The Ultimate Fall Road Trip through Carroll County, Illinois
Hello, fall lovers! As the leaves start to change and the air gets crisp, it’s the perfect time to embark on a road trip to experience the beauty of autumn in Carroll County, Illinois, located in northwest Illinois. From scenic drives to outdoor adventures, we’ve got you covered. So grab your pumpkin spice latte, and let’s hit the road!
Begin your journey by driving through the picturesque country hills and farmlands of Carroll County. The stunning sunsets will make you want to pull over and appreciate the views. Ensure your camera is ready because you will want to take advantage of these Instagram-worthy moments!
Mississippi Palisades State Park
This park is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts. “Palisades” is the word used to describe a line of tall, steep cliffs, usually seen along a river. Mississippi Palisades State Park, three miles north of Savanna, Illinois, lives up to its name. The park boasts 2,500 acres of recreation opportunities, including hiking, skiing, rock climbing, and birding. It has a robust trail system—approximately 15 miles. The five trails in the northern part of the park tend to be wider and less strenuous than the five in the south, which are narrow and extremely close to the bluff. The park is sure to please the most adventurous traveler!
At Spring Lake Campground in Savanna, the main goal is to give travelers of all ages an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives. Spring Lake is the entrance to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge. Its goal is to be a safe place for animals and a peaceful oasis for tourists. Since the 1940s, this one-of-a-kind event has been a trademark. When camping here, it’s like returning to a simpler time. The campground is more than just a place to park your camper or tent; it’s an old-fashioned camping trip that will leave a lasting mark. The fall foliage in October is a definite highlight.
Just a few miles north of Thomson, Illinois, you will find Ingersol Wetlands, an overlook of the Mississippi River, showing off Sloan Marsh’s beauty. This refuge and viewing area brings you back to a time before concrete and skyscrapers. The view from the overlook disappears into the horizon, with the Iowa bluffs more than five miles in the distance and the mighty Mississippi River in the forefront. This 36-acre site is situated in some of the Midwest’s finest untouched wetlands. It’s a sight you will remember!
The Great River Trail
Over 60 miles of the Mississippi River in northern Illinois, The Great River Trail is a beautiful way to see the river. In some places, the paved trail follows an old Chicago, St. Paul, Milwaukee, and Pacific Railroad section. From Savanna, the quiet route rolls across the sand prairie, past nature areas and farmland, and into Thomson. Watch for signs that tell you how to get from the paved trail to quiet roads in the area. The trail is excellent for all types of bikers.
So there you have it, folks! Carroll County is your ultimate destination for a fall road trip. This trip has something for everyone, from scenic drives and cozy stays to outdoor adventures and thrilling experiences. Pack your bags, and let’s make this fall unforgettable!