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Best trail that we have hiked in the Shawnee. It was challenging at times and the views were rewarding!

backpacking
2 days ago

Good trail, saw some deer on the way up. Nice workout.

This is a great place to stop and explore. As others said, the trail itself is very short, but this place is more about exploring. We did a ton of climbing. Without climbing there are still plenty of beautiful vantage points. There was a good bit of trash that could be picked up as you walk across the decks they have built near the swirl rocks. Garden of the Gods and Little Grand Canyon are tied for the best places to visit from our weekend.

We spent the weekend in the Shawnee and this was one of the most beautiful trails we hiked. Beware that if you are hiking the full loop, you will have to go up and down a crevasse that could has some steep steps and could be wet. We enjoyed the fact that this trail was not just a half paved path through the woods. You were really rewarded by going the extra mile to get into the woods. We started at the left trail head, hiked up to the lookout point, then ventured down into the bottoms. The decent down was one of the coolest things I've ever seen. We got lucky and went after a very wet week, including rain the night before. The forest was alive with trickling water from every direction. The path up and down the bluff follows a small stream that caused no issue. We took our time, taking pictures and a few breaks, and it ended up taking us about 2 hours to complete the trail.

Hiked the trail Wednesday(2days ago) and the weather was perfect, with sunshine and a breeze. The trail was muddy in places in the lowland so you had to pick and choose a path to get around, but not too bad. The trail on the creek bed was not bad at all. It was pretty easy to step around the water. I was pleased to find there was very little litter along the trail. If a few of us that care would pick up after those don’t and use the large trash containers in the parking lot it would look even better. Remember to leave the area a little cleaner than you found it

Great hike for anyone looking for a workout. One of my first real hiking experiences, challenged me to where I really felt as though I had achieved a milestone. Finished in an hour and 50 minutes, with very few breaks and not much sight seeing although there were plenty of places to enjoy the Mississippi River. Highly enjoyed this trail but wouldn’t recommend it to the beginner.

11 days ago

Best trail I've hiked! It's hard to describe all of the amazing surroundings. We were just going to go to one of the lookouts but I was a little let down because there wasn't much to see. We decided to keep going and I'm so glad we did, some parts of the trail are definitely rugged so be prepared to walk through a few creeks. My 14 year old and 8 year old thought it was so cool, though my 8 year old was tiring out that last half mile! We took our time to take pictures and let the kids play around in the water and it took us a little over 3 hours. A little difficult but worth it!

Great day hike. Wild flowers were in bloom. Some technical aspects to the trail as you descend/climb out of the canyon, but nothing too much. Trail was being enjoyed by all ages.

This is the Parnell tower trail and only about a 3 mile trail

walking
21 days ago

This is a great short trail. We took about an hour to enjoy all of the side trails to the overlooks and to read all of the interpretive panels with our 4 sons. There are clean outhouses and trash bins at the trailhead. Just up the hill is a nice picnic area and primitive campground.

Indian Point Trail is just down the road for a slightly longer, family-friendly hike.

This area is beautiful, but respect for the potential danger is a must.

Easy to follow trail with beautiful views of garden of gods.

Great short hike. Rained on Saturday, hiked on Sunday. Took aground 3 hrs.
Water running in canyons so ware water proof boots. Awesome rock formations, able to see everything because no leave cover or bugs.

Beautiful, surreal landscape! Excellent for photography

Gorgeous views! Kids didn’t want to leave!

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

The trail is short, but beautiful. There are benches along the trail to sit and enjoy the view. I went in March. The view in summer or fall would be even better.

hiking
1 month ago

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
1 month 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.

Large parking lot - easy trails for the family

hiking
1 month ago

Fun/challenging hike for northern Illinois standards. Turned it into about a 5 mile trek by following a few rabbit trails. Backs up to a ski hill so there's some incline. If you live in northern Illinois and are looking for a spot to train for more strenuous hikes elsewhere this is a good spot for it

This Trail Is small VERY SMALL! but worth the stop it is listed in the Smothsonia as the top 50 in the USA! On Smithsonia.Com and top for Illinois very Beautiful place. if you trail it it dont take long but in my case it lasted for almost 9 hours .Put me in a Wilderness and I'll stay as long as possible and cry when I have to leave. There are a few folks walking around but I seem to be able to figure out where to go to get away from them plus I went in the middle of the week so that helps. beautiful place I was there in Oct 2017 for the fall colors PERFECT!!!!!!!!

Definitely harder than I anticipated!

hiking
1 month ago

You can hear the traffic from the road 3/4 of the trail .. also it’s a very small space and you’re just walking in circles

hiking
1 month ago

Unmarked trails but if you stick to the outside you will be fine on the loop. Recommend going to the top of the “mountain” great views!
Brought my pup and ran into a few other people with dogs. Very friendly.

hiking
2 months ago

I take my dog jogging through here occasionally, nice view at the top.

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.

Went for winter hike here last week...it was a great day to be outside and recommend this trail.

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.

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.

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