Mainstream Adventures

When You Constantly Push Your Limits You Will Never Reach Them

Author: marklongmainstream (page 1 of 7)

Your Complete Guide To Winter Adventure

As you can tell by the cold weather, winter is almost upon us.  When the cold weather hits, all to often Adventure comes to a halt.  With that said I thought it was a good time to compile a list of some of the Midwest’s best winter adventures.  These activities are guaranteed to get the blood pumping, and give you the sense of Adventure you desire.

Visit Climb Iowa:

Escape the cold weather  with a trip to Climb Iowa, This indoor(Climate Controlled) climbing facility is located only 5 miles from Des Moines. With more then 10,000 square feet of climbing space and over 200 different routes, a fitness room, and a yoga studio, There is literally something for everyone, regardless of skill level. Climb Iowa offers day passes and monthly memberships. For more info call 515-986-2565

Kayak The Crystal City Underground:

In 2013 Marsan Canoe and Kayak Tours began offering one of the most amazing float trips available today. This experience is so rare, that I could not find any comparable trip in the entire United States. All tours are run by expert guides of great personality, who do an outstanding job both guiding the tour and providing an interesting/entertaining history of the mine.  Reservations can be made by calling: 636-208-5054

Visit Seven Oaks Recreation:

Seven Oaks is a great location year round for adventure, but in the winter months it turns into one of the states best ski resorts.   Offering guests a wide range of fun activities including, skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing.  The slopes consist of 11 runs, from beginner to expert, so no matter your skill level, your sure to find what your looking for at Seven Oaks. The ski resort also has a terrain park, rail yard, and a beginner area. For more information call 515 432-9457

Visit The Louisville Mega Cavern:

The Mega Cavern offers two amazing tours, the first tour is called Mega Zip, which is a 2 ½ hour guided Adventure, that takes you into never before seen sections of the Cavern. This tour features six underground zip lines, which includes a dual racing line which is over 900 feet long,a bunny zip, a Zip to Hell, the Cross Canyon Zip, and the Lake Canyon Zip, as well as two amazing challenge bridges. If you’re looking for an Adventure that will get your adrenaline pumping, the Mega Zip is the trip for you.  If your looking for a more relaxing Adventure, then check out the Mega Tram. This one hour tour takes you through many of the man made passages lurking beneath the city of Louisville. This tour gives seniors, children, and the physically impaired an amazing opportunity, for a little Adventure of their own all from the comfort of the Mega Tram.  For more information call (877) 614-6342

Learn How To Scuba Dive:

At Matt Leyden’s Dive Shop you can enjoy scuba diving in the middle of winter. Mastering a new skill is always a great way to spend the winter months, just think by spring time you could be a certified scuba diver! Classes are offered year round, and are taught by some of most experienced dive masters in the state. Matt Leyden’s Dive Shop is located in Clive, and offers classes all over the Des Moines area. For more information or to register for a class call 515-777-2751

Spend the Night in a Treehouse:

One weekend at Branson Treehouse Adventures, and you will never want to leave.  These charming log cabins very in size and style, so whether you’re looking for a great location for your next family reunion,  an amazing vacation destination , or just a romantic get away with that special someone you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for at Branson Treehouse Adventures.  For more information call 800-338-2504

Tour A Show Cave:

Talking Rocks Cavern has been referred to as Missouri’s Most Beautiful Cave! Which is quite an honor considering there are over 7,300 known caves in the state.  However just one peek inside and it’s easy to see why it has earned this prestigious nickname.  Cave tours consists of an hour long walk taking visitors on a breathtaking vertical descent into a subterranean wonderland.  For more information call 417-272-3366.

Spend The Night In a Cabin:

Bear Creek Cabins is a perfect location to spend winter break, and is also a popular location for many families during the holidays.  Words really can not do this place justice, a trip to Bear Creek is like taking a trip back in time.  The cabins are situated between the number 1 and number 2 ranked trout streams in the state, and offer breathtaking views year round.  I can’t think of a better location to get snowed in, then Bear Creek Cabins. They are several cabins of all different sizes available, so bring the whole family. For more information call 563-546-7722

Take  A Haunted Tour Of The Raven’s Grin Inn:

Conveniently nestled at the end of a dark, dead in road sitting on a cliff across from a cemetery,  lies the Raven’s Grin Inn!  Just the site of the building is enough to gives visitors chills.  The front of the old Victorian home is covered in gnarled tree limbs, a large metal skull anchors one end, half of a taxi cab hangs off the other. There is also a  mannequin firing the machine gun and the miniature steel tank. That’s just the outside.  Inside the house, gets even creepier. There is a labyrinth of twists and turns that would be easy to get lost in.  One of the passages was dug through the hard stone ground by the owner/tour guide. Another was constructed from old doors.   There is also a hidden slide that drops down into the wine cellar.  For more information call (815)244-4746

 

 

Explore Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Ha Ha Tonka State Park is one of the most amazing state parks you will find in the Midwest.  The park rests on more than 3,700 acres of rough, hilly, Ozark terrain.  Ha Ha Tonka is a popular destination for hikers looking to enjoy the 15 miles of pristine hiking trails.  The park is easy to navigate with a series of trails and boardwalks.

