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57-acre wetlands preserve features wildflower, birds, and wildlife, which may be viewed from an observation deck.
Watershed Nature Center
A 3,000 ft. wheelchair-accessible pathway at lake level and wood-chipped trails wind through forested areas. An elevated walkway spans the wetlands and two observation towers, a wildlife viewing blind, an outdoor amphitheater and classroom.
War Bluff Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
Nestled in the uplands of the Shawnee National Forest, supports mature oak-hickory woods, river bottom forests, young forests and old field habitats. More than 530 types of plants, including a rich variety of wildflowers and 20 types of ferns. 10 walking paths give access to the area.
Volo Bog State Natural Area
Just 45 minutes northwest of Chicago is a state natural area featuring the state's only quaking bog with an open water center. Volo Bog State Natural Area was created when the melting of glaciers pushed deep into the ground 12,000 years ago.
Turkey Bluffs State Fish and Wildlife Area
Hiking, picnicking, horseback riding and wildlife viewing. Hunting for upland game, fur-bearers and deer is encouraged on its 2,265 scenic acres that overlook the Mississippi River.
Tunnel Hill State Trail
Rolling agricultural fields, reclaimed strip mines, ravines, rocky streams and wooded bluffs dominate the northern half of the Tunnel Hill State Trail. With 47.8 miles (one-way) of crushed gravel surface, extended inclines and dark tunnels, this trail is a difficult one, but one not to pass up, as long as you’re up for the challenge. The southern half of the trail explodes with scenery that includes bottomland woods, ponds, streams and marshes. The trail, which winds through seven towns, even touches upon a handful of ghost towns that faded into the landscape after the trains here stopped running.
Touch of Nature Enviornmental Center
Just 8 miles south of Carbondale, Touch of Nature borders the Shawnee Forest. It is a 3,100 acre wooded retreat area perfect for group events. Located in the City of Makanda, IL.
Timber Ridge Outpost & Cabins
Nestled in the beautiful hills of the Shawnee National Forest, Timber Ridge offers something for everyone, from families and honeymooners to outdoor enthusiasts. Enjoy some Southern hospitality while staying in a real log cabin or one-of-a-kind tree house. Each of the units, including the tree house, is equipped with a bathroom, kitchenette, heating and air conditioning. Physical Location: Karbers Ridge, IL 62955 GPS: 37°33’52.18?N 88°20’17.03?W
Ten Mile Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area
5,800 acres vary from flat bottomlands to rolling forestlands. Fields throughout the site provide for 1,000 acres of planted food for wildlife. Game hunting for rabbit, quail and waterfowl is allowed. Fishing is available at 25 strip-pit lakes and ponds.
Spring Valley Nature Center/ Volkening Heritage Farm
135 acres, natural history museum, handicapped-accessible trails, 1880's living history farm and pioneer cooking demos. Cost for some programs.
Spring Lake Park
Spring Lake Park in Macomb, IL. has three different singletrack trails ranging in intermediate to difficult. At 10 miles in length this park has a nice smattering of everything an adrenaline junky would want. The trails here are tight in some spots with a few ladder bridges, log piles and even a teeter-totter, and the hills just keep coming with jumps that make you feel weightless.
Shelbyville State Fish and Wildlife Area
A 6,400-acre wildlife area on the north end of Lake Shelbyville. Hunting for waterfowl, forest and upland game is popular. Boat access is provided to accommodate anglers and hunters.
Shawnee National Forest
The Shawnee National Forest is famed for its awesome Garden of the Gods, and is home to the Rim Rock Recreational Trail (the forest has a system of 403 miles of equestrian/hiking trails). Hikers are greeted by magnificent jutting walls of rock covered with emerald-green moss, and paths that meander through canyons under the forest canopy. Nestled between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the stunning Shawnee National Forest landscape features rolling hills, lakes, creeks and rugged bluffs. If you’re into climbing than a must-see is Jackson Falls, located near the town of Ozark in the Hidden Springs Ranger District in Shawnee National Forest. The climb takes place on 60 feet of sandstone cliffs and boulders that include numerous freestanding towers.
Severson Dells Nature Center
Nature lovers will enjoy 369 unspoiled acres with an unusual 90% concentration of native wildflowers, a paved path and 2.5 miles of trails. The Nature Center features a butterfly garden, gift shop, aquarium and library. The Grove is an area designed with the intent to bring children back to nature using fallen logs, tree stumps for seating, vertical logs for forts, and nature music and art areas.
Sanganois Conservation Area
A 9.960-acre bottomland environment of sloughs and backwater lakes, Sanganois is managed primarily to provide a refuge for migratory waterfowl and a public duck hunting area.
Sand Ridge State Forest
The largest of all the state forests in Illinois. Covers 7,100 acres of native oak-hickory forests and pine plantations. Supports diverse desert flora and fauna in its sandy landscape as well as also offering a variety of recreational facilities.
Ryerson Woods Conservation Area and Visitors Center
Ryerson Conservation Area is one of the best examples of a northern flatwoods forest, a rare northern Illinois landscape. The 552-acre Preserve supports some of Illinois' most pristine woodlands and several state-threatened and endangered species, and offers 6.5 miles of scenic trails that wind through a stately forest to the quiet Des Plaines River. The Welcome Center, opened in 2006, features "green" architecture and was designed using LEED standards. In addition to preserve information, it offers a nature library, exhibits and meeting rooms.
6-acre park donated to the village in 1891 by David McWilliams, the first banker and business person in the community. It is named after the Prince of Wales, Baron Renfrew, who visited the area while on a hunting expedition in 1860.
Ray Norbut State Fish and Wildlife Area
With nearly 1,100 of its 1,380 acres primarily composed of oak and hickory stands, this area offers exceptional habitat for deer and squirrel, and is a good hunting area as well. In the winter, sight-seers ofter spot bald eagles along the Illinois River.
A short nature trail along the path of the Cairo & St Louis Narrow Gage railroad used before it was abandoned in 1981. Starting from downtown Alto Pass, the walk offers very scenic views.
Old Plank Road Trail
Old Plank Road is a 21-mile recreation and nature trail used by in-line skaters, walkers, runners, bikers, bicyclists and even cross-country skiers in the winter. This trail reaches from Park Forest all the way to Joliet.
Mississippi River State Fish and Wildlife Area
Consisting of 15 wildlife management areas and 13 public access areas, the Mississippi River State and Wildlife Area manages a majority of its 24,400 acres to accommodate waterfowl hunting and habitat enhancement.
Midewin Tall Grass Prairie
Largest open space in northeast Illinois.
Middle Fork State Fish & Wildlife Area
The Middle Fork State Fish & Wildlife Area consists of 2,700 acres of grass, forest and cropland, and wildlife habitat. The area also includes a portion of the Middle Fork River, a State and National Scenic River, with over 1,000 feet of scenic corridor for canoeing and fishing. The area also allows for hunting, hiking, picnicking, and camping.