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Bluff Trail

Easy/Intermediate

Trail

1.8 mile 2.8 kilometer loop
97% Runnable
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 131' 40 m
Descent: -137' -42 m
High: 680' 207 m
Low: 576' 176 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 8% (5°)

Dogs

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Trail shared by Eric Ashley

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Minor Issues 15 days ago See History

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A short loop around the Dells area with plenty of views along the way.

Eric Ashley

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife

Matthiessen State Park is open from dawn to dusk.

Swimming, wading, scrambling on the rocks, and possessing alcohol are all prohibited in Matthiessen State Park.

Runner Notes

This trail provides a short and interesting run with enough flights of stairs to keep your heart pumping.

Description

The Bluff Trail is a mostly gravel doubletrack trail that loops around the Upper and Lower Dells and provides views down into both from various vantages. The Bluff Trail can be traveled in either direction from where it starts on either side of the Entrance Stairs Connector. This description is for the counterclockwise direction.

From the parking area, descend the Entrance Stairs Connector to the junction with the Bluff Trail, and take a right. From here, the wide trail gently climbs for over a half mile before descending to a large bridge that crosses over the dam and Lake Falls. The view straight down the face of the falls and into the canyon is quite impressive.

The trail continues descending past the upper end of the Interior Canyon Trail, Interior Canyon Trail Connector, and the lower end of the Interior Canyon Trail before it arrives at the middle bridge. Keep to the right to circle around the Lower Dell, eventually descending a long set of wooden stairs.

Enjoy a bird's-eye view from the lower bridge before climbing past the Bluff Trail Extension to end across from where the trail started at the Entrance Stairs Connector.

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Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote

#21415

Overall
  3.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#161

in Illinois

#21,415

Overall
9 Views Last Month
418 Since Nov 21, 2016
Easy/Intermediate

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Photos

I lived 20 mins from this park until I was 19 years old. I never knew about it until I came back home when I was 30 years old. An overcast morning long exposure on the Canyon Trail.
Sep 11, 2017 near Deer Park, IL
View from the lower dell at Matthiessen State Park.
Nov 21, 2016 near Deer Park, IL
Lake Falls waterfall.
Sep 11, 2016 near Deer Park, IL
A short waterfall along the Canyon Trail at Matthiessen State Park.
Nov 21, 2016 near Deer Park, IL
A short stop to enjoy the view.
Sep 11, 2017 near Deer Park, IL

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