Shawnee National Forest – Illinois

 

There are many miles of diverse hiking and backpacking trails in the Shawnee National Forest including the 160-mile River to River Trail.

One of the most photographed locations in the state, Garden of the Gods’ scenic beauty is extraordinary. In the recreation area you can hike, camp, nature watch or picnic.

The Observation Trail features unique sandstone rock formations and panoramic views of the surrounding Garden of the God Wilderness. Interpretive signs explain the geological history. The 1/4-mile trail is made of natural sandstone and takes about an hour to walk. It contains short, steep grades and steps; benches are located along the trail and as a whole the trail is not tiring. Caution should be used due to the high cliffs in the area.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/shawnee/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=10685&actid=50

 

Things to See and Do in South Dakota

Things to See and Do in South Dakota

Things to See and Do in South Dakota
— Read on livelaughrv.net/2019/07/28/things-to-see-and-do-in-south-dakota/

Moraine Hills State Park – Illinois

Moraine Hills State Park – Illinois

https://best-of-the-midwest.blog/2019/04/13/moraine-hills-state-park-illinois/
— Read on best-of-the-midwest.blog/2019/04/13/moraine-hills-state-park-illinois/

Devil’s Lake State Park – Wisconsin

If you can only hike one trail...Devil’s Lake State Park is located in Baraboo, Wisconsin and is Wisconsin’s most popular state park with about 3 million visitors per year. The over 9,000 acre park anchors more than 27,000 acres of parkland and natural areas.

Start at the Nature Center. A three-dimensional landform model of the park will bring the park terrain into sight from a bird’s-eye view. A series of panoramas make clear the formation of the valley, once 1,000 feet deep, now half-filled with rock and sediment and topped by the 50-foot-deep Devil’s Lake. Hands-on items include various bones, furs, shells, and rocks.

There is a lot to keep you busy at Devil’s Lake State Park! Devil’s Lake has 2 large, sandy, beaches, large picnic areas with charcoal grills, reservable and non-reservable shelters and over 29 miles of hiking & mountain bike trails. Concessions offer kayak, canoe and paddleboat and stand-up board rentals as well. Local Outfitters provide rock climbing and bouldering instruction as well as guided backcountry hikes & step on guide services.

Devil’s Lake State Park is known for it’s amazing rock formations and expansive vistas from the top of the Baraboo Bluffs! If this is what you’re looking for and you only have time for one trail, we recommend the East Bluff Trail. Plan for 3 – 4 hours.

If you’re looking for a flat trail, there are paved paths that go through the beach areas on the both sides of the lake near the beaches. The best flat trail options are the Tumbled Rocks trail along the bottom of the West Bluff or the Grottos Trail on the South Shore.

Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

 

Returning to the jaw dropping Sawtooths | Idaho

Returning to the jaw dropping Sawtooths | Idaho

Returning to the jaw dropping Sawtooths | Idaho
— Read on nonstoptravelling.com/2019/07/25/returning-to-the-jaw-dropping-sawtooths-idaho/

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

 

 

 

Moraine Hills State Park – Illinois

Moraine Hills derives its name from a geologic formation known as a moraine, which is an accumulation of boulders, stones and other debris deposited by a glacier. As glacial ice melted here following the Wisconsin glaciation period, it left gravel-rich deposits called kames that make up the park’s wooded hills and ridges.

From fishing to hiking and biking – from lush habitat and rare plants to watching a wealth of wildlife – Moraine Hills State Park is home to a recreational bounty in northeast Illinois. Located 3 miles south of McHenry in McHenry County, the park is located near the Fox River and McHenry Dam, with about half of the park’s 2,200 acres composed of wetlands and lakes.

In 1939, the State of Illinois made the initial McHenry Dam State Park land acquisition of 15 acres on the east bank of the Fox River. Major acquisition of the Lake Defiance area began in 1971, and construction of park facilities took place in the spring of 1975. The present Moraine Hills State Park opened in October 1976. The park name is derived from a geologic formation known as a moraine, which is an accumulation of boulders, stones and other debris deposited by a glacier.

