Hiking in Wisconsin’s Ahnapee State Trail

 

The Ahnapee State Trail takes you from Lake Michigan’s rocky shore to rolling farm fields and orchards.   Traversing 48 miles through Door and Kewwaunee Counties, the Ahnapee State Trail is a delightful combination of old and new….. a rejuvenated, newly surfaced rail bed leading to adventure along the Wisconsin “thumb.”  The Northern 18 miles of the trail follows the  winding  Ahnapee river from Algoma to Sturgeon Bay.  This is the original part of the trail that now excludes extensions into both cities.
Another new wrinkle added in 1997 was a 9 mile extension south and west from Algoma to Casco.  You can watch the Great Lakes freighters manuever the Sturgeon Bay ship canal, see the fishing boats slip through the early morning mist of the Algom breakwater or just enjoy the woods and wildflowers on the inland roll to Casco Junction.

S Neenah Ave – Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Information: 920-746-9959
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Nippersink Canoe Trail – McHenry, IL

With 23 miles of flowing waterway, Nippersink Creek is the largest tributary to the Fox River.

Nippersink Canoe Trail

 

Paddle through restored prairies and wetlands that offer plenty of sunshine and expansive vistas. Look down into the clear waters to catch glimpses of any one of 40+ species of fish that travel through; and watch and listen for birds of all kinds, especially Red-winged blackbirds who perch on the plant stalks near the banks, or swallows that skim over the water catching bugs. Great blue herons and white egrets are plentiful while kingfishers may be spied nearby. Grassland birds like bobolinks and dicksissels hide in the prairie but if you listen closely you may hear their bubbling and buzzing calls. Muskrats are common but Nippersink Creek is also home to beavers, as well as reports of river otters.

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Nippersink Creek is a wilderness getaway that provides excellent wildlife watching AND… It is never the same ride twice, so be sure to return often and in different seasons.

 

Nippersink Canoe Trail

 

 

 

Rollins Savana – Lake County, IL

Grasslands – The Secret to the Rescue

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On any given day, you will find numerous souls walking, running or biking the Rollins Savana trials in Grayslake, Illinois which also connects to the Millennium Trail to the North and South, enjoying the peaceful beauty of what a grassland habitat provides.

The space is the most important ingredient in building a grassland bird habitat.  A minimum of 150 acres is needed, undivided by roads, in order for many species to breed successfully.

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The land used in this grassland restoration project passed through a number of hands before becoming a preserve in the late 1980’s.  Rollins Savanna in is now one of Lake County’s largest forest preserves with over 1,200 uninterrupted acres.

Plants are a supporting structure within a habitat.  Their root systems hold the soil together and prevent erosion.  With a natural water flow, ecologists restore the mix of plants that  protect and enrich the soil.  Plants feed the animals, provide materials and places for nests, and break the cold winter winds.  The right mix of plants supports the animals that northern barriers feed – ground squirrels, voles and mice.

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Apple River Canyon State Park: Illinois.

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In hilly northern Illinois, the park offers hiking, day use, camping and fishing, plus Millville, a National Historic Register site.

Apple River Canyon State Park is in the hilly northwest corner of Illinois near the Wisconsin border. Limestone bluffs, deep ravines, springs, streams and wildlife characterize this area. Once a part of a vast sea bottom that stretched from the Alleghenies to the Rockies, the scenic canyon area was formed by the action of the winding waters of the Apple River.

The park was established by the State of Illinois in 1932, and today consisting of 1,907 acres. Several other sites within Jo Daviess County are managed as part of the Apple River Canyon State Park Complex: Thompson and Salem Units, Iris and Jack Witkowsky Wildlife Area, Tapley Woods Natural Area, Hanover Bluff Natural Area, Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve, Wards Grove Nature Preserve, McKeague Unit Nature Preserve, Rall Woods Natural Area, and Apple River Canyon – Winston Tunnel Unit.

Shawnee National Forest – Illinois

Water pool with rock cliffs and heavily forested area surrounding it

Clear, rocky streams and scenic canyons bordered by high sandstone cliffs and plants unique to Illinois. The trail consists of seven miles of interconnected trails, featuring strange and wonderful rock formations, such as Devil’s Backbone, Boulder Falls and a natural rock bridge.

Aerial view of river with rock cliffs and shrubs surrounding it

Looking for solitude?  Wilderness areas are some of the largest contiguous forested lands within the Shawnee, and together they make up about 10 percent of the national forest.

Rocky waterfall

This place has it all – majestic bluffs, a lush bottomland habitat, colorful cliffs and expansive views of the Big Muddy and Mississippi rivers. If you like to watch birds, this spot is haven for neotropical migratory songbirds during the spring and fall.

Scenic view from trail looking out at meadow and trees from a rock pinnacle

Majestic views await you at Inspiration Point, a National Recreation Trail, located at LaRue Pine Hills. With more than 170 bird species, it is a birders’ paradise. In the spring, the trail is bordered with wildflowers — blazing star, bellwort, bluets and spiderwort.

Natural bridge

Check out this rocky bridge, which spans 90 feet, while you’re visiting the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. Located just minutes off Highway 127, it takes less than an hour to hike.

 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/attmain/shawnee

Hocking Hills State Park – Ohio

Discover the 7 different amazing hiking areas of Hocking Hills State Park 

Ash Cave – Hocking Hills State Park – 27291 Ohio 56, South

Cedar Falls – Hocking Hills State Park – 21724 Ohio 374 Scenic, Logan, OH 43138

Conkle’s Hollow- Hocking Hills State Park – 24132 Big Pine Road

Cantwell Cliffs – Hocking Hills State Park – Ohio 374, Rockbridge, OH 43149

Rock House – Hocking Hills State Park – 16526 Ohio 374, Laurelville, OH 43135

Hemlock Bridge Trail/Whispering Cave

 

https://www.thehockinghills.org/

Brown County State Park – Indiana

The Smokies of the Midwest

Nicknamed the “Little Smokies” because of the area’s resemblance to the Great Smoky Mountains, Brown County encompasses nearly 16,000 acres of rugged hills, ridges and fog-shrouded ravines. Glaciers from the most recent ice ages stopped short of the “hills o’ Brown,” but their meltwaters helped create the narrow ridges, steep slopes and deep gullies of Brown County State Park. Indiana’s largest park is a traditional fall color hot spot, with nearly 20 miles of tree-lined roads and many scenic vistas overlooking miles of uninterrupted forestland.

The park’s rustic Abe Martin Lodge offers accommodations that include motel rooms, cabins, dining and conference facilities and an indoor water park. Large campgrounds, hiking and mountain biking trails, interpretive services, a saddle barn for guided horse rides and a separate horseman campground with 70 miles of horse trails are some of the things that make Brown County State Park popular year-round.

 

 

https://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2988.htm