Category Archives: Adventure/Outdoor Illinois

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Bike Trails Feature Image

As warmer temperatures roll in, so do bikers, eager to get their wheels back out and put in miles towards another season. Whether you’re an avid cyclist or just looking for a leisurely afternoon ride, there is always somewhere new to explore. Bike trails around the state offer experiences that range in difficulty, from the easy ride to the intense climb, there’s a trail for every rider. So what are you waiting for? Hop in the saddle and get going!

Rolling agricultural fields, reclaimed strip mines, ravines, rocky streams and wooded bluffs dominate the northern half of the Tunnel Hill State Trail in Vienna. With 47.8 miles (one-way) of crushed gravel surface, extended inclines and dark tunnels, this trail is a difficult one. But if you’re up to the challenge, don’t pass up this Southern Illinois gem.

Tunnel Hill State Trail 1

Tunnel Hill State Trail

The southern half of the trail explodes with scenery that includes bottomland woods, ponds, streams and marshes. The trail, which winds through seven towns, even touches upon a handful of ghost towns that faded into the landscape after the trains here stopped running.

Tunnel Hill State Trail 2

Tunnel Hill State Trail

 

And in the opposite direction of Tunnel Hill, head up north to the Fox River Trail in St. Charles, 32 miles of biking, hiking and, in the winter, cross-country skiing featuring the scenic trails of the Fox River. Make this ride as easy or difficult as you like. There are plenty of spots to pull over and enjoy the scenery or snap a selfie, like the Carpenters Dam, Fox River Shores, Tyler Creek, Voyageur Landing, Shoemaker Nature Center and Fabyan Forest Preserve.

Fox River Bike Trail

The Fox River Trail in St. Charles

 

In Chicago, one the most popular outdoor spots is The 606, celebrating its first birthday this summer. This 2.7-mile rails-to-trails path is one of the newest additions to the city’s green space with gardens and parks lining the trail. Enjoy a more leisurely ride along this path, and in the warmer weather, expect to see lots of dogs, children and people enjoying the trail and various summer events.

The 606 - Courtesy of The Trust for Public Land

The 606 in Chicago (Photo credit: The Trust for Public Land)

 

Along the western edge of the state, cyclists nationally and internationally ride the 62.5 mile stretch the Great River Trail that runs from the Illinois Quad Cities to Savanna, Illinois. This trail isn’t just for the biking enthusiast. The whole trail system measures 10 feet in width to allow bikers and walkers plenty of passing room.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ben Butterworth Parkway

 

From panoramic river views and wooded trails, to prairie areas, backwaters and marsh areas, riders will also enjoy the scenic view and unique towns that call the banks of the Mississippi River their home.

These trails are also part of the Mississippi River Trail (MRT), a 10-state network of bike trails and bike-friendly roads that lines the Mississippi River from its headwaters in Minnesota all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.

– Illinois Office of Tourism

Feature Image

This week we asked our Instagram followers to share photos of how they beat the heat across Illinois. Check out a few of our favorite shots from around the state below! Be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured!

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out EnjoyIllinois.com.

Crown Fountain launch post- (at)delia.seeberg+

We kicked off this week’s challenge with this awesome photo of the Crown Fountain in Chicago by (at) delia.seeberg!

--Chicago River (at)katexplores+

What a great way to spend a hot summer day on the Chicago River! Thanks for the awesome photo (at) katexplores!

(at) aaron.coston+

Summertime was made for fishing! Thanks for sharing this gorgeous photo with us (at) aaron.coston

Chicago (at)betsybtizzle+

There’s always a breeze when you zoom along the Lakefront Trail! Thanks     (at) betsybtizzle for this great shot!

(at) ourlittlelifestyleblog+

This photo brings back great memories of summer vacation! Thanks for the great shot (at) ourlittlelifestyleblog!

Crab Orchard Lake (at) pfeiffman+

What better way to beat the heat than canoeing on Crab Orchard Lake! Thanks for sharing this awesome shot with us (at) pfeiffman!

