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  1. #1
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    Recommendations for hammock camping within 3 hours of SW Chicago

    Looking for recommendations for camping/hammock camping within a 3 hour drive from SW edge of Chicago. A couple buddies and myself are looking for some place that we can go and play around with some basic primitive skill stuff - like gathering/processing wood for fire, types of fire starting, maybe some fishing, etc. I don't know all of what they want to play around with, but we're looking for something relaxing, to get away for a couple days and hang out. One of the guys has some back disability, so no seriously heavy hiking in.

    Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    Senior Member rweb82's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum!

    We usually go to the McKinley Woods site along the I&M Canal in Channahon. You have to either hike or bike in from Channahon State Park, because the McKinley Woods lot does not allow overnight parking. It's a 3 mile hike from CSP (all flat ground), or 1/4 mile from the McKinley Woods lot- if you're not staying overnight, or just dropping off larger gear.

    It's not a bad little site, and is not used that frequently. Fair warning though, there are barges that come down the river, and they can be somewhat noisy. Overnight camping is only $6/night

    Other than that, I've been to Forest Glen Preserve down by Danville, and it's pretty nice as well. Definitely more relaxing. However, you do have to hike about 3.5 miles to either site (it's a loop trail). The trail is not particularly tough, but it does have some ups and downs. The camping is much more relaxing than McKinley woods, however. Overnight camping is $10 for groups of less than 10.
    Last edited by rweb82; 07-26-2019 at 14:45.

  3. #3
    Senior Member goobie's Avatar
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    Rock cut state park is pretty nice and could work out well for your purposes. I'm not sure if it fits your 3 hour window though.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the recommendations. I will start looking into those locations as well as keep my eyes open here for future hangs.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jeff-oh's Avatar
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    3 hours gets you to Morgan-Monroe SP in Indiana and a little longer (4 hr.) you can be in the Deem Wilderness in Hoosier NF.

  6. #6
    Senior Member rweb82's Avatar
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    My buddy just went to Rock Cut State Park a couple weeks ago, and he was told by the park ranger that he couldn't hang his hammock there.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rweb82 View Post
    My buddy just went to Rock Cut State Park a couple weeks ago, and he was told by the park ranger that he couldn't hang his hammock there.

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    Is that a new policy? We overnighted in our hammocks a little over a month ago there and definitely saw a good number of lounger hammocks out as well. The rangers definitely saw our set up.


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  8. #8
    Senior Member rweb82's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seaocean View Post
    Is that a new policy? We overnighted in our hammocks a little over a month ago there and definitely saw a good number of lounger hammocks out as well. The rangers definitely saw our set up.


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    It could have just been this particular individual. I wasn't there; but my buddy texted me about it. I guess he was informed by the campground manager. This is one of those things that can vary widely by ranger/manager.

    Edit: The manager acknowledged that my friend was using proper straps. But he said that too many folks have been using rope, so he felt it easier to just outlaw hammocks altogether. I do not see any "official" hammock ban on their website, however.
    Last edited by rweb82; 08-08-2019 at 09:58.

  9. #9
    Member NOBOZax's Avatar
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    Yellow River State Forest in Iowa was awesome. The backpackers campgrounds are all short hikes from different trail heads and free first come first serve. There are nice bluff views and fishing. The trails were all in excellent condition when I hiked them. It was 4 hrs from Peoria so I would think 3 hrs or less from you. Good luck

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  10. #10

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    you have rock wood in Morrison, no hike in but there are a few spots to hang a hammock. ranger i talked to didn't care about my hammock. and yellow river is an awesome place as well

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