A Little Time and a Keyboard: Scaling Rocky Terrain to Wide Open River Views at Mississippi Palisades State Park

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Scaling Rocky Terrain to Wide Open River Views at Mississippi Palisades State Park

Scaling Rocky Terrain to Wide Open River Views at Mississippi Palisades State Park

Scaling Rocky Terrain to Wide Open River Views at Mississippi Palisades State Park 

Mississippi Palisades State Park in Savanna, IL folds hikers into a dense forest beckoning them to climb to overlooks with fantastic wide open views of the mighty Mississippi. While challenging in a few spots, ascending through the dense forest to a perch above the Mississippi River rewarded us with breathtaking views.



Reveling in the dense forest of Mississippi Palisades State Park.
Reveling in the dense forest of Mississippi Palisades State Park.
Climbing Bluffs to Fantastic Views

A variety of trails welcome wanderers at Mississippi Palisades State Park. For this adventure, we embarked on the Sentinel Trail. The Sentinel Trail is the first trail that you will encounter inside the park's Southern Unit. Even though the trail is just a little over a mile, you will quickly learn that you will need to work a bit when you approach the stairs.

Stairs took us to a wonderland as we explored wandering up the bluff at Mississippi Palisades State Park
Stairs took us to a wonderland as we explored wandering up the bluff.
We started climbing the bluff wrapped in the ferns and wildflowers of the forest. At the top of the staircase, we discovered a moss, ivy and fern covered cave.

A cave wrapped in moss, ivy and ferns looks magical at Mississippi Palisades State Park
A cave wrapped in moss, ivy and ferns looks magical.
 Mississippi Palisades sits at the confluence of the Apple and Mississippi Rivers. Native Americans once coursed the limestone bluffs as hikers do today. As we wound up the bluff, we encountered rock outcroppings. Trails were narrow in spots. I paused in quite a few spots to marvel in natural splendor. Seeing the ferns blow in the wind was magical.
Rock outcrops and vegetation create unique scenery throughout Mississippi Palisades State Park
Rock outcrops and vegetation create unique scenery throughout.
While being in the moment, I honed my observation skills admiring details big and small. By taking the slow route, we enjoyed moments of pure wonderment like admiring ferns and other plants growing in between the rocks.

Fern, moss, ivy and more plants grow on and in between rocks at Mississippi Palisades State Park
Fern, moss, ivy and more plants grow on and in between rocks.

Oh, the Views!

As we arrived at the lookout point, we felt awe seeing the river peeking from between the trees. Wonderment percolated before we even came to the lookout point.

The Mississippi River peeking in from beyond the trees at Mississippi Palisades State Park
The Mississippi River peeking in from beyond the trees.
While standing on the outlook platform, the Mississippi River majestically spread out in front of us. Simply breathtaking! Breathtaking is truly the best way to describe the scene!

Standing on the overlook, the Mississippi River unfolded before us at Mississippi Palisades State Park
Standing on the overlook, the Mississippi River unfolded before us.

Rock Formations Add to a Unique Adventure

Erosion carved rock formations add further moments of wonder. As we admired the view of the Mississippi River, the Twin Sisters formation rose before us in the foreground.

Twin Sisters Rock Formation rising before us at Mississippi Palisades State Park
Twin Sisters Rock Formation rising before us.
After viewing the mighty Mississippi, we wound back down the bluff. The hike down was just as stunning as the hike up. The landscape provides for interesting looks at rock formations, outcrops, ravines and more.

Viewing unique assemblages of plants and rocks charmed throughout our adventure at Mississippi Palisades State Park
Viewing unique assemblages of plants and rocks charmed throughout our adventure.
Upon returning to our car, we opted to drive further into the preserve to see other points. We did take in the view from the lookout point on the Sunset Trail.

The Mighty Mississippi delights on the Sunset Trail at Mississippi Palisades State Park
The Mighty Mississippi delights on the Sunset Trail.

How could we miss this view? Another spectacular moment savored at Mississippi Palisades State Park!

A National Natural Landmark

Mississippi Palisades State Park is recognized as a National Natural Landmark.
Mississippi Palisades State Park is recognized as a National Natural Landmark.

In 1973, Mississippi Palisades State Park was designated a National Natural Landmark. As you can see, there is no wonder as to why the stunning and unique preserve should be specially recognized. Our incredible adventure transported us to another world in some regards as we completely reveled in the interesting and unparalleled landscape of Mississippi Palisades State Park. During our visit, we completely felt in the moment away from it all. We look forward to future hiking adventure in this remarkable preserve.

To know about Mississippi Palisades State Park:

  • Trails may be uneven and narrow in spots.
  • You will be hiking up in elevation.
  • We encountered a few slippery spots on smooth rock and packed in mud.
  • A variety of nature activities are available including hiking, camping, rock climbing, boating, picnicking, fishing and more.
Scaling Rocky Terrain to Wide Open River Views at Mississippi Palisades State Park

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