Faban Wind Mill (at) lynette.diener+

This photo of Faban Wind Mill is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing with us (at) lynette.diener!

--Forest Way Grove (at) nwmyers+

This photo screams of summer! How fun is a day at Forest Way Grove? Photo by (at) nwmyers

Illinois state beach park (at) blakeswifelisa+

A bike ride along the lake? Sign us up! Thanks (at) blakeswifelisa for this shot at Illinois State Beach Park!

--Lake Michigan (at) smooth_jb+

Wishing we could spend every day on a boat. Thanks for sharing this awesome photo of Lake Michigan (at) smooth_jb!

Little Grassy Lake (at)nomadicvisuals+

Look at that sunset! What better way to end this week’s challenge than this gorgeous photo of Little Grassy Lake? Thanks to (at) nomadicvisuals for sharing with us.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Illinois Pets Feature Image

This week we asked our Instagram followers to share photos that featured their pets at Illinois attractions. Check out a few of our favorite shots from around the state below! Be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured!

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out EnjoyIllinois.com.

5.29.16 - Matthiessen State Park (at) elayeyouareaye

We thought this photo at Matthiessen State Park by @elayeyyouareye was the perfect way to kick off this week’s “pets” challenge!

Grand Red Line (at) dogsdochicago

How cool is this picture? Rambo the dog is hanging out on the Red Line platform in Chicago! Thanks @dogsdochicago for sharing with us.

Starved Rock State Park (at) sauk_it_to_me

Ok, you lead the way! Thanks @sauk_it_to_me for this awesome shot at Starved Rock State Park! We hope you had fun exploring.

Isle a la Cache (at) animatedann

What better way to spend a beautiful day outside than with man’s best friend? Thanks @animatedann for this great shot!

Altovineyard champaign (at) altovineyardschampaign

We can’t forget about our feline friends! This shot from @Altovineyardchampaign is purrfect for this week’s challenge.

Northwestern University (at) shirleygirly5

This fuzzy pup is leading the way across Northwestern University’s campus! Thanks @shirleygirl5 for sharing.

Navy Pier Ferris Wheel (at) theecrazydoglady

We can’t wait to ride the new Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier and neither can they! (Photo: @theecrazydoglady)

Soldier Field (at) dogsdochicago

How cute is this picture? Well-deserved reward for an awesome pet! (Photo: @dogsdochicago)

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Bloom Feature Image

This week we asked our Instagram followers to share photos that surround the theme “bloom.” Check out a few of our favorite shots from around the state below! Be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured.

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out EnjoyIllinois.com.

Cantigny Park - (at) ninababina77

To kick off our “bloom” challenge this week, we shared this beautiful photo taken in Cantigny Park by @ninababina77.

Geneva - (at) chrisburrichter

We can’t stop looking at the photos of #flowersonfargo. Loving all of them! (Photo by @chrisburrichter)

Cantigny Park in Wheaton - (at) chitown_vinnyd

Awesome photo taken at Cantigny Park in Wheaton by @chitown_vinnyd!

Chicago Botanic Garden - (at) c.kopeckyck1

We always love to see pictures of the beautiful flowers from the Chicago Botanic Garden! (Photo by @c.kopeckyck1)

Downers Grove - (at) eastgrovestampco

Loving the spring colors in Downers Grove! Awesome photo @eastgrovestampco!

Flowers on Fargo - (at) mollyko

Great capture by @mollyko in Geneva! Check out other photos from #flowersonfargo by searching the hashtag on Instagram.

Harms Woods - (at) marathonpundit

Great close up shot by @marathonpundit in Harms Woods!

Lake Forest - (at) katiegoingplaces

Daffodils are one of the classic spring flowers. Thanks for sharing this photo taken in Lake Forest @katiegoingplaces!

Legion Park - (at) i0nagirl

Instagramer @i0nagirl captured this colorful shot in Legion Park.

Long Grove - (at) igrex50

Nothing like a field of vibrant tulips to kick off spring! Thanks for sharing @igrex50.

