Explore Illinois Trails - 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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I absolutely love hiking here, but the people are absolute slobs. I’ve been going here since I was a kid and I brought my kids there yesterday and they were quite upset about the MASSIVE amount of garbage everywhere. They need to implement some serious litter prevention. Ban all disposable water bottles being the first, I’ve never seen so much trash at a park like this. It’s depressing.

on Round Bluff Trail

3 days ago

We did this trail yesterday and it's beautiful. Can't wait to see it in Spring and Fall.

As with the other trails in the area, the Hawk’s Cave Trail features some really impressive rock formations and massive cliffs. Fun place to explore. I would suggest hiking it clockwise from the trailhead, as this will save the cliffs for the latter half of the trail. The cliffs will seem really imposing when you approach them from this direction.

hiking
4 days ago

Path is well maintained around top loop, and is what you would expect from an easy walk in the woods. When you reach the staircase that takes you down to the ox-lot cave the landscape drastically changes. There are extraordinary rock formations, sheer cliffs, and exciting small caves. You could spend an hour in this area alone exploring all the rock formations. Overall the loop took us 1.5 hours with lots of exploring.

I was pleasantly surprised with Starved Rock. It is awesome that all of the trails connect and you can decide what paths to take and loop all over. The canyons were sweet and picturesque.
It was an absolute zoo when we finished at 11am. Totally nuts. Would recommend getting there as early as possible to avoid crowds. We got there at 8am.
Do go hike, it's the best the area has to offer.

Nice easy trail with great views and rock formations. Worth a look if in the area.

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.

I took my 4 year old in early spring. We loved it! Climbing down the creek bed is difficult so take your time. Beautiful views once you get down the the bottom. Overall nice trail to bring young children or fur babies.

Not surprising that this is a big draw for visitors, beautiful vistas for very little work! Fun scrambling on the rocks, good late afternoon cap on a day of more intense hiking.

Very cool hike, learned a thing or two from the signs too.

Did it twice, once in each direction! Not too buggy, rocks are (not surprisingly) slick in the shade but easy enough to keep your feet dry.

Museum is great, hike is nice but don't feel like you need to do it to see everything.

Beautiful area to explore. Definitely bigger than I was expecting! You’re welcome to climb on the rocks as much as you want which added for extra entertainment. Could’ve spent hours just sitting and taking in the view

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!

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
21 days 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.

Loved our mid-summer hike. Was steeper and more difficult than we expected but are definitely going back in the fall. It’s amazing that this beautiful area is tucked away here in the Midwest. Wear good hikers and bug spray for the valleys.

This is a short hike, but a must see at Ferne Clyffe. The shelter bluff is very impressive.

hiking
24 days ago

The trail is a great way to see the beautiful canyon! Some of the creek bed can be rather steep and slippery so be sure to wear the appropriate footwear. Once you descend into the canyon the mosquitoes do get a little bit bothersome so remember the bug spray.

Always a great trail.

Absolutely amazing views!

hiking
25 days ago

A gorgeous short loop that offers a decent challenge and some great views of the sandstone formations.

mountain biking
29 days ago

It’s really wide but there is still plenty of rocks and roots to have a good time on a mountain bike. There is lots of signage, however I wasn’t always sure which sign I needed to follow. Over all a great ride.

That place is so beautiful I loved

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

hiking
1 month ago

I have hiked this trail multiple times. I have also ran the trail. It is a really good work out and beautiful area.

Very flat hike. In and then back out on the same trail. Waterfall was not running as it is the dry season. But still an awesome easy trail. Benches near the falls for anyone who walks in and wants to relax and absorb nature without having to sit on rocks or the ground.

hiking
1 month ago

Small inclines to beautiful overhang. Nice little loop.

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