Matthiessen State Park

4.50 out of 5
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The park has 5 miles of well-marked, well-surfaced hiking trails for a relaxing walk or a vigorous hike. Large trail maps are located at all major trail intersections so visitors can choose a variety of routes. The upper area and bluff tops are easy hiking paths for the novice, but the trails into the interiors of the two dells may be difficult to negotiate, particularly during spring and early summer. Hikers must stay on marked trails, as steep cliffs and deep canyons can be dangerous. Hikers will marvel at the plant and animal life along the trails, and have an unparalleled view of geological wonders as they travel through the park. Alcohol is prohibited on all trails.
Trail length: 5 miles
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  • Posted by TrailAPI on January 5, 2013


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    Reviews of Matthiessen State Park

    Reviewed by Terry Warren on September 2, 2015

    (2 out of 3 members found this review useful.) Reply to Review
    The lesser-known little sister of nearby Starved Rock State Park, you shortchange yourself if you make a trip to the area for Starved Rock without also visiting Matthiessen. Smaller and more austere, this park is also more primitive, pristine and intimate than its big sister a couple of miles northeast.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the other reviewer who states that the dells area is a superior hike than the river area. For horse enthusiasts, there is also an equine trail, and each of the three areas has its own entry road from Rte. 178.

    The dells area features canyons and waterfalls. The Cascade Falls and the Lake Falls are, in my opinion, even more amazing than the beautiful waterfalls at Starved Rock and the winter icefalls are magnificent!
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    Reviewed by James Tracy on June 15, 2014

    (4 out of 4 members found this review useful.) Reply to Review
    NOTE: There are 2 different trails/areas! The Dells (5 stars) and the riverfront(3 stars).

    Why the difference in stars? The dells take you through canyons, rock formations, a lake, and a forest. The riverfront features a typically dried up river, and just a forest. The dells area is one of the coolest hikes in the state of IL. There are a couple of small caves, plenty of waterfalls to see, and small canyons to walk through. It's a must see, and is actually a better hike than the nearby starved rock.

    The riverfront isn't bad, it's just plain and normal. The hike is fairly easy, through a full forest. There isn't anything wrong with that, and it's a decent hike for starters. I just have issues with it because I'm beyond a quick walk through the woods. It's worth checking out once, but if you make the drive to matthiessen, and only get to pick one spot, the dells are far better.
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    Matthiessen State Park 4.50 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 2 user reviews.

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