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

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hiking
11 days ago

Waterfall was in full swing when we went, but VERY slippery. Be safe!

Easy trial. Beautiful year round, but especially if you can go after a rain and see the waterfall.

hiking
17 days ago

No waterfall at all when we went, not even a trickle, so be sure to check before going. We tried to hike the trail but it was too difficult to climb over the rocks and fallen trees with our 2 older dogs. One actually slipped over the side while jumping over a crevice. Luckily his harness held him until we could pull him up. We had to turn around. Very disappointing.

this is a beautiful fall. very easy to access.

trail running
18 days ago

Loved it!! Saw a turtle!!

Amazing views once you get to the top! There were wild flowers along the trail while we were there!

Beautiful rock formations. Want to return in the spring when the water fall is running

26 days ago

I had a wonderful time.

kids loved this natural wonder. watch for yellow jackets but otherwise a great time.

hiking
28 days ago

Great trail. I suggest going down into the canyon while looping. Adds stairs but you can see some great cliffs and waterfalls!

had a blast it was a must see on my River to River thru hike. glad I did

The perfect escape from the city! It was 90° today but we could take refuge in the abundant shade and water so it worked well! I recommend coming out on a weekday to avoid the traffic. We will be back for sure!

There's a very good chance that the creek won't be running, as it only flows after a period of prolonged rain. However, I walk the trail on a pretty regular basis, and find it to be a pretty charming walk through a really beautiful forest regardless. One definite perk is that throughout the hike you can see cliffs rising through the trees on either side of the trail; these cliffs become more prominent as the gorge narrows. When the water is flowing, there is a really unique waterfall that tumbles into a deep cleft in the cliff to the right of the trail.

Nice trail but would of like to see some of the waterfalls, must be much better in early spring. Got to see deer and lots of mushrooms, lol. Would of liked to of gotten rid of the horsefly that decided to travel with me for the entire length of the trail and all the way back to the car.

Lots of bang for your buck on this hike: two nice-sized and very different waterfalls, unique rock formations, and a really scenic section hugging cliffs above a creek.

Mattheisen State Park is less well-known than it’s nearby counterpart, Starved Rock, so there is usually less of a crowd. While the trails are not as well marked, the Lake Falls Dam Waterfall is breathtaking and can be seen from the bridge at the top and down below at the base. This is one of my favorite areas to hike. Definitely a must see if you are in the area.

The trail was very easy with a moderately trafficked gravel pathway. We went in the afternoon as that morning there was heavy rainfall. We noted that the creek leading up to the waterfall was dried up and once at the waterfall found that it was dried up as well. There is a split path that allows you to climb to the top of the waterfall to explore the rocky area. There were fellow hikers at the waterfall when we arrived and we were informed that the waterfall only runs in the spring time despite recent rains. We did bring both of our Siberian huskies and found it was easy to navigate.

Awesome trail! Going back soon to explore more of the park. Beautiful views, beautiful waterfalls and an excellent place to explore. Can't wait to go back!

hiking
1 month ago

The trail itself is a little bit boring and nowhere near hard. I know the trail is rated as hard, but it is easy to moderate at its best. I would have given it 5 stars if there would have been water in the river. It was very dry so it wasn’t so beautiful. 3 stars isn’t really what I wanted either, but it won’t allow me to do 3,5. If you are afraid of spiders, now is not the time to hike this trail as there are spiderwebs all over the place. I almost turned around after constantly getting webs in my face. I eventually walked with a stick to destroy all the webs. I went off trail at one point to walk along the dry riverbed and to do some rock climbing. That made it much more exiting. I combined this trail with the natural bridge and the white trail. 5 miles in total.

What a great app indispensable out in the Shawnee. Simply pick a trail and it links up with googl to get you there!

Arrive early (by 10am?) on weekends so you can park at the main parking lot. We had to park in the overflow area and it was an extra mile hike across a sunny field to get to the Dells area.

The Dells were beautiful!

hiking
2 months ago

Most of the trail was blocked by fallen trees. Trail is not well marked. Pretty much just got to see the rock formations from the trailhead.

2 months ago

beautiful trail

Fun trail but has little in the way of signs. We took a wrong turn and ended up on another trail. The whole area was beautiful!

This park is amazing with caves you can walk through and waterfalls galore! We did seem to go on a trail that led to a equestrian trail and not the loop, but there are signs that say which way to stay on the hiking trail loop. Overall great experience, even though it absolutely down poured during our visit.

Trail is closed -

hiking
3 months ago

My Wife and I hiked this a few days ago. Very beautiful scenery and for the most part a well maintained trail. Disclaimer to those afraid of getting off the beaten path: there were a few areas where trees had fallen across the trail, one that required you to walk about 30 yards through thick woods to get around. That wasn’t an issue for us as we hunt and are used to that but for those that may not be crazy about it, that is a possibility. That being said, they could’ve fell the night before and no one had a chance to clear them. All in all very beautiful we would definitely hike it again. FYI our GPS said it was 3.3 mi. This rates it at I believe 2.2 and their website says 1.7.

hiking
3 months ago

I enjoyed hiking this trail it offered some challenges due to the slippery rocks and stream crossings. It started out easy enough until you come to the first stream crossing and the rocks. It was somewhat a task to get back up to the trail. Good traction shoes are a must here. The trail than get obscured a little after the stream crossing and one can find themselves gone astray from the trail, that happened to me. I found the trail again and the rest of the hike was no issue.

hiking
3 months ago

Nice trail. It's marked easy. I'd say it's on the high side of easy but we're in our 60's so :). Several rock crossings some of which are probably water covered at times. Some stairs. Very nice though - quiet and peaceful.

hiking
3 months ago

PLEASE BE CAREFUL HERE. Witnessed a woman fall off the edge because she got too close and slipped. She did not survive her injuries. ALWAYS stay away from wet/slick rocks, wear shoes with good traction and give yourself a few feet from the edge to ensure your safety. VERY DANGEROUS - there are no guard rails, signs or anything to warn of the dangers here.

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