Most people when they think of backpacking, and or hiking, Central Illinois is the last place they look. However, Centeral Illinois can have quite a bit to offer the Hiker.
Growing up in Illinois, it has always been a struggle to find really cool hiking trails or getaways the encompass both the physical and mental challanges of the backcountry. However, on the Illinois River, there is a place that offers both scenic views, waterfalls, canyons, and a little white water rafting on the Vermillion. (You may even see a Bald Eagle which habbitat on the River)
Starved Rock State Park, in Central North Illinois offers a little bit of everything for the weekend hiker. A great place to train, and break in those new hiking boots. Starved Rock is located at the Intersection of Highway 39 and Highway 80. (You can’t miss the sighns)
Starved Rock State Park derives its name from a Native American legend of injustice and retribution. Exploring the majestic bluffs and canyons is the park’s primary attraction, and there are 13 miles of well-marked trails to help you enjoy them. When you have done your 13 miles. You can drive a mile away to Matthiessen State Park, or better yet, canoe in.
The Vermillion River runs North to the Illinois River and offers some Category III rapids when the river is high. I have done this section before and it was very cool. Make sure you call first to get reservations.
Enjoy Starved Rock State Park.