The River Ridge Backpacking Trail is a very refreshing discovery and get away in central Illinois. Though not the longest trail it is an entertaining trail winding through ravines and acrossing many small streams. Almost all of the hike is on forested land and the hills are generally quick (25-35ft and switchback free). Some streams can be a challenge to cross depending on the time of year, but we've seen young boyscouts taking on the trail with no problems. Speaking of scouts the trail is really setup for larger group camping so ask ahead to see how busy your weekend will be. From group camp to east camp is a couple hour hike, but with larger groups the stream crossings can really slow you down so plan on a good part of the afternoon to complete the hike. THe hike is marked in the clockwise diretion only.

"The trail is marked by red arrows, orange plates or orange bands around the trees. Markers must be used in conjunction with the map for guidance. Total length of the trail is approximately 11 miles. Markers may not be visible if walking trail in reverse. The trail begins at the Staff Office on the Old Barn Trail. From here, the trail follows the Deer Meadow Trail to Sycamore Hollow Campus. From the campus follow the Willow Creek Trail and Primitive Loop. Water is available here except during winter months. The first campsite is available at the Group Campgrounds. The second campsite is located at the east camp on the extreme east end of the trail. There are no facilities for water at either camp, but there are restrooms. Winding through the Duffin Nature Area, the Back Pack Trail intersects the Big Woods Trail and leads to the entrance drive road. After crossing the road, the trail follows the southern boundary of the park, past the Doris Westfall Prairie, and back to the Staff Office." Backpacking trail rules by VCCD

From Westville:

  • Head south on IL-1/S State St/US-150
  • Turn left at Clingan Ln
  • Turn right at N 1750 E Rd/County Rd-1750 E
  • Turn left at E 950 N Rd/County Rd-950 N
  • Turn right at N 1850 E Rd
  • Continue on E 900 N Rd/County Rd-900 N - park enterance on left

Backpacking at Forest Glen Preserve

The River Ridge Backpack Trail at Forest Glen Preserve just south of I-74 near the Illinois/Indiana border offers some of the finest backpacking outside of southern Illinois. The 11 mile backpacking loop has two designated sites that camping is allowed at. Both sites have room for 4-5 good sized groups, are generally flat and have garbage cans and a toliet. Some sites also have a picknic table or two. Despite sounding well equiped the eastern camp area in particular has a "out there" feeling, nicely situated up a large hill from the Vermilion River, a protected water way. A regstration form must be submitted to the park office 1 week before your trip.

"Founded in 1968, Forest Glen Preserve is 1800 acres in size. It is located seven miles east of Westville on County Highway 5. It is rated number three botanically in Illinois and consists of beech-maple and oak-hickory forest types. There are four registered Illinois Nature Preserves within the park ( Duffin Woods, 200 acres; Forest Glen Seep, 11 acres; Howard's Hollow Seep, 30 acres), and Doris L. Westfall Prairie (40 acres). There is also a twenty-two acre savanna restoration area." Hiking trails info provided by VCCD

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