|Distance||1 mile roundtrip|
|Terrain||A few hills|
- Pretty river views
- Easy hike with plenty of shade
On the far northwestern corner of Illinois, you'll find the small Apple River Canyon State Park, home to a quiet riverside picnic area and a few short hiking trails. It's a nice place to stop if you're planning on visiting Charles Mound, the highest point in Illinois, or the scenic Mississippi Palisades State Park. The River Route Nature Trail showcases the canyon and visits a part of the river away from the park roads.
The trail starts on the south end of the parking area heading uphill. At the top of the hill, you can turn right to visit the wooden viewing platform pictured below. Unfortunately, the view is obstructed by trees and vegetation during the summer.
Dogs are allowed on leash. This short hike is perfect for the whole family. You can hike here every season, allowing you to experience the park in four different ways. This park is far from major population centers, so it won't be particularly crowded.
From Chicago, take Interstate 90 west towards Rockford. Take the exit for Interstate 39 South, then continue straight onto U.S. Highway 20. Stay on U.S. Highway 20 for about an hour, then turn right onto Illinois Highway 78. Turn left onto Canyon Road, and continue as the road veers left into the park and turns into Canyon Park Road. Park on the right near the building.
Google Maps Directions
Parking, Fees, and Facilities
Parking is free! There are restrooms and a picnic area near the parking area.