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  1. #1
    Senior Member Lonely Raven's Avatar
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    Northern IL - Trip Planning Help?

    I hope this is the correct forum for this thread:


    I'm looking to take some friends on a hike and overnight camp in September. These friends are typical, "everything-including-the-kitchen-sink car campers, and I'd like to nudge them (and myself) more into Hiking.

    But I'm having trouble finding any good hike to camp site locations in Northern Illinois. And these trails all seem to be 3 miles tops!

    I'm in the western suburbs, not far from Naperville. I'd like something less than 2 hours drive, with a great 3-6 mile hike, and easy camping (by easy camping I mean not having to jump through a bunch of hoops or restrictions to camp).

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pipsissewa's Avatar
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    Hello there! Have you thought about the Kankakee area? There are LOTS of state parks and nature preserves all along the Illinois River-Starve Rock State Park being one. Around Ottawa too has a lot of nature preserves.

    Have you used the Hammock Forums' "search" button to search the word "Illinois"? Several trip descriptions come up. Good luck!!!!!
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Lonely Raven's Avatar
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    I've searched in the past, but I've been away from Hammock forums for a bit. I'll hit the search again. Last time it was all stuff way south of me that was several hours away.

    We've done Kankakee several times. We are looking for someplace new.

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    Crawldaddy's Avatar
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    how about the Palisades State Park in Savanna?

  5. #5
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    Forest Glen Preserve? I think it has an 11 mile loop with primitive campsites if I remember right.

    Doh! This might be in the wrong direction. Sorry.
    Last edited by Stormstaff; 08-09-2011 at 11:27. Reason: Wrong direction

  6. #6
    New Member trixie's dad's Avatar
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    Burnidge Forest Preserve in Elgin! and Marengo in Marengo!

    Hey there, I was having a similar problem. I live in Chicago and found that there's a pretty cool area in Elgin called the Burnidge Forest Preserve or the Paul Wolff Campground. There place is mainly RV camping (ughh), but there are 10 primitive sites. Five of them are secluded by trees (i recommend site 5) and the others are out in the open prairie. They have a beginner hiking trail (which i did) which was 2 miles long, as well as a whole bunch of other trails. You can also fish. Each primitive site has a picnic table and fire grill, and you can buy 12 pieces of wood for 5 bucks. The primitive sites are pretty close to the parking lot, but not too close where you can hear traffic or anything, you'll need to walk about 1000 feet if that.

    The other is Marengo Hiking Preserve in Marengo. I was in site 34. Most of the camp sites, you need to walk a little bit to it from the parking spaces. They sell wood there for 5 bucks a bag. Each site, I think, has a raised platform for tents. The sites are secluded. The hiking is pretty awesome. I got lost and hiked from the campsite (s end of preserve) to the north, hiking the entire preserve in 4 hrs. The challenging hikes are pretty intense, but I'm a really really newbie camper, so it may not be that bad.

    I'm looking new hammock friendly other preserves near chicago. If you want resources, there are 2 books I got: Best Tent Camping in Illinois and Camping Illinois: a comprehensive guide to the state's best campgrounds. They break it down by sections in illinois. I got them at REI.

    Also, going back to your friends. If they get burned out by camping and need a "break" from camping, there is a walmart and civilization near both places.

    Good luck and let me know how it goes.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lonely Raven's Avatar
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    Cool, thanks for those suggestions.

    I just found out this weekend that everyone made separate plans for that weekend...so it looks like I might just save the suggestions for another weekend.

    I need to get out hit the woods though...looks like it might be time to do a solo weekend with the puppy.

  8. #8
    Oms's Avatar
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    Forest glen is definitely the place to go. Also seems pretty dog friendly. If you've never been there it's worth doing. Most times we've done it we were alone at night. See hikers and joggers during the day.

  9. #9
    Senior Member hippofeet's Avatar
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    Hennepin canal parkway from sterling to however far you wanna go. I have gone the entire length, there are some sweet spots, and big catfish. Plus, you can park ahead, plan how many nights you want to be out, and just drive back to the other car. Also awesome for canoes. It's like 100 plus miles from sterling to the quad cities at the mississippi, and the paved trail at the start only lasts a few miles, then it's just you and the occasional haywagon full of menonite ladies singing hymns.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Lonely Raven's Avatar
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    That sounds awesome. Some day I'll be able to take time off and do 100 mile trail! It's on my bucket list!
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