Garden of the Gods

Shawnee National Forest is a Midwest destination unlike any other. Traverse 403 miles of hiking trails, discover local wineries and craft breweries, and don’t miss the Garden of the Gods.

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n southern Illinois, fields give way to forested hills, rugged bluffs and sweet surprises in Shawnee National Forest.

Outdoor enthusiasts make tracks to Giant City State Park, which gets its name from the steep, carved sandstone cliffs that resemble city streets fit for a giant. Hikers explore miles of trails or gather their gear and tackle rock-climbing and rappelling on the massive bluffs. Giant City Stables leads guided horseback tours along wooded paths. The clear and calm waters of Little Grassy Lake, part of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, are ideal for a day of fishing and boating. For a colorful detour, the quirky Makanda Boardwalk showcases the works of local artisans, including metalwork and gemstone jewelry.

Head for the Forest

My Fall Favorite

Traverse City, Michigan

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The days are warm, the nights are cool, and you won’t find a prettier place to take a color tour. Rolling hills are painted in deep reds, bright oranges and sunny yellows – a striking contrast against the sapphire blue of Grand Traverse Bay.

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Some of the best hiking, biking, fishing and boating is all here.

https://www.traversecity.com/fall/outdoors/

Woodlands, Wetlands, Prairies and Birds!

Hike the Preserves at Crabtree Nature Center near Chicago, IL.

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With the help of active restoration and natural succession, the 1,182 acre parcel of farmland that has become Crabtree Nature Center has been restored to ecological heath and biodiversity.

Crabtree is known as a birding site.  Up to 270 species have been recorded migrating through the area.  Many have been thrilled to spy a sandhill crane family or spot a flock of hooded mergansers on the lake.