Campground
Art S.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Jul. 31, 2020

A sandy forest that is less visited with backcountry sites

This review is for the backpacking campsites within the Sand Ridge forest. The trail is a mix of sand and soil. It’s quite an unexpected discovery in Illinois. We didn’t see anyone else on the trail but we saw cars parked so hikers were out there. 

We stopped at 2 different campsites. They are just a short distance off the trail. Each was a small clearing with forest right up to the edge. A fire pit is also available. All the backpacking sites were empty so it seems that lots of options are possible. 

We didn’t come across water sources so we asked the ranger. He pointed out a couple spots the have spigots or hand pumps. Be sure to have a water supply before heading out. 

The longest loop is just under 15 miles but you can do different loops together to increase mileage. There is prickly pear in this area so be careful where you step. We also were told to avoid a trail because it was sandy and a tough climb. The man said he breaks horses by riding them up the hill. If this is a concern, I recommend asking around to find the best trail for you.

This is a hidden gem right in the middle of Illinois.

  • Trails varied from wide to narrow. There are a few posts directing you but we referred to the paper map quite a bit.
  • One of the small backcountry sites you can backpack to
  • This small backpacking site had a concrete slab that could be your chair
  • Some trails are really sandy
  • Prickly pear loves it here - which I didn't expect in Illinois

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