Best Place to Hike - 2004
Can't take another minute of traffic, pollution and asphalt? Turn off your cell phone, lace up your hiking boots and take a marvelous, curvy drive along the Mississippi River to Pere Marquette State Park, located 45 miles north of St. Louis at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. From the visitor center, take the Goat Cliff Trail to McAdams Peak, a 372-foot-high lookout point above the Illinois River. In the fall, you can witness the fiery red and gold of the oak, hickory, maple and basswood forests that blanket the river bluffs. From December to March, watch for America's granddaddy of birds, the bald eagle, with its wingspan of between six and seven and a half feet, in the treetops along the Illinois or soaring overhead. In the spring, as you take the Ridge and Dogwood trails back down to the visitor center, be on the lookout for purple iris and orange-yellow clumps of puccoon flowers. After the two-mile, hour-and-fifteen-minute hike, you'll be primed to stop in Grafton for fried catfish on the way home.