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--- news (10/18/2012)
As the weather turns cooler don’t turn indoors head to the trails for a brisk fall hike. Many people already know about the local beauty of the Morton Arboretum, Cantigny or walking paths but here are a few other less common hiking destinations that will showcase all the splendor fall has to offer.

Waterfall Glen

The 2,472-acre Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Darien is one of the most ecologically impressive parcels of open space within the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, if not northern Illinois. Hikers, bicyclists, horseback riders and cross-country skiers can enjoy some of Waterfall Glen’s most scenic areas via four mapped trails, which contain almost 11 miles of limestone- and turf-covered routes.

Mississippi Palisades State Park

The gateway to seeing the park’s impressive assortment of plant and animal life is its rugged 15-mile trail system. The five trails in the northern part of the park are generally wider and less strenuous than the five in the south, which are narrow and extremely close to the bluff. They do have a trail for the accommodating to the physically challenged

Illinois Beach State Park

Stretching leisurely for 6.5 miles along the sandy shore of Lake Michigan in northern Illinois, Illinois Beach State Park encompasses the only remaining beach ridge shoreline left in the state. Illinois Beach is a unique and captivating natural resource for all to enjoy. It was created by the titanic forces of glacial advance and retreat and the steady winds that swept across expansive Lake Michigan. The park has dunes and swales with sprawling marshes, forests of oak and vast arrays of animal life and vegetation.

Devils Lake State Park

There are 29 miles of trails in the park, ranging from easy strolls along a paved pathway along the lakeshore, to a rocky hiking ascent up the south face of the East Bluff. You may combine different trail sections to custom-create a loop for you and your family – from a simple stroll, a circumnavigation of the lake, to a 10 or 15 mile day hike that includes vistas, woods, meadows, glacial moraines, talus slopes, and ridgetop backwoods. The park has 1.5 miles of trail that are accessible for people with disabilities

Kettle Moraine State Park

Hikers can enjoy over 160 miles of rolling hills through pine plantations, prairies and southern hardwood forests. Trail maps help to prepare you for the distances you will encounter and the natural areas that will surround you when you hike. Hiking is available on the Scuppernong, Emma Carlin, John Muir and Nordic trails, as well as the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. There are also several shorter self-guided nature trails.

Giant City State Park

If you have a weekend a visit to Giant City State park in the southern portion of the state is worth the drive, the views are breathtaking. Whether you have a day or a weekend at Giant City State Park, spend some time on the spectacular hiking trails. Trails range from 1/3 mile to 12 miles, so take your pick! Be sure to get an interpretive trail guide at the Visitors Center. In addition, visitors can pick up checklists for trees, birds, amphibians/reptiles and wildflowers at the Center.

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