Michigan Avenue - (at) stylemeetlife

You can find these purple and yellow tulips lining Michigan Avenue in Chicago! (Photo by @stylemeetlife)

St Charles - (at) michelefairall

How gorgeous is the light streaming through the blossoms on this tree? Thanks for sharing this shot from St. Charles @michelefairall!

University of Illinois - Champaign - (at) ilovekumihimo

Love the colors of these flowers taken at the University of Illinois by @ilovekumihimo!

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Feature Image REAL

Illinois has spring fever! Warmer weather has finally arrived and that means we’re all looking for ways to maximize time outside. Lucky for us, Illinois is home to more gardens and arboretums than we can count. With Arbor Day on April 29, we’ve rounded up statewide events and gorgeous garden spots where you can appreciate nature’s beauty and celebrate our native trees and plant life!

Morton Arboretum Arbor Day Celebrations

It’s the Morton Arboretum’s signature holiday and it is pulling out all the stops for its celebrations! From April 29- May 1, head out to Lisle to take part in the Children’s Garden Celebration, where kids get the chance to plant tree seeds, investigate tree cookies, and go on a hunt for unique trees. While in Lisle, be sure to take advantage of a special Arbor Day biking and walking tour of the Arboretum. In fact, on the 29th, if you dress like a tree, you get in free! If you’re looking to try out your green thumb, stop by Daley Plaza in Downtown Chicago, on April 29, for a special pop-up plant clinic!

Morton Arbroretum

The Morton Arboretum has a ton of events planned to celebrate its signature holiday! (Photo courtesy of Morton Arboretum)

Arbor Day Celebration in Godfrey

Join the Village of Godfrey as they celebrate the environment and all things trees at its Arbor Day Celebrations on April 29!  The festivities begin at 4pm in Glazebrook Park with a youth fishing derby followed by a special Memorial Tree Dedication. Kids will also get the chance to enjoy a wide range of environmental crafts, games and more. To top it off, the first 300 visitors will get a free redbud tree seedling to plant in their own backyards!

Godfrey Arbor Day Celebration

Godfrey’s Arbor Day Celebrations give residents of all ages a chance to give back! (Photo courtesy of Village of Godfrey)

University of Illinois Arboretum

There is a garden for everyone at the University of Illinois Arboretum! From the peaceful ponds to the Sen Cherry Tree Alley, you can choose your own adventure as you explore the 160 acres of this living laboratory. The Arboretum is also home to the Idea Garden, an ongoing project of the Master Gardeners of the Champaign County Extension Unit, which showcases the latest trends in botanical design. The Idea Garden is the perfect place to take a walk, get ideas for your own garden, or just to relax in the gazebo with a friend!

Univ Illinois- Idea Garden

The University of Illinois Idea Garden is the perfect learning environment for both novices and advanced gardeners! (Photo courtesy of University of Illinois Arboretum)

Quad City Botanical Center

Escape to Rock Island’s Quad City Botanical Center to experience indoor and outdoor gardens, including exotic tropical flowers, a 14-foot waterfall and a butterfly garden! The Botanical Center also hosts a one-of-a-kind Physically Enabling Garden, specially designed with raised flower beds to ensure that all guests are able to take in the beauty of the Center’s plant life.

Quad City Botanical Center

Open 360 days a year, the Quad City Botanical Center is always a great place to visit! (Photo courtesy of Quad City Botanical Center)

Chicago Botanic Gardens

Plan a day to get back in touch with nature at the Chicago Botanic Gardens! Set on nearly 400 acres of Chicago’s shoreline, the botanic garden is home to 26 gardens and four natural areas, each with its own unique theme. Sit under the canopy of native oak trees in McDonald Woods or the gold ginkgo trees of the Japanese Garden. For a truly unique experience, hurry in to catch a glimpse of the Botanic Garden’s giant titan arum, better known as the corpse flower, while its in bloom! It’s one of the plant kingdom’s rarest events and it is happening right now in the Semitropical Greenhouse.

Japanese Garden (at) cle_chi

The Japanese Gardens offer a peaceful place to spend an afternoon! (Photo by (at) cle_chi)

– Illinois Office of Tourism