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Illinois Map

Very short hike. Cool rock formations that are easy to get to. I'd probably give this trail an easy rating vs. moderate. All trails are gravel so kind of hard on your feet.

Amazing trail. It is difficult, but definitely worth it.

4 days ago

This park and it's trails have always been a favorite of mine since the late '70's. The view at the top of the ridge is beautiful looking over both the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. Unfortunately, I'm disappointed that the trails have not been kept up from the much erosion over the years, so there are deep ruts and the trail can be muddy and slippery after rain. Despite the eroding trails, I will continue to return for the wooded beauty and scenic views. In the meantime, hopefully, the State of Illinois will address their much deteriorated situations and keep their parks open.

Don't underestimate it. Starts off easy, then gets much more difficult. We picked a good day for this trail, but it would have been a lot harder if it was rainy or icy.

trail running
6 days ago

Great challenge!! It was a little difficult to follow the white diamonds to reach the other side once you got down into the canyon, but other than that it was a wonderful workout and a lovely hike.

Nice park. Great signage all of the trails are labeled. There are different trails you can do and numerous scenic look out points. Also a scenic drive if you want to go back to the top to take some photos or watch the sun set.

The trail was in great shape. Markings are very easy to see and there are plenty of them. If you are doing the full loop you want to take Dogwood (it splits, left is neat), then it turns into Ridge, then Hickory, then Hickory North, then be sure to peel off left to Fern Hollow, cross the road and continue. Then Hickory South. The last mile marker you will see is 5miles. Roughly 5.5 mile loop.

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!

Definitely harder than I anticipated!

Great short trail whole loop was 3 miles which is a little short. Had some great view points. Hardest part is the incline in the first miles. I decided to do the Johnson trail and then when it connected to the Salt Lick Trail I did that again backwards. I recommend it for anyone looking for something different than the flat trails in the area. I would say it’s more moderate than hard. I wish you could go in the mines that would be fun!

Marked well and well maintained. Great views at the top.

Went this past Saturday when the temps were in the mid 20’s and had the whole place to myself practically - only saw 5 other people all day - if i went again i would hike the other paths counterclockwise to avoid the hills

Time it to catch the sunset over looking the Mississippi River

Was a great hike, this year was the first time I hiked it during winter. Personally I enjoyed this trail better during this time period. The frozen waterfalls off the bluffs, and being able to see more exposed rock face. You just don’t get that when the leaves are on in the warmer months just made it for me. Highly recommend.

Very challenging initial climb but very nice views from the top.

I'm hesitant to write a review, as the trail is getting trashed from over-use, but this really was an excellent hike. I took my 5 year old daughter and she loved it. It was the first trail she's hiked without being carried once, and we completed the whole 3 mile loop in 4 hours. (That should give you a good measure of the difficulty). Right now the trail has a lot of icy spots, so I would recommend bringing a walking stick or trekking poles to help with balance on the canyon descent and ascent. Please practice good trail ethics. Pick up after your dog, don't leave trash, don't pee in the middle of the trail and leave your toilet paper marking where you peed, and be mindful of the effect your boots are having on the trail when wet. Leave no trace.

At times as you proceed down the trail in the wet, rocky canyon, it is so steep that it looks impossible. However, the next step and handhold seem to appear at the last moment. I wouldn’t want to do the trail if it was raining.

Beautiful scenic trail.

It was a great trail a little hard because of the ice in the way of where you had to climb. I would definitely take a hiking buddy with me.

2 months ago

Kind of a tough choice as I've been on the couch for the bitter cold streak; but doable and breathtaking vistas.

The snow and ice were melting making the trail very soggy today but it's a lovely hike.

2 months ago

Muddy conditions made the trail more challenging than it should have been. The route shown is part of the Salt Lick Point Trail and the Johnson Trail. Add the Newman Trail (out & back) for some extra fun. Maps are available at the trailhead.

I love this park it keeps me coming back every year great place to hike I know the trails by heart now I've been there so many times for me just a great place to be it's got some pretty nice of views if I could give anybody advice when you're there I would say go down the yellow Trail so you can play on all the rocks and all the cliff sides as you go back down to the parkinglot.

2 months ago

The scenery is not great probably because of the season - there are barely trees with leaves on. The trail is not hard. It took us 40-50 minutes to finish it. There wasn’t much to see except for some frozen waterfalls. I think it’d be better to go when it gets warmer.

3 months ago

Grew up hiking these bluffs! Great trail!!!

3 months ago

The reason it’s rated Hard is because of the initial ascent up 452 feet. But once you get up to the top it’s a meandering trail with beautiful vistas overlooking the Mississippi River Valley.

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.

Properly named trail as it was an amazing view at the top. Being able to see the swamp below and watch the train go by in the far distance and knowing how far that span was gives you perspective. I drove 5.5 hrs from Davenport Iowa to do this hike and photo snake road. Can’t imagine being on snake road during the peak of the migration.

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