No matter where you go in greater Springfield, area trails can enhance your outdoor experience and leave you appreciating the natural splendors of Central Illinois. The possibilities will surprise even the most jaded hiker.
For example, Griswold Conservation Area, near Blue Mound, presents a vista of fields, farms, forests and towns stretching to the horizon. In town, several converted railroad grades have been turned into trails and make for quick destinations. Large state wildlife preserves are trail-laced hiking havens.
Explore Lincoln history at New Salem, as well as rocky woods. Other state parks, such as Weldon Springs State Recreation Area also offer a mix of human and natural history on the Lakeside Nature Trail and the Schoolhouse Trail,. The Hickory Lane Trail is a wooded escape at Sangchris Lakes State Park. The nearby city of Decatur has a hike at historic Fairview Park under huge trees.
Rock Creek Conservation Area is a local gem. The Lookout Trail explores a preserved homestead, along with genuine Illinois prairie. The River Trail is a personal favorite of mine. It roams prairies, passes by huge old growth trees, then travels along dark and mysterious bottoms of the Sangamon River. It even has some history too, passing an old spring bottling plant and mill site. Down south, the Lincoln Prairie Trail is a shining example of a rail trail that makes the most of its setting.
So, make a little time in your busy schedule, lace up your boots and try one of my top five hikes in greater Springfield:
The beauty of the Long Point Trail is that it combines the ease of a walk in the park with a view as if you just climbed a mountain. The view of the New River Gorge Bridge is worth the 3.2-mile out-and-back hike through the forest. Download the hike below and start your adventure today.
What happens when you link a National Scenic Trail and an Estuary of National Significance? You create a gateway to hiking adventure.
Chittenden Park, a Guilford town park situated on the shore of the Long Island Sound, is the official terminus or “gateway” to the New England Trail (NET). If you visit, you’ll notice that the shoreline at Chittenden offers a totally different atmosphere from what visitors experience at other, more-developed beaches on the sound. And this makes the park a special place to begin or end a journey on the NET.
Happy 123rd Birthday, Yosemite National Park! We would have liked to celebrate your big day by touring your Giant Sequoia groves, impressive waterfalls, and magestic rock formations, but, unfortunately, due to the government shutdown of 2013, effective October 1st your park doors are closed. We're sorry you have to celebrate your birthday alone.
With only a month until the first snowstorms could hit, Boulder, Colo., residents are making a mad scramble get things back to normal after the one thousand year flood that ravaged the area two weeks ago. “Back to normal” is the ideal; “simply functioning” may be a more accurate phrase. Miles of roadways have been washed away or corroded so much they are undrivable. Power outages left many in the dark for days on end, spoiling food, stopping well pumps, and essentially halting everyday life. And that’s just what the lucky ones have had to endure. The less fortunate don’t have homes to return to, and much of the population has been displaced for the unforeseeable future.
FalconGuides’ own senior acquisitions editor, Clyde Soles—a Boulder resident—reports on the sights and sounds from deep within the disaster area:
The plan is to link Kings Creek Falls with Summit Lake, tying in a side trip to Corral Meadow. Three hikes in one, all with the goal of wrapping up my second edition to Hiking Lassen Volcanic National Park. It begins well, with a pleasant descent to the falls. On the way over the ridge that separates Kings Creek from the no-name creek to the north, I encounter a young couple. We exchange greetings and destinations. They alert me: They encountered a mama bear and her cub down by the little streams feeding Kings Creek, “way, way down.”