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Apple River Canyon State Park, Apple River

(4.2/5 based on 35+ reviews on the web)
Apple River Canyon State Park is an Illinois state park on in Jo Daviess County, Illinois, USA. The park was begun with land purchased by the state in 1932, as a result of a prolonged campaign led by botanist Herman Silas Pepoon; with additional acquisitions since, of land have been preserved to protect much of an 8+1/2mi long canyon on the Apple River.The river canyon is part of the Driftless Area of Illinois, a region that was bypassed by the last ice age; "the glacial sweep which ironed out hills and filled valleys in other parts of the state left this area unscratched". During the dramatic events that surrounded the end of the last Ice Age, the Apple River, which once flowed eastward into the Pecatonica River, reversed its original course and began to flow southwest through an erosion gorge to the Mississippi. The result is a deep canyon, part of which is preserved in the Park.The Apple River Canyon State Park, and the Land and Water Reserve within the park, offers hiking, fishing, and hunting on parcels of gorge land. There are several hiking trails through the woods with nice views of the river and bluffs, and a tent campground. Smallmouth bass live in the river.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The Lake is beautiful, there are trails around that are great hiking, some beautiful scenery. A nice place to relax and get away from the city. I understand fireworks over the lake are incredible on t...  more »
  • Hiking, enjoying the sounds and sights of an underused state park. The river and scenery are relaxing and colorful. Leaves are beautiful and they have many campsites. 
  • My wife, 14 year old son and I stayed at the park for 1 day on a Saturday and then camped over night. The campsite was well maintained and very large. There was a fire ring with a grate and a picnick ...  more »
Google
  • Beautiful place, we had an awesome family weekend here. And you can bring your pups!
  • Lovely state park. It would be nice if the trails were a bit better defined with more signage but that's a minor problem.
  • Kind of a hidden gem of a park. Great hikes.
  • BEAUTIFUL park with a gorgeous river that winds throughout
  • This is a great park for camping. There are plenty of sites you can reserve in advance, and another thirty for walk-up registration. All the sites are in a deeply wooded area and are separated from each other by trees and and underbrush. A night of camping in a non-electric site only costs $7. There are also plenty of hiking trails to explore the beautiful topography.