5 Best Hikes in Central Illinois

Many people don’t think of traveling to Central Illinois for a hiking trip, but the area has great hiking spots to offer and explore. Located only a two-hour drive from Chicago and less than an hour from Peoria and Springfield, Bloomington is the perfect place for a quick midweek or weekend getaway. Listed below are 5 of the many hiking spots we think you should check out in Central Illinois.

  1. Starved Rock State Park

Starved Rock State Park is located on the banks of the Illinois River and offers 13 miles of trails. With 18 different canyons and 14 waterfalls, this park is a must see. The park is open year-round, and every season is a great time to see the park. In the spring, it is more likely you will be able to see the waterfalls in their full effect. In the summer, enjoy the beautiful foliage and flowers. The changing of the leaf’s in the fall makes for a beautiful backdrop while hiking. Take a winter hike and see the waterfalls completely frozen over. Also, just down the road is Matthiessen State Park with additional trails to explore! Just take 39 North from Bloomington.

  1. Comlara Park

Comlara Park is located in Hudson, right on Lake Evergreen. There are over 20 trails around the lake that can be used for biking as well. If you want to take a break from hiking, the park offers boat rentals! Enjoy some boating, kayaking, or canoeing on the beautiful Lake Evergreen. A quick drive up 39 North from Bloomington will get you in the right spot.

  1. Constitution Trail

Located along the way of the abandoned Illinois Central railway, Constitution Trail offers approximately 37 miles of paved trail in town. This spot right here in Bloomington-Normal is perfect if you are looking for an easy hike with great sites. The trail is great to walk, run, bike, or even skate! (And you can stop at a local spot in North Normal for ice cream!)

  1. Dawson Lake Loop at Moraine View

This loop trail is located in Le Roy at Moraine View State Recreation Area and is great for all skill levels. There are multiple trails to choose from and great lake views of Dawson Lake. The trail is great for many activities like biking, running, bird watching, or dog walking. Just east of Bloomington, with a quick drive on I-74.

  1. Trail to the Glen at Rocky Glen park

Near Peoria, Trail to the Glen is a moderate hike with lots of elevation change. In total, the trail is about 1.1 miles. Make sure to check out the waterfall on the trail! The trail is used primarily for hiking, walking, or nature trips. This is just west of Bloomington and a quick ride if you take I-74.


Bloomington-Normal is the perfect home base if you want to check out any of these great spots above and more. Book a room with us for two nights at the Vrooman Mansion Bed and Breakfast so you can enjoy a good night’s sleep and eat a delicious three course gourmet breakfast before you head out for your hikes. Then when you return, relax and unwind in your private, luxurious bathroom. While you’re in town, check out some of our favorite local restaurants like Rosie’s, Mystic Kitchen, or Lucca’s for dinner which can even be delivered to the mansion


If you have ideas for other great hikes we should recommend to our guests, let us know!

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