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Illinois Hiking Trails

This site is designed to provide quick access to informative Illinois hiking websites. Hiking enthusiasts like you have created excellent web pages on Illinois hiking trails -- then posted those pages on free web servers -- only to be ignored by search engines. The purpose of this site is to provide a way to find these personal hiking pages, and make your research easier.

  • American Discovery Trail Illinois page. Excellent site offering maps, detailed trail descriptions.


  • Beaver Trail at Rim Rock Rim Rock is on the Hardin/Gallatin County line, just west of Pounds Hollow, about 9 miles east of the Garden of the Gods. Nice description by Bill Rectenwald. NOTE: We've de-activated this link -- temporarily -- but we've left this here because we're trying to keep track of this site. Normally we just delete these completely, but this is a good one. We'll reactivate it when we find out where it has landed.


  • Cache River Natural Area Located south of Vienna in Johnson County is the Cache River State Natural Area. Cypress trees up to 1000 years old and Water Tupelo trees dominate the marshy areas along the Cache River; bird life and plant life also in abundance. Excellent website with trail descriptions, photos, etc. by Chad Walter.


  • DuPage County Forest Preserves Web page provides links to hiking trail info for Blackwell, Churchill Woods, Danada, Fullersburg Woods, Greene Valley, Hawk Hollow, Herrick Lake, McDowell Grove, Pratt's Wayne Woods, West Loop Trail, Pratt's Wayne Woods, East Loop Trail, Salt Creek, Spring Creek Reservoir, the spectacular Waterfall Glen, West Branch/Klein Road Trail, West DuPage Forest Preserve, Circle Trail, Elsen's Hill Circle Trail and others. This page gives basic trail details, and the links to the specific preserves and trails provide directions and complete information. Now, not all of these hiking trails are super tremendous, but if you live in DuPage County, I would think this would be a great place to start a "trailbagging" list. On the DuPage County Forest Preserves website.


  • Garden of the Gods/Shawnee National Forest Southern Illinois wilderness area features all sorts of weird and wonderful rock formations; a must-see if you're in the area. This webpage on BackpackCamp.com features an extensive description of the Observation Trail and Indian Point Trail, as well as some way-cool photos.


  • General Statewide trail directory with many downloadable maps, and a few detailed trail narratives. Includes Palos & Sag Valley Trails, Calumet Forest Reserve Trails, Tinley Creek Trail, Busse Lake Trails. Excellent site provided by trailmonkey.com.


  • General GORP introductory page for hiking in Illinois. Not as comprehensive as most GORP pages.


  • General -- Illinois Hiking Society alright, this is an Illinois Hiking Society, but we're not sure it's the one we had before. Trying to figure it all out...stay tuned...meantime click this one. Good people.


  • General Statewide guide to hiking by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Possibly the best state-maintained hiker's website in existence.


  • General — Hunting/Fishing oriented site for the outdoorsman, this site is actually a "magazine-on-the-web" or webzine. We don't normally list "hunting sites" -- not because we're anti-hunting -- just because they usually have a different slant than what the hiker is after. This one happens to have a lot of valuable info on Southern Illinois, so we list it here. We're also hoping for some fresh pheasant. Seriously, it's a great site, called "Wags and Snags." Mike Quirin is the publisher.


  • Grand Illinois Trail The "GIT" is a 500 mile loop trail in Northern Illinois that runs from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi and back. Site has maps, hike suggestions, all sorts of info. Good resource.

  • Illinois Prairie Path The IPP is located about 20 miles west of Chicago, Illinois, in Cook, DuPage and Kane Counties.


  • Lusk Creek rock formations, wildlife, etc.; this page on BackpackCamp.com describes a 5 mile section of the River to River Trail. Numerous photos and good directions & info.


  • Matthiessen State Park Located in central LaSalle County, approximately four miles south of Utica and three miles east of Oglesby, Matthiessen is ideal for those interested in geology and hiking opportunities. Visitors can expect to see beautiful rock formations in addition to unusual and abundant vegetation and wildlife. [And I want to go!] Web site by Illinois Department of Natural Resources.


  • One Horse Gap unique glacially carved rock formations near Herod. Page on BackpackCamp.com describes the One Horse Gap Loop Trail and a 3 mile slice of the River to River Trail. Good description, directions & photos.


  • Red Cedar Trail on the backpacker.com website. Trail description by “John.”


  • River to River Trail intro, description & directions from the Outside Magazine website.


  • River to River Trail RTR Society homepage.


  • Shawnee National Forest US Forest Service Site with downloadable maps, trail news.


  • Shawnee National Forest Hiking Guide in .pdf format provided by the Forest Service.


  • Shawnee National Forest Trail Guide with well-written descriptions, maps, directions, photos. By Chad Walter. Excellent Site.


  • Shawnee National Forest -- see also, Garden of the Gods, above.


  • Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve -- Kettle Hole Trail short description with a number of good photos will give you an overview of this short (.9 mile) trail. On the Natural Born Hikers website.


We're putting the BAND back together...

As a hiker, you know that Illinois is much more than just Chicagoland. (I'm always puzzled why they actually brag about their traffic jams). What other northern state has a cypress grove and natural bridges and canyons, and glacial formations, and great bratwurst? If you want help with the trails, Walter & George Zyznieuski's Illinois Hiking and Backpacking Trails is close to 400 pages and recognized as the authority, and this link will enable you to pick up a copy on Amazon -- you can even buy used and save a couple of bucks.

Now, if you recognized the above line as being Joliet Jake's emphatic statement from The Blues Brothers, give yourself two slackpacker trivia points. As for the bratwurst, I suggest you visit the Berghoff.

-- Rick Bolger

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Want to add YOUR Illinois hiking page? It's free, it's easy, and there are no strings attached. Please click the "Submit a Site" button, above left, for instructions and complete information.

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