|View from the pair of camel hump hills which were sculpted by glaciers|
Glacial Park seems like an unusual name for a Chicagoland nature reserve as the closest glacier is thousands of miles away. Nonetheless the flatness of much of the upper midwest as well as the great lakes is due to extensive glaciation which occurred less than 10,000 years ago. The hilly, rugged terrain and hundreds of lakes which seem to form a ring around the entirely flat Chicago region are the terminal moraines of ancient glaciers. Hence, the bulk of Chicago's hiking trails are concentrated in this ring of hills which stretched from the Wisconsin border near Chain-o-lakes and eventually looping around through Palos Hills, Tinley Park and the Indiana border.
Here's a map-
Again, we're not finding the immense topographic relief that would be seen in my prior two states but the rugged terrain starkly contrasts most of what Illinois is thought of. In fact, this area has some of the highest altitude in the state. It was even a pretty drive to get here.
I parked at the Lost Valley Visitor Center which is an impressive building but was closed the day I was there. Trail maps and interpretive guides are available all year and the park is open from dawn to dusk every day. I imagine this are holds wonderful spring and fall hiking but it was lovely even in the early winter.
|Popular place to bring some dogs|
|Rural Illinois is scenic even in the winter|
The trails wind up and down the hills and meander through the marshes and bogs which are characteristic of a post-glacial environment. I could imagine that those more experience in bird and wildlife watching would like this area in the proper seasons. Slow walking and ample time for wildlife observation were encouraged on these gentle trails.
|The park's bog|
The trail wanders along the banks of Nippersink creek which was at high flow after a significant storm. During gentler times, the creek is frequently paddled by canoeists and kayakers. Wish I had brought my boat!
|Nippersink Creek and the glacial hills|
|Camelhump Glacial Kame "summit"|
Read. Plan. Get Out There!