Explore 1-2 Hours Away - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

1-2 Hours Away Map

Its a very pretty touristy Trail I didnt see much of anyone and really ever do but look at the time I go . I aint much of a people person when im on a trail so I stay away from them and pick my times according if Im visiting a tourist/Disney Style trail. I always park in down town Ottawa and Backpacked to the 1st Canyon Trail (Horse Shoe Canyon and then pack from there all the way to the end (Visitor Center/Inn/Bar) Then I pack my way back to Ottawa. I do this just about every year . I love winter pack-ins and enjoy camping outside in the winter-freeze(Less people) so this is always a good winter start to my new year. I usually do it sometime in the month of Jan. I stay on the trail( which is frowned on) but I believe and live !!NO TRACE!! so no-one ever knows I was there and thats not saying much because although it is frowned on that I renegade camp this area has got alot of trash from your so-called-nature-lovers who throw away just about everything they carry in on the ground as they walk through this park !!!!!! It makes me so angry!!!!! You came with it so leave with it !! Its lighter now!!! so carry it out! If campgrounds-Trails-Wildernesses-Forests and Parks had trash everywhere people would complain "Dont go there its a Dump!" WELL MY FRIENDS YOU ARE THE REASON IT IS A DUMP. Outside of that rant I really enjoy my 2-half day Pack-in during the winter here and yes as I move along I pick up the trash left behind by others .Its not enough I carry 47lbs of winter backpacking gear on my back I carry a bag of your trash to throw away as well. SHOW RESPECT ,LEAVE NO TRACE!

Nice trail. Ford's were flooded so were unable to hike some parts. Very clean and beautiful. not very crowed thus time if year. Favorite so far in this area. had lunch at lodge. Food was good. service so so. we would return.

Fun hike, can be challenging to stay dry in the dells if your worried about staying dry.... I try to avoid it on the weekends as it can get packed full of people in the summer. Winter time is nice just don't forget your snow/ice cleats. One of the few good hiking spots within 60 miles of the metro area.

I used to come fishing here quite a bit.. sad to see the lake is gone. There are some other smaller ponds around the trails I noticed. In terms of hiking, the trails are pretty and variable, though can be tricky to spot at times off the gravel paths / roadways.

beatiful views. we hiked in January during a warm weather pattern. bald eagles all over the river.

lovely park-very clean and a great path! Made a lot of memories today creek stomping with my wee one before she heads off to college-she's majoring in Forrestry and Park Management

Lovely in December with frozen waterfalls!

Great trail. it's hard to stay on track and do the full 7 miles. I think we managed to get 4 in today. Shared use for bikes, horses and hikers and dogs can run off leash. There's not many places to get outside but this is a great place to go in Central Illinois.

3 months ago

A fun place for a day of hiking within two hours of Chicago suburbs. The series of trails provide some up and downs and beautiful creek views (particularly Sleepy Hollow trail which includes several water crossings) and a protected Eastern White Pine forest (Grey Squirrel and Red Squirrel trails). Reward yourself after your day of hiking with a meal in the historic (built by the CCC in the 1930s) lodge restaurant.

3 months ago

Nice hike but The lake was drained so if you're looking for a Scenic Lake you better wait a couple years.

love it!

Great trail! Scenery was nice with winding paths, bridges, rock formations and the large body of water visible throughout most of the trail. Looking forward to hiking this trail again! Great trail for Hawkeyes to visit when they need a few hours of relaxation!

Great hiking trails

One of the best trails for trail running with a canine companion - trails are wide enough for both of us and we love the trees and lookout points over the water. So pretty!

Not well marked so I ended up walking more like 9 miles and had to use my phone half the time to figure out GPS...otherwise it's nice. Lots of creeks.

Nice trail. Not as trashy as expected from reading other reviews.

on Cedar Cliff Trail

5 months ago

Will do again

great trail for a half day trip or so!

Great hike. It is connected to a few other trails. A couple of waterfalls too.

Great hike. It is connected to a few other trails. A couple of waterfalls too.

Great hike. It is connected to a few other trails. A couple of waterfalls too.

Starr's Cave is beautiful, with limestone bluffs shadowing Flint Creek that runs through the park. During the winter you can rent cross country skis to explore either the creek or trails. The trail system starts at the nature center and has several areas where it veers off into other trails. If you stay on the main trail the entire loop will take you back around to the backside of the nature center for just under 3 miles of distance covered. It's an easy trail with only a couple good hills toward the end of the trail. Several bridges to cross along the way. The main cave that's across the long bridge toward the beginning of the trail is closed off, but you can still walk up to the entrance and look around. The view off the bridge is breathtaking, especially during fall colors peak season in October. There are 2 other smaller caves you can take the trails and either climb up to get inside, or climb down - depending on which trail you take to get to it. It's small, but big enough to stand up inside and go in to the back of it and check it out. I didn't get to the other cave, but I'm pretty sure it's on a trail across Flint Creek. There's a trailhead for that one out on Irish Ridge Road. I love hiking out there to explore nature as well as running the trails for a good workout.

Great park for a day of hiking !
“Orange” trial is challenging but fun to hike.

Loved the rolling hills and dense forest. Nice unpaved trails for hiking and well marked. Loved the views of the lake from bluffs above. Close to Iowa City. Will definitely come back when in town next.

Nice trail, but like others have said, terrible trail culture. I think my experience would have been much better had I gone a weekday rather than an overcrowded weekend. Regardless, nice park and enjoyable hike.

A good trail for family. Trails consist of boardwalk and well blazed sand paths good for minimizing lower body impact.

Nice pet friendly trail. Plenty of tree cover most of the way. Can be a busy trail.

6 months ago

Best of Illinois landscape. Worst of Illinois people.

We hiked this small trail network for about 5 hours, there are so many nooks you can find that are simply awesome. I haven't found anywhere in Illinois that compares to the natural beauty. I strongly recommend spending time in some of the less frequently traveled areas, you can actually enjoy these and they are every bit as beautiful as the main drag.

The negative, and what held this back from a 5* review... the disrespectful trashy people. I have hiked all over this country, and never once seen a park so littered with trash, cigarette butts, and broken (!) glass. Shards of broken glass everywhere along the heavily traveled areas. My daughter and I counted over 30+ plastic bottles thrown by the wayside before we simply gave up. We saw 8+ dirty diapers people just threw on the trail presumably after changing their child. Crushed beer cans everywhere. Discarded random shirts, socks, shoes, flip flops, misc clothing. The place was disgusting in areas. People were walking around playing music, smoking, swearing, acting like fools. I have a 5 and 10 year old and wouldn't bring them back down the main canyon that was home to most of the foot traffic and trash (people). Very very sad. This could have been amazing, but apparently Illinois residents do not care much about their natural parks.

Lastly, wear shoes with decent soles, not flip flops, and be careful of thin water shoes. You will step on broken glass if you go down the trafficked canyon. If you don't have decent shoes the shards could go through your sole into your foot.

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