The 48-acre Lake Defiance, located near the center of the park, is one of the few glacial lakes in Illinois that has remained largely undeveloped, maintaining a near-natural condition.

The waters and wetlands of Moraine Hills are home to abundant wildlife; more than 200 species of birds have been identified at the park.  Fishing is available on both Lake Defiance and on the Fox River. The McHenry Dam area provides access to the Fox River, and a fishing pier accessible.  More than 10 miles of trails make Moraine Hills popular for hikers, skiers and cyclists, and provide one of the park’s main recreation features.

 

https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/Parks/Pages/MoraineHills.aspx

Kettle Moraine, Wisconsin

Prairie wildflowers at Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit.

The Kettle Moraine State Forest—Southern Unit is 61 miles east of Madison and 37 miles southwest of Milwaukee.  More than 22,000 acres of glacial hills, kettles, lakes, prairie restoration sites, pine woods and hardwood forests can be found in the Southern Unit. The Forest is 30 miles long, extending from the village of Dousman, almost to the city of Whitewater. The forest headquarters is 3 miles west of the village of Eagle on State Highway 59.

cranes

The hills and valleys of Kettle Moraine South have a great variety of natural habitats, plants and animals, including many rare species. You may see or hear coyotes, red foxes, sandhill cranes and Cooper’s hawks. The 3,500-acre Scuppernong River Habitat Area is the largest wet prairie east of the Mississippi River.

Location

 

https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/kms/nature.html

Cuyahoga Valley National Park – Ohio

2019 River Celebration

Though a short distance from the urban areas of Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park seems worlds away. The park is a refuge for native plants and wildlife, and provides routes of discovery for visitors. The winding Cuyahoga River gives way to deep forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands. Walk or ride the Towpath Trail to follow the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.

Over 125 miles of hiking trails are available for your hiking pleasure in CVNP. These trails range from nearly level to challenging.

Blue Hen Falls

Blue Hen Falls is favorite of visitors who wish to visit one of the prettiest waterfalls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The trail takers hikers down an old driveway to Spring Creek (named for the spring upstream that feeds this creek year-round).

 

https://www.nps.gov/cuva/learn/index.htm

Lake of the Ozarks – Missouri

Lake of the Ozarks State Park

 

It’s a  17,441 acre playground lying just to the south of Osage Beach. Lake of the Ozarks State Park is Missouri’s largest and can provide a pleasant diversion while vacationing in the Lake area. The park has 85 miles of shoreline and two public beaches, plus boat launching areas.  The Grand Glaize Arm of the lake dissects the park with over 85 miles of shoreline.

 

Wildlife at Lake of the Ozarks State ParkDiscover unusual natural features along the park’s lake shore on Lake of the Ozarks Aquatic Trail . This unique “trail” designed for boaters has stops marked by buoys. A free booklet keyed to these buoys explains the significance of each of the 14 marked shoreline highlights. It is available at the park office.

Naturalists present programs in an open air amphitheater from May until mid October, featuring slide shows or movies about natural features found in Missouri¹s state parks. Guided hikes and a variety of other programs are provided as well.

Many lake visitors escape the summer¹s heat by exploring 56° Ozark Caverns. Follow Highway A (between Osage Beach and Camdenton) for eight miles and follow the signs. After paying a small fee, hand held lanterns are provided which enhance the sense of discovering a whole new world of underground beauty. The spectacular Angel’s Shower, a never-ending flow of water which seems to fall from the solid ceiling of rock into two massive bowl shaped stone basins on the cave floor, is one of the many features pointed out by your guide. Unusual animals, adapted to this world of darkness, can be seen as well.

Ozark Caverns Visitor Center opened in 1987 and helps visitors understand the cave environment. The one mile Coakley Hollow Self-Guided Trail near the Visitor Center takes visitors through one of the most scenic and naturally diverse parts of the park. This is one of ten trails in the park.

More info:

https://www.funlake.com/state-parks