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State Conservation Areas Guide

Last Update: April1, 2001

5. Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve

Location: On Bluff Road just south of Fults and north of Prairie du Rocher. [M-4]{P-6}
Features: Fults Hill Prairie is one of the last stands of virgin Prairie grass left in the state.
Hiking: There are two parking areas on the northeast side of Bluff Road.  The trail is a loop and begins at the base of the bluff, and climbs to the top. It is recommended that you use the Left (north) trail going up and the other comming down.  Once on top a side spur leads to to an overlook with a panoramic view of the flood plain and Missouri to the west.
Directions: To reach Fults Hill Prairie from Route 3 at Waterloo, take 156 west to Old Valmeyer and turn left (south) onto Bluff Road Just past the village of Fults there will be two parking areas on the left. From the south you take Route 3 south from Red Bud for 5 miles. At Ruma take Route 155 west to Prairie de Rocher, and take Bluff Road right (north) to Fults.

7. Illinois Caverns State Natural Area

Location: South of Waterloo, Illinois near Burksville. (Wild Cave)   [M-4] {P-6}
Features: For a totally differnt kind of hike, try traveling through a stream 100 feet below the ground. Illinois Caverns is a hidden wonder that few people know about. It is the only cave that has been operated commercially in Illinois. Illinois Caverns has an extensive array of spectacular cave formations, and it is a "wild cave", so special equipment is required. (See web site linked above for rules.) 
Hiking: Approximately 6 miles of the cavern's passages have been mapped by the Windy City Grotto, a caving group from Chicago. Over 3 miles of cave passageways are easily accessible, with the rest accessed by a wet crawl through a 24" high space. Much of the hiking is done in knee deep water, and a round trip to the sand crawl and back, while exploring the side tunnels along the way, takes approximately 5 hours.
Directions: To reach Illinois caverns take Route 3 south from Waterloo, Illinois Approximately 3 to 4 miles. After  the John Deere Dealership on the right take a right turn on Kaskaskia Road. Follow Kaskaskia Road to Burksville, and then take a left on KK Road (last street).  Next take a right on G Road, (first Road to the right) proceed approximately 3 miles. The entrance to Illinois Caverns will be on your right.
Cave Pictures

8. Kaskaskia River Fish and Wildlife Area
Baldwin Lake Conservation Area

Location: Office - R.R. 1, Baldwin, IL 62217, (618) 785-2555 [M-4,5] {P-7}
Features: The Kaskaskia River State Fish & Wildlife Area is one of the largest state-owned and managed sites in Illinois. Located 35 miles southeast of St. Louis, Missouri, the area comprises more than 20,000 acres and extends along the Kaskaskia River from Fayetteville to the Mississippi River in St. Clair, Monroe, and Randolph counties.
Hiking: The site office is located Northwest of the Baldwin Lake, and a 12-mile trail system exists on the site and is used by hunters, hikers, bird watchers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. These trails are closed to vehicular traffic. Please contact the site superintendent for a brochure showing these trails.
Camping/Picnicking: Primitive camping and picnicking are permitted on lands adjacent to the river. Please check with the site superintendent for locations and access information. All trash must be removed upon leaving.
Directions: To reach the Site Headquarters from the south one would access State Hwy. 154 and go to the town of Baldwin. In Baldwin turn north on 5th Street and travel 4 miles, passing the Illinois Power generating facility. At the intersection of 5th Street and Risdon School Road, turn west (left) and travel one mile to the park entrance gate. Turn left at the gate and follow the black top road to the site office sign. The site office is 1/4 mile south of this sign. 
To reach the Site Headquarters from the north one would access State Hwy. 13 and travel toward the village of New Athens. After crossing the Kaskaskia River look for the "Baldwin Lake" Highway sign and turn south. (Second right turn) Travel this blacktop road for 5 miles to the intersection of Risdon School Road and turn west (right). Travel on mile to the park entrance gate. Turn left at the gate and follow the black top road to the site office sign. The site office is 1/4 mile south of this sign.

13. Piney Creek Nature Preserve

Location: 11 miles South of Chester, Illinois off Illinois Route 3. [M-5] {Q-7} 
Features: The Natural Heritage division of the Department of Conservation has set aside this 500-plus acer tract as a nature preserve, which includes a Waterfall and Indian petroglyphs.
Hiking: From the parking lot a hiker has to walk about 1/2 mile and traverse fields to gain access to the trailhead.  The trailhead is well marked with
  a sign showing the loop trail. The trail is moderately dificult and begins by descending into a ravine. A tributary of Piney Creek will soon enter from the right with a large waterfall. The trail continues to descend along the ravine where the steep rock formations become more spectacular. The trail then turns sharply right and ascends the ravine entering the upland portion of the trail. The trail winds towards a field and then eventually along a high rock wall with petroglyphs and graffiti dating to the early 1800's. You will cross the creek again before joining the trail near the trailnead.

Directions: To reach Piney Hills Ravine at Piney Creek Nature Preserve, requires attention to directions because there are no signs marking the route. Proceed south from Chester on Il. Route 3 for about 11 miles carefully looking for the sign indicating the beginning of Jackson County. Take the first paved road on the left, which is Hog Hill Road. Go 4 miles north and the road will make a "T." rake the right fork for approximately 50 yards and then make an immediate left on a gravel road for 1.2 miles. (Still Hog Head Road) Turn left and proceed for 1.6 miles, and the small parking lot will be on the right. A gate marks the begining of the path to the trailhead.    Map 1.      Map 2.

16. Randolph County Conservation Area

Location: five miles north east of Chester in Randolph County. [M-5] {Q-7}
HIKING: The area is renowned for its wooded areas and abundance of songbirds and wildlife.  Hikers on the trail may see woodpeckers, hawks, turkeys, deer, squirrels and waterfowl as they wind through woods and open fields, and around the lakeshore. 11.6 miles of horse trails provide riders with the same panorama of sights and sounds.

19. Ten  Mile Creek Fish and Wildlife Area

Location: on IL Rt. 14, approximately 20 miles east of Benton, IL. [M-7] {P/Q-10/11}
HIKING: A hiking trail, which menaders through an area of upland forest, is located in the Goshen Trail Unit.

23. Washington County Conservation Area

Location: Four miles south of Nashville on Route 127.  [L-6] {P-8}
Hiking: For an invigorating walk, a seven-mile-long, marked trail is available. This trail circles Wacca Lake and hikers can enjoy viewing the majestic trees, beautiful wildflowers or the numerous birds and animals residing in the area.  Map, patches: Bob Schaltenbrand, Nashville Pharmacy (618) 327-8522.
Camping: 3 camping areas; Shadey Rest, Lonely Oaks and Little Bear, with facilities for tents and campers no other information available.
9 Sites, 7 Links.
Map Coordinates:The red coordinates [J-4] are used to locate the site on a state road map, published by the state of Illinois.The green coordinates { L-12} are used to locate the site on a Rand McNally Road Atlas. Any site that does not have camping  facilities are noted.