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Bluff Trail

Intermediate
 3.0 (1)

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


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Map Key

1.8

Miles

2.8

KM

97%

Runnable

680' 207 m

High

576' 176 m

Low

131' 40 m

Up

137' 42 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

8%

Max Grade (5°)

Dogs Leashed

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.

Contacts

Land Manager: Illinois DNR - Region I

Shared By:

Eric Ashley

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote

#24780

Overall
  3.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#245

in Illinois

#24,780

Overall
23 Views Last Month
762 Since Nov 21, 2016
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
Waterfall at the end of the Interior Canyon Trail. This water fall is also accessible by several stairs at the Matthiessen Lake Shelter parking lot.  The road to the Matthiessen Lake parking lot is a single lane gravel road next to a golf course.
Jun 17, 2020 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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