Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hiking during our Galena Weekend

Pedestrian Bridge, Galena IL

A trip to Galena provides a refreshing change of scenery for us Chicago suburbanites. On the drive from our home to Galena, we enjoyed marvelous views of rolling farmland. Some turns revealed spectacular views of valleys. During our weekend adventure, we took advantage of beautiful weather and explored on three hikes.


Historic cannon in Grant Park, Galena IL.
Historic cannon in Grant Park over looking the Galena River Trail.

Galena River Trail

On our first day in Galena, we walked along the Galena River Trail. You will easily see this trail as you criss-cross between sites. The portion of the trail we walked was pretty easy. We walked past Grant Park with historic cannons perched above the trail. Along the river, we did see some wildlife but the portion we walked along featured pretty dense vegetation. We also walked under the pedestrian bridge which afforded an intriguing perspective on the bridge.

Under the Pedestrian Bridge in Galena, Illinois.
Under the Pedestrian Bridge 
Casper Bluff Land and Water Reserve

The following morning, our Galena adventure brought us to Casper Bluff Land and Water Reserve. Our visit to Casper Bluff revealed an unexpected treasure. Before our trip, I learned that we would have a wonderful view of the Mississippi River from atop Casper Bluff. The view, of course, was magnificent.

View of the Mississippi River from Casper Bluff
View of the Mississippi River from Casper Bluff

However, I wasn't expecting to find a prairie ablaze with golden flowers!

Prairie flowers at Casper Bluff.
Prairie flowers at Casper Bluff.
Teeming with birds, the walk through the prairie lifted our spirits! Birders definitely will love Casper Bluff! The preserve also contains mounds of the Aiken Mound Group and a Thunderbird Effigy. At the head of the trails, visitors can pick up a handy booklet with interesting information about the preserve including a map pointing out the location of mounds.

Apple River Canyon State Park

Apple River Canyon State Park is a bit east of Galena, so we opted to hike in the area on our way back home. The preserve features limestone bluffs along the Apple River. We hiked the Pine Ridge Trail climbing one of the bluffs. The trail does have some steep portions and we found a couple sections a little slick. However, the tranquility was worth the journey.


We also walked along the river taking in another perspective of the bluffs. We explored Apple River Canyon on a Sunday afternoon and were joined by other families delighting in the natural beauty for a family picnic.

Canyon along Apple River in Illinois.
Apple River Canyon
Other areas to hike include:

  • Buehler Preserve
  • Horseshoe Mound
  • Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve
  • Schurmeier Teaching Forest
  • Wapello Land & Water Reserve
We were blessed with a glorious summer weekend during our visit. We welcomed the opportunity to navigate the natural wonders near Galena!





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