I love to hike. I have done it for beauty, exercise, for spiritual reasons, and for fun. There’s nothing like getting out in nature and letting go of what ails you. Southern Illinois has many great hiking trails that will suit your needs, no matter what you are seeking.
If you want short trails, that are good for kids, try Giant City Park, Pyramid Park, or Eldon Hazlet Park on Carlyle Lake. The Rend Lake Bike Trail is paved and is great for small kids, strollers, wheelchairs, as well as bicycles. It can be done in short chunks, or turned into a long trail.
If you want beauty, try the Little Grand Canyon or Rim Rock, with Pounds Hollow. And of course, there’s Giant City, Ferne Clyffe and Garden of the Gods, just to name a few. There are so many to choose from.
If you want distance with camping involved, then try the 10 mile trail at Pyramid Park, or the 12 mile trail at Giant City; both of which have a campsite at the halfway point.
There’s also Tunnel Hill trail, which is 45 miles long, and is also good for bicycles. It’s actually a bike trail, but I always wanted to hike it, and plan to someday. The premier trail in Southern Illinois is the 160 mile River to River Trail, which runs from the Ohio River to the Mississippi. I plan to hike it as well. There are many trails in Southern Illinois which use parts of the River to River Trail. I have hiked many sections of it.
If you like obscure trails that have less people, try the Cedar Lake Trails, south of Carbondale and Murphysboro. The Salt Lick trail near Valmeyer, or the Buttermilk trail near Route 3, that is along Lake Kincaid.
Southern Illinois has tons of trails. I have only touched the surface. Many of these trails are for hiking, and can also be for cycling and horseback riding. There is a great website I love to use to find trails called Alltrails.com. It has trails all over the world.
It’s that time of year. Well,, actually any time of year is a good time to hike. So, get out there and enjoy what our area has to offer. Be safe, take water, bug spray and a snack bar. Leave nature as you found it. And enjoy yourself. Maybe I’ll run into you out there