Enjoy the snow of Illinois on these 5 hiking trails


It’s officially winter here in the Stateline.

We were very lucky to get through December with very mild temperatures. I even wore shorts on Christmas. It was awesome. I know some have been appalled by the absence of a “white” Christmas, but I agree to postpone it as long as possible.

As long as possible lasted until January 1 of this year when we had a first big snowstorm and our first dose of freezing temperatures. The winter bill had finally come due and we are paying it off being very uncomfortable and maybe slightly depressed for about 6 weeks.

January stinks. Then we will have a beautiful day or two around Valentine’s Day before the arrival of the second winter. We usually ignore the second winter, it’s a very stubborn Midwestern trait, and we’re perpetually cold until spring arrives.

What I’m saying is it’s going to be a difficult month and a half ahead. You can attack it in two ways. You can never go out and be angry for 6 weeks OR you can go out and enjoy the “unique” winter season that we experience here in the Midwest.

I will be honest. I generally fell into the old camp. I don’t like the cold and hate being wet, but I have also been a little depressed for about 35 winters in a row. I think I will try something new this year and try to take in the beautiful scenery that a freshly fallen snow in winter can offer.

We just happen to have a WONDERFUL place here in town for such activities at Rock Cut State Park.

The Alltrails.com website highlights 5 Rock Cut trails open year round. So grab some nice boots, layer on top, don’t forget the sunglasses, and take in the Midwestern beauty that’s freshly fallen snow in one of Illinois’ best state parks on one of these 5 trails in Rock Cut State Park.

1. Rock Cut Park Main Loop

This 3.2 mile loop has slight elevation changes and is a great, easy hike that you can knock out in a matter of hours with great views along Pierce Lake.

2. Pierce Lake Trail

This 3.6 mile loop is a bit more difficult than the main loop but offers great views to either side of Pierce Lake. I did this hike in the summer and the terrain can get rough in some spots. Make sure you wear good shoes.

3. Rock cut perimeter loop

This is a 9.2 mile long loop that circles the park. Some of the trails are lightly traveled which can be dangerous during the winter months. Again, dress accordingly.

4. Willow Creek Trail

This 5.2 trail is not a loop so unless you have 2 cars, one to leave at one end and drive at the other, this is actually a 10+ mile hike if you go from start to finish and vice versa. Alltrails doesn’t suggest hiking in deep snow so take that into consideration.

5. Perryville Trail

Granted it’s a bit of a stretch to call this a Rock Cut trail. It starts in the park, but most of the 13 miles of this trail follows Perryville Road to about State Street. It’s a beautiful trail, but not exactly what I think of when I think of a hike in the woods.

Dress well and you will have an enjoyable afternoon in this icy landscape of hell that we call home.

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