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



dogs on leash

kid friendly



trail running

nature trips



wild flowers



mountain biking

road biking


cross country skiing

wheelchair friendly

horseback riding



no dogs

dog friendly

paddle sports




historic site

scenic driving


rails trails

city walk

rock climbing

Illinois Map

Went for a quick hike with my dog, and it was muddy, but gorgeous. This trail is a little hidden gem, and was quite enjoyable. Took about 50 minutes to hike the entire thing. Trails are very clearly marked and well maintained. Great view of a lot of waterfowl.

This trail offers so many options & side trails you’ll never get bored. Cool gullys & creeks.

trail running
1 day ago

I have ran this trail twice. What’s nice is Salt Lick trail hooks up on the way back. Has some pretty cool views from the bluffs! Closest trails worth running for me.

This is one of my many favorite trails. I have walked it in all seasons and there is always something breathtaking about the scenery, even in the winter. When the leaves have fallen, I see more of the bluffs. I walked it today and things are budding and there are no flying bugs or spider webs in my face because it's so early in the year. I look forward to seeing it again all blossomed out.

Very well kept, moderate hills to get your heart pumping along with great lookouts!

3 days ago

A very nice hike after the first 1.5 . It was pretty muddy on the trail back but still liked the hike and the features.

I would not waste my time to go back here. The access roads were terrible. My group actually started to call this trail, disappointment point. It's possible that we somehow missed the great viewing spot that others found, but all we saw was a trail littered with beer cans and a view of the bottom land through a ton of brush. We were clearly standing on the highest point in the area. When you get on Pine Hills road you will quickly come up upon a trail head that is not named Inspiration Point, so this confused us and we moved on up the road. The next trail head was named Inspiration Point. The two trail heads are the same trail, but different names on either end, so if you park at the bottom, you are not at the wrong location.

After viewing some gps photos it appears that there is a beaten path from the high point that goes down the bluff slightly and opens up more for a clearer view, but it just looked like random path to us. One would think the best view would be from the sign on the high point, labeling the area as Inspiration Point.

It sure doesn't feel like 0.3 miles. It feels like 0.1. This would be a great place to go hang out and have lunch. It's more of an exploration area than a hike. The area is amazing. I recommend taking the left trail at the split. You will see the bridge in no time and it looks impressive from this angle.

4 days ago

My group camped here for the night. The area is amazing. We took the right path from the top of the falls and camped on the top of the bluff. There is plenty of flat area up here to camp. We arrived too late in the day to be able to find a way down to the floor to really see the falls. The trail on the right side was very easy to follow and well marked. We hiked the entire right side on top of the bluff back to the tracks and never saw a place remotely easy to get down to the floor. The next time I will go left at the top of the falls and try to find the descent that others have found. We went on a very wet weekend, it even rained all night while we were camping, and Glen St Falls Road was accessible with a Chevy Cruze. You will get your car dirty. Just go slow and watch for the pot holes and you will be fine. There is one small hill, but the road is actually blacktop under this section so that was nice. There will be a few spots that are muddy, but not like a mud bog at the county fair. A higher clearance vehicle would do better no doubt, but I would take my car again in a heartbeat. Some have claimed that the trail head is hard to find, but just keep going on the road until you come to the low water crossing. There is a parking lot for about 10 cars, a bathroom, and signs. Not hard to find at all. Honestly, Ozark road coming from the East was a worse road than the trail head road. It went from a paved road gravel out of nowhere and it is filled with pot holes. Ozark from the west was paved. Every car in the parking lot was a 2 wheel drive car (2 prius'). You can make it. Have fun!

The trail was very easy to follow and the entire left wing was paved stone. After a weekend in the Shawnee, I would rank this area 3rd after Garden of the Gods and Little Grand Canyon. If you go to the Garden of the Gods, you must go down the road to this area. The area is covered with moss covered rocks and then you descend down the bluff cutting through wedges in the large rocks. We went on a wet weekend and the water was trickling from everywhere. Once down near the creek the trail splits. We thought that this was the junction of the middle and right side loop, but this is actually the right side loop and the trail that goes up to the lake and back. If you go up the lake trail about 1/4 mile you will find a small waterfall. The site map indicates that most people hike up to this waterfall and back out. From the trail head, the left and middle trails will both take you to the top of the stairs on the bluff, the right trail will take you to the bottom of the bluff.

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.

Great views of the Mississippi and Illinois river confluence as well as a large oxbow lake left behind by the meandering rivers. Trails are wide, generally well maintained and marked very well.

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.

