Some of the
most invigorating and peaceful times of your life can be spent
hiking the trails on Illinois state lands. From the rugged bluffs
at Mississippi Palisades State Park in the northwest, to the
wooded ravines at Fox Ridge State Park in east-central Illinois
from the soaring canyons and waterfalls at Starved Rock State
Park in the North, to the swampy and fascinating Mermet Lake
State Conservation Area in southern Illinois, we offer you
a boundless variety of hiking experiences. You can choose
from over 270 trails that total more than 700 miles.
three long trails: the 155-mile Hennepin Canal Parkway, the 50-mile
Illinois & Michigan
Canal, and the 27-mile Rock Island Trail. Numerous other trails
are suitable for family hikers. Eleven state areas offer trails
for visually impaired hikers or for the physically disabled.
Combine hiking's physical exhilaration with the mental lift that
comes with being in touch with nature, and take a vacation even
if it's to a state park only a few miles from home. Look
over the following list, and take to the trails.
Take only memories, leave
only footprints. Your visit to an Illinois state park can be pleasant
if you abide by a few simple rules.
- Stay on designated
- Don't pick
- Confine your
pet to a leash.
- Wear comfortable
walking or hiking shoes.
- Take water
with you on long hikes.
- Use insect
repellent to help ward off mosquitos and other insects.
- Be sure
to protect yourself from wood ticks, carriers of Rocky Mountain
spotted fever, and deer ticks, carriers of Lyme disease. Deer
ticks thrive in woods and fields with tall, dense grass. Apply
insect repellent, suited for warding off deer ticks, as directed.
Wear a long-sleeved shirt, button your collar and stuff your
trouser cuffs into the tops of your socks. Wear light-colored
clothing to better see if any ticks have attached to your
clothes. Examine your clothing and skin frequently for ticks
and also check your pets. Ticks prefer warm, moist areas,
so pay particular attention to inspecting your groin, armpits
and scalp. Carefully remove any attached tick immediately
with tweezers. You may also want to preserve it in a small
bottle of alcohol should symptoms appear later. Symptoms can
be flu-like and some victims suffer a red, bull's-eye-like
rash with a clear center around the site of a tick bite. Not
all deer ticks carry Lyme disease, but if you suspect you've
been bitten, contact your doctor. Lyme disease can be treated
with antibiotics, and patients can recover fully if treated