfoot. Ozzies Point, Louis Point and Lookout Point, four developed overlooks accessible by short walks, offer a surfaced trail leading to an overlook. Oak Point offers a trail surface suitable for the physically challenged. Hiking trails are closed during the parks three-day firearm deer season, and specific information in available at the park office.
Beautiful sunset and not much hiking to find
fun yet difficult in parts great for scouts
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.
Good hike! Not to hard but the north trail was a little boring.
Quick hike with a few good views of the river. Great for young kids.
Easy and fun hike. Cool overlook points. not the most exciting hike.
Easy trail, gets overgrown later into the year
I went with my dog and completed all of the trails at the South Entrance. Man, be ready for a HIKE. There's lots of hilly terrain. Overall, it was pretty fun. My legs were about ready to give out after almost 7 miles of hiking.
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.
Quite hilly trails. The north trail was pretty boring actually. Old park road covered in gravel then turns into a grassy trail in the woods. Dead ends at a small lookout which was quite unimpressive. Not worth it.
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