I recently moved to Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) and I'm trying to figure out if there are any really good places for dispersed or primitive camping.
I've hiked in the Forest Glen Preserve and Allerton park, but neither of those seem suited for it (and I think camping is illegal in Allerton).
I want to go to the Shawnee National Forest. Does anyone have any suggestions for which of its regions would be nicest for innawoods camping this time of year?
Does anyone have any suggestions for other great places in Illinois to camp and hike? I have access to a car and can either tent or hammock camp, so pretty much any suggestions are welcome.
Yeah, tell me about it.
My girlfriend is a grad student here, so here I am, trying to make the best of it by experiencing as much of the "local" wilderness as I can.
I actually liked Forest Glen. Allerton was cool for the weird sculptures and structures and for having "un-touched" bottom land. My girlfriend camped in Kickapoo with some friends and said it sucked (though they were on a reserved site and didn't actually get to experience nature much).
I never camped around there or anything while I was there. Only thing I know about living in IL for 23 years, outside of Chicago there is nothing unless you go all the way south towards Carbondale and Kentucky or NW in the state there is some cool stuff towards the Mississippi.
I've heard a lot of good things about Starved Rock, that might not be too far for a weekend trip.
Come join us down in Clinton County! Lots of fun /out/ stuff down here
garden of the gods is a pretty cool area, probably the most mountainous region in IL. I live near wisconsin so I usually drive up there to go camping.
I grew up about 30 minutes from Starved Rock. Pretty good place to go and take a day hike, but you have to deal with all the shitty Chicago tourists if you go on a weekend or a real nice day.
Now I go to school in Chicago though, so enjoy Champaign-Urbana. I really wish I would have chosen that instead,
That's not what it's about at all. It's definitely an urban area, albeit a smaller one. But there is quite a bit of a city outside the campus. But besides campus bars, townie bars, and a shitty mall, there isn't anything to do in the city. And god forbid you leave the city limits. Soybean fields as far as the eye can see.
My problem with Champaign is that there is nothing to do on the weekends besides going to shitty bars and shitty parties with shitty people. All Big 10 schools are the same type of people, the rich suburban kids and the same type of cliques you had to deal with in high school.
Hey champs, OP here.
I did not intend for this to end up as a CU bashing thread...
Just did another hike in Forest Glen. Not too bad; quiet and peaceful.
That being said, I agree that CU is just shitty bars and cliques. I grew up on a ranch and I think CU tries really hard to be a "big city college town" but instead justnloses what charm would exist if it didn't try to change itself.
Also, i can't stand the undergrads here. But anyway....
I will probably plan a camping trip to Shawnee to break in my new hammock. I'll check out Clinton County, too.
Thanks for both the advice and the shitposting.
Hey man, recent graduate from UIUC here. Take a weekend and go check out Garden of the Gods and Cave-In-Rock, you won't regret it.
I live in downstate IL now, nice to be in a place with more accessible nature.
Also, go to Blind Pig and have a beer for me
I'd suggest the adjacent matthiessen state park. It's just as beautiful, if not more so, and less crowded than Starved Rock which is far and away Illinois' most popular state park. I lived in IL for most of my life. Sand Ridge State Forest is pretty cool too but it's a fucking tick habitat in the summer, so go in the winter.
Something a bit closer than downstate IL is Turkey Run State Park in Indiana. I've only been there once on a geology field trip, but it's pretty close to chambana.
Kickapoo state recreation park has decent hiking, I think, but I've not been there myself. Canoed down the salt fork river nearby, which was great.
You might consider forest park in Peoria for a shorter hike, combined with a nice bike/drive on grand view avenue afterwards.
If you enjoy biking at all then the country roads around champaign are pretty decent, too. Not much to see that I know of, but open road as far as you can want.
There's also a biking trail that leads from El Dorado, or thereabouts, down toward Karnak. Not a whole lot to do around there, but the scenery was nice at least.
I really enjoy Shades State Park. It is right next to Turkey Run State park, which is beautiful, amazing hiking, but the campgrounds are far too crowded. I highly recommend the 10 mile kayak trip at Sugar Valley Canoe Rentals! It goes through both state parks and is a perfect lazy day trip and a 20 minute drive from Shades state park. I go a few times a year with friends. If you're looking for very small campgrounds with not many visitors you can check out Hoosier Nation Forest. Its about 4 hours from Champaign. If you want a long weekend of backpacking / camping with beautiful scenery then come down to Kentucky to Red River Gorge. 5 hrs away, but Its worth the drive.
I'm from the sw suburbs (Joliet) and pickings are slim. There's the Kankakee state park, the I&M trail which is 50 miles from tinley to Peoria, there's a fairly large forest preserve around argon national lab in tinley/orland park, and also starved rock as another anon mentioned. I don't know southern IL too well. I gtfo'd and moved to northern MN.
I was thinking about checking out giant city when it warms up since I've been to starved rock and Shawnee. There are also a few decent places in Indiana I wanna hit like Turkey run and knobstone.