IMG_0904Are you looking for a new place to trail run? Have you had the urge to freeze during an overnight camping trip? If you are near northern Illinois, Rock Cut State Park is the place to go.

The park contains 40 miles of hiking trails as wells as 23 mountain biking trails and 14 equestrian trails. The trails also allow access to the Willow Creek Bike Trail and Perryville Path along with the Puri Trail.

In the winter, cross-country skiing and ice fishing are available. I’m still not a convert to winter camping, but the campsIMG_0907ites are open year-round at this park.

I was surprised at how large this park was. I hiked for about two hours and saw only a portion of the park. Rock Cut State Park is the largest state park in northern Illinois, covering 3,092 acres.

My dad can attest, I’m not exactly an observant hiker. He has pointed out countless unique scenes on hikes I never would have seen. I hiked Rock Cut alone, and without my dad, I’m sure I missed plenty.

Because of my insufficient skills of observation, it wasn’t until I was five feet away that I noticed four deer on the path in front of me. My face matched the four animals’ deer-in-the-headlights look. After a tensed staring contest, the deer heard the hiker behind me and leapt away.

Rock Cut State Park may seem like most state parks, however, your experience depends entirely on your attitude. Go to Rock Cut State Park for a weekend of camping, swimming and hiking. Personally, I’m looking forward to returning in the spring for a day of mountain biking. I’ll see you there.