Illinois State University is surrounded by beautiful natural areas. If you know where to look, it’s easy to find a great place to spend an evening hiking, a day of kayaking, or a weekend camping. Below is a non-exhaustive list of some of our favorite areas to help you get connected to new friends, passions, and personal development. We encourage you to visit 1020 Gregory Street for additional resources to find exactly what you need to Live Your Adventure.
Friends of Constitution Trail is an organization that works to support, expand, and maintain this great bike trail. Through membership dues, donations, and grants, they help fund drinking fountains, signs, benches, landscaping, and shelters. They have regular service days to help maintain the trail.
Within 100 miles of Bloomington-Normal, you will find some of the most beautiful areas in the state that yield opportunities for both land and water based activities. Don't be afraid to find new places to connect with your community and environment.
Comlara Park is located just a 20 minute drive from ISU, this beautiful park features paved biking trails, maintained mountain biking trails, hiking trails, campsites, and surrounds the large Evergreen Lake. This is a popular place for ISU Adventure Kayaking trips, and canoes and small boats are also permitted on the lake. Surrounded by farmland, this park offers a quiet oasis of nature that is not far from home.
Starved Rock State Park has some of the best hiking trails in the Midwest. Trails reach 13 canyons and travel along the southern banks of the Illinois River. A number of canyons have beautiful waterfalls. There is also Starved Rock itself, named for a historic battle, that offers sweeping views of the river and local bald eagles nests. There is camping and lodging available upon reservation.
With fully developed facilities for picnicking, camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, boating, horseback riding, and hunting, the 1,687-acre Moraine View State Recreation Area, with its 158-acre lake, is a beautiful, convenient, and accessible locale for relaxation and recreation.
When the glaciers of the last Ice Age moved through central Illinois 15,000 years ago, they pushed massive amounts of rock and earth before them, leaving in their wake long and expansive ridges that ripple across the landscape. These irregular crests are called moraines, and on their gentle swells and their broad valleys are scattered groves of white oak, red oak, black walnut, maple, hickory, ash, and elm.
Moraine View State Recreation Area, just minutes east of Bloomington/Normal off I-74, provides an ideal opportunity to enjoy both the tranquil natural beauty of Midwestern woodland and refreshing outdoor activity.
Where in Illinois can you go running or hiking, canoeing, fishing for trout, camping, hunting, or scuba diving -- all against a backdrop of breathtaking natural beauty? Kickapoo State Recreation Area near Danville in Vermilion County, that's where. The site is easily reached via Interstate 74.
Kickapoo State State Recreation Area's 2,842 acres now provide an outdoor playground with something to appeal to every member of the family. Twenty two deep-water ponds, ranging in size from 0.2 to 57 acres, provide a total of 221 acres of water for boaters, canoeists, and anglers. Lushly forested uplands and bottomlands along the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River is habitat for enough birds, wildlife, and wildflowers to please any nature lover, while nature and running trails provide pathways to inspiration and physical fitness. If you want a less demanding excursion in the o utdoors, there are facilities for camping and picnicking.
Kickapoo owes its crystal clear ponds and luxuriantly forested ridges and hillsides to the regenerative powers of nature. Nearly a century of coal production using surface-mining techniques devastated the landscape. But during the past 50 years, trees and vegetation have reclaimed naked ridges of subsoil, and stagnant mine ponds gradually have cleared.
The park apparently was the first in the nation built on surface-mined land, and one of the first to be subsidized through public contributions. The state's 1939 purchase of 1,290 acres of mined lands from United Electric Coal Co. was largely underwritten with contributions collected from Danville area residents.
If you’re looking for the ideal place to drop your line and catch a record fish, look no farther than Clinton Lake State Recreation Area. Recreational opportunities abound at this 9,300-acre facility, just 3 miles east of Clinton in central Illinois. From picnicking, hiking, and camping, to swimming, water skiing, and boating, to hunting for upland game, people from all over the Midwest flock to Clinton Lake to enjoy the great outdoors. The North Fork Trail offers some of the hilly-est, and rugged trails in the area, making it a favorite for our 11-mile hiking trip!