This hike blew me away. The ruins, the fields of wildflowers, the steep elevation changes, the incredible overlooks. Wow.

This is my "go-to" trail as its only 30 minutes from my door, but also because it is a gorgeous place, especially in summer and fall with the prairie flowers blooming and trees changing. Nice elevation changes compared to other trails in the area. There is a one mile loop that I love to start on start on from the parking lot on the right which links up to more loops in the other direction. There is so much variety in how you can hike through the loops. I never get tired of the trails here.

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

7 days ago

The Panther Den Loop was a great hike and the weather was perfect. The markings are not easily found. I only got turned around 4 of 5 times. The only negative was the trail markings but the scenery and walk was spectacular. If its been raining the days before you go there are several water crossing you'll have to traverse .

7 days ago

This little trail is a hidden gem. Growing up in the area i had never took the time to walk this trail until here mid-March. I was happily surprised by its small water falls and bluff views.

Longboarding is great!! Watch for small pebbles and sticks. Come here all the time, some bikers think they own the path though so beware of the path queens . . . .

Beaver falls is taller than me, that's pretty big in my book

This is a really great trail. However listen to other reviewers and take the trail counter clockwise. I chose to take trail clockwise and spent excess time going up hills. I completed trail In 6 hours. I did stop at red cedar trail campground there are picnic tables, fire pits, and bathrooms. Brought quick snack to refuel for energy.

And completed the entire trail in 1 day (6 hours). If time was available I would have loved to spent the night at the campground. I will be back to try this trail again.

I saw several turkeys, squirrels, and birds. No snakes thank goodness.

Some trail tips take bug spray tick repellant. Bring extra water. Watch where you step on the rocks they are slippery. The trail for most part is well marked, there were a few points I had to look @ the map. The trail is marked with white diamond w a red circle. The trail does interloop with river to river trail and horse trail, just make sure to look for those white diamonds because they can be easy to miss if your looking at the beauty of the hike.

trail running
9 days ago

The scenery is cool but all pavement trails. More a race bike trail than anything else. I have enjoyed it.

9 days ago

Overall, a challenging (but rewarding) trail for this moderately-experienced hiker.

On arrival, enter the park from the south entrance on 1950 East Rd. The sign at the gate says something like "Authorized Vehicles Only: Staff and Deliveries Only" but go on in -- this is the direct route to the parking lot for overnight stays, the check-in office, and the trailhead.

The trail was generally well-blazed. There were a few points where I had to consults my AllTrails map on my phone to make sure I was going in the correct direction, but overall the trail was easy to follow. Make sure to do the trail clockwise, else the blazes will not be visible to you.

There are a number of creek crossings -- more than 20 -- and very few have any sort of improvement to assist. If you're on the fence about trekking poles, this should convince you to bring and use them. You'll need them for navigating the many crossings without getting wet and muddy.

Several of the improvements that have been made along the trail were in disrepair and unusable. On the otherhand, there was one brand new bridge, so obviously they are at least trying to keep the trail usable.

The campsites along the trail (about a dozen individual sites in two locations) were primitive, but did feature an outhouse, trashcans and picnic tables. Most had rock-ringed fire pits.

One of the nice things about this trail is that it goes through a variety of landscapes -- wooded, creekside, meadowland forest, wetland, and prairie. There are some serious climbs and descents, but nothing impossible. One descent was rope-assisted, and one climb up from the creek required pulling myself up about 8 feet by tree roots, but those were the exceptions.

9 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!

9 days ago

The trail is very short so it's nice to go and let the kids explore and play at their own pace. The bridge is very cool, my kids enjoyed playing in the creek.

10 days ago

Appears primarily used for mountain biking but trails are in great condition and very well kept. Elevation is gradual and easy. really enjoyed this hike.

10 days ago

this is a nice, easy little Trail. it's right off I mean Road, so there is Street traffic, and you don't really feel like you're in the middle of nowhere. even so, I was barely 20 feet into the trail, and I was greeted by a cute little deer just standing on the trail watching me and my dog, and the birds are chirping. It's nice little getaway.

road biking
10 days ago

Accessible from the Des Plaines River Trail, Independence Grove is a marvelous year round destination. It has all you could ask for. Great paved and unpaved trails, fishing, boating, beach and food stand. I’ve even been to weddings here. Bike here from the trail, relax while you’re here, and continue on your way. A treasure not to be missed.

Nice hike. Steep and rocky in places.

This is a nice unpaved short trail that takes you into the woods. We saw deer and tracks which the kids enjoyed.

Load More