Explore the most popular trails near Bluffside with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Bluffside, Illinois Map
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This nature preserve had some pretty scenery, but even coated with bug spray head-to-toe and with multiple reapplications, I ended up with 48 mosquitos bites (but who’s counting?!). Seriously—it’s a very buggy, swampy hike. There was a constant buzzing / whirring sound in the distance—maybe farm equipment? We also heard numerous gunshots nearby. There were some trail markers, but without a phone/gps, we would have been pretty lost; even with it, we veered off course onto private property numerous times. Also note that Apple Maps directed us way off course and into the swamp (the AllTrails map to the trailhead is correct, however, so use that one!). This was probably my least favorite hike in the STL area.

I'll start with the positive...

Okay, now I'll share some of the disappointing aspects. This was a boring meander through an overgrown prairie. They call it Stemler Cave Woods, but there is no cave on the premises and no Stemlers. There was just woods...and for about half the trail, it wasn't even woods as much as large bushes. It felt like we were walking a random path someone mowed through the median of an interstate. Don't waste the time driving here if you aren't local. This is mislabeled at best.

Nice clear trails. Some wooded and shady, some grassy and sunny. Well kept. Saw toads, wildflowers, deer trails, and plenty of butterflies. Easy/moderate terrain. Little muddy at the start due to rains last night. One fallen tree about .6 miles in, but we climbed over.

overgrown and trails are not well marked, picked up a few ticks as well. almost stepped on a snake, not sure if it was cotton mouth or rat snake... saw the tail, matches them both

sink holes,amphibian pond, class A forest. ..go

walking
Sunday, October 08, 2017

Great trails, with a low level of traffic.
Easy to walk and talk. Going back in the swing of Fall.

hiking
Friday, August 11, 2017

It was alright. Easy to stay on the main loop.

hiking
Sunday, August 06, 2017

I've been there a few times because it's local. It's kinda cool to see some of the sink hole areas. Some of them are big enough to get into, and would be cool to explore. But I wouldn't suggest getting too close. Expecially not alone. Stay on the path and you're fine.

hiking
Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Hard to find from the road, we almost passed it. Trails are over grown and unmarked. Also, lots of spiders had webs across the trail due to the lack of walking traffic, so I felt super guilty knocking them down just to be able to walk through.

Easy hike. It was 95° out when I went, so I didn't venture on all the trails. Trails were well kept, and flat. Not tons to look at, but in the woods. Would be great for children. Going to go back with my 5 year old.

trail running
Sunday, June 04, 2017

Empty parking lot on a Sunday afternoon. Trail seemed like it gets very little use and was overgrown in sections. Very little elevation change, nice for running when dry.

hiking
Saturday, May 27, 2017

My wife and I have gone twice in the last month. Lots of great photos of birds, frogs and some insects. Nothing too exhausting, and plenty of shade to take a break when the hotter months roll around. Lots of side trails from the main loop to keep you occupied, and give some variation to repeat visits. Could not find the cave... ran into another group that had the same problem with their visit. Overall it makes for a very enjoyable afternoon!

hiking
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Easy hike - not a whole lot to see - trails are not marked very well and a lot of areas were over grown so it doesn't appear this area gets a lot of activity - it also needs a sign near the road as I almost drove right past the small lot

This trail os n easy beginner trail. Easy to navigate pathways.

walking
Saturday, April 08, 2017

I enjoy this trail. It isn't the largest area or longest trail, but it is a beautiful escape into the woods. They recently did controlled burns which opened up the undergrowth a bit and made the trail even nicer.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pretty nice hike showing different habitats but had a misleading name since there wasn't a cave in the preserve.

A lovely walk in the woods

hiking
Sunday, November 27, 2016

Not a bad walk. Nice terrain, interesting geography. Kids enjoyed it.

hiking
Sunday, November 06, 2016

Uneventful, good for small kids.

nature trips
4 months ago

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