Our how-to guide on taking advantage of the best weather of the year!
The best is yet to come. We have finally entered Central Illinois' best months of weather to get outdoors. August-October brings cool nights and still hot days allowing us longer rides, more energetic hikes, and better sleeps under the stars. If you're looking to get out more this fall, here are a few of our favorite places to take a leisurely bike, muddy up the mountain bike, break in your new hiking boots, backpack for the weekend, and camp with the kiddos. Don't miss peak season for fall color this year and plan your outdoor activities mid to late October. Stop in the store and pick up one of Bushwhackers 'Getaway Guides'!
Take a ride on the Rock Island Trail, a 29.1-mile paved bike path that runs from Morton to Tulon. Our Favorite stops on the RIT are Obed and Isaac's, Last Chance Bar & Grill, and Cyd's in the Park for a bite to eat. Or grab a pint at the Bearded Owl, Pour Bro's Taproom, or Industry Brewing.
Commuting? We've got the stuff to keep you safe and efficient from lighting to water and wind gear.
New to the area and love mountain biking? Join PAMBA, Peoria Area Mountain Bike Association, to stay connected! Here is OUR list of the area's mountain bike parks:
1. Kinsey Park - All levels. Take the kids, learn to MTB, or build your Cross Country Skills with winding intertwined trails and a Wizard of Oz theme!
2. Wildlife Prairie Park - From pump tracks to long distances, Wildlife is an excellent choice with great views and a variety of scenery. 10 miles of trails. Stop off across the road for native wildlife and nature exhibits!
3. Farmdale Reservoir - Go big on the dirt jumps or spend an afternoon on 15 miles of open stretches and twisty trails.
4. Black Partridge Park - Creek crossing and bridges make for a fun ride with 8 miles of single track.
5. Independence Park - Climbs, berms, rocklines, fast downhill lines. "Indy" reminds us of a little more west.
6. Dirksen Park - Fast descents, twisty single track, and a hint of North Shore.
7. Jubilee College State Park - Excellent for bike packers to the pack-out sites with miles of trails.
Robinson Trail - One of our favorite local places to hike. Take a 12-mile out and back to Camp Wakonda on well-groomed trails.
IL River Bluff Trail - a moderate-level trail, that gives you great views of the Illinois River. Excellent for catching some fall color!
Forest Park Nature Center - Enjoy seven miles of hiking trails through both forested woodlands and prairie openings, guided hiking tours, natural history museum, a bird observation room & kid friendly. No pets are allowed here.
Jubilee College State Park - This 200-acre park, located in Peoria County between the towns of Kickapoo and Brimfield, just off U.S. Route 150, boasts fields of sunflowers and wildflowers, water crossings, and well-kept campgrounds.
Best Places to Rent a Cabin
Wildlife Prairie Park - Best park for a weekend with the kids! Miles of trails, educational wildlife exhibits, a train and caboose, and beautifully updated cabins along lovely lakes. The best part is that you never have to leave the park!
Sankoty Lakes Resort - Tent cabin or wood cabin, this gorgeous resort leaves you feeling pampered and woodsy. Swimming lakes, restaurants, and trails.
Starved Rock - Cabins, big rocks, and miles of hiking trails, nestled along a beautiful view of the Illinois river...Don't miss Sunday brunch at the lodge!
Best Places to Tent Camp
Jubilee College State Park - 200 acres of trails and well-maintained campgrounds. Located in Peoria County between the towns of Kickapoo and Brimfield, just off U.S. Route 150.
Wildlife Prairie Park - Tent camping close to amenities, tent rentals for extended/overnight stays, picnic sites, snack stand, and of course, the wildlife and so many trails.
Sand Ridge State Forest - Our one and only, very unique, and beautiful backpacking area. Sand Ridge has 12 backpacking campsites, beautiful pines, and sandy trails.
Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area Water Trail - This 2.5-mile loop trail from the East Entrance hosts an array of wildlife from white swans and swimming deer to many species of birds and turtles. Kayak, canoe, or SUP your way through acres of lotus pads, or head out into the wide open.
Wildlife Prairie Park - Bring your own, or indulge in their kayak rentals! Wildlife has a handful of beautiful bodies of water! Wildlife hosts our Stand Up Paddle Board Classes. Sign up online at bushwhacker.com
Gear up, Make Tracks!