The park has been referred to as a geological wonderland, with sinkholes, caves, a natural bridge, and one of the largest natural springs in the state, it’s easy to see why.

One of the park’s most popular attractions is the ruins of a turn of the century stone castle.  Construction on the castle began in 1905, but it was destroyed in 1942 by a fire.  Today all that remains are the stone ruins resting on a hilltop overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks.

With so many amazing natural features, Ha Ha Tonka is one state park you will want to visit again and again.

Don’t Miss:  While visiting Ha Ha Tonka, be sure to visit the ruins of the castle.  This area offers breathtaking views of the park as well as a look at history.

Logistic’s:  The park is located on the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks, approximately 5 miles south of Camdenton Missouri.

Best Time:  Its always a great time to visit the park, however my favorite time to visit is during the fall, when the leaves begin to change color.

Pit Stop:  Every time i’m in the area, I stop into Pepperoni Bills Pizzeria in nearby Camdenton.  Sandwiches, salads, wings and delicious mouth watering pizza.  Pepperoni Bills is one of those places that’s worth a trip from anywhere.

Extended Play: Book a stay at the Tan-Tar-A  Resort, and cool off at the Timberfalls Indoor Waterpark. Located on the Lake Of The Ozarks.

Travel Smart:  When hiking i always suggest bug spray, and sunscreen.  Comfortable shoes are also a must.  I also suggest checking weather conditions before and during your hike, there is nothing worse then getting stuck out on a hike during in climate weather.

Are You Brave Enough To Conquer the Timber Ridge Ropes Course?

There was once a time when obstacle courses where reserved for boot camps and children’s activities during field days at school. Recently with the rise of popular TV shows such as American Ninja Warrior, and Wipe Out, obstacle courses have started popping up as a means of family fun.  No where is this more obvious then at Big Cedar Lodge in Branson. Who in 2017 added Timber Ridge Ropes Course to their amazing list of attractions on Fun Mountain.  This massive 4 story obstacle course is a perfect way to get your blood pumping.

The course features more then 60 different obstacles, including 2 zip lines, a balance beam, a swaying ladder, uneven bars, and a free fall of 40 feet off the  quick jump platform.

The course includes two zip-lines, a rolling log, a balance beam, a swaying ladder, and a 40 foot free fall from the QUICKjump platform.  There are more then 60 different obstacles spread out over 4 stories.

With so many rope’s challenges and obstacle courses around the country, you may wonder what sets Timber Ridge Ropes Course apart from the rest.  Well besides the breathtaking views of gorgeous Ozark country, this obstacle course takes place, high above a pit full of alligators and snakes.  The pit is here, for two very important reasons.  First it serves as a habitat, and home for 5 alligators,and one 20 foot python.  Second the pit adds a sense of adventure to those attempting to complete the course.

Don’t Miss:  One of the most popular attractions on Fun Mountain is the Thunder Alley Go-Carts!  The go-carts are NASCAR inspired and can reach speeds of 20 mph on the 1/4 mile track!

Logistic’s:  612 Devil’s Pool Rd, Ridgedale, MO

Best Time;  September and October are great times to visit.  The mountain is less crowded and the beautiful fall foliage is beginning to show its colors.

Extended Play:  Fun Mountain also has a gorgeous mini-golf course, a bowling alley you have to see to believe, and a gigantic indoor playground.

Travel Smart:  Completing the obstacle course requires, climbing, walking, pushing, pulling and a strong sense of balance.  Please only attempt the Timber Ridge Ropes Course, if you are physically fit to do so.  This is a vertical obstacle course, that takes you 40 foot in the air.  If you have a fear of heights, you may want to avoid this.   Closed toe shoes and comfortable clothing are required.

Illinois Is Home To One Of The Best Kayak Parks in the Midwest

Most people don’t realize it, but the Midwest is a hotbed for incredible float trips.  With countless rivers and lakes scattered throughout, its quite easy to see why.  Lately cities around the country have been transferring old dams into whitewater kayak parks.  These parks have provided a boom to local economies, attracting thrill seekers from around the country.

One of the most amazing of these kayak parks is located in the Land Of Lincoln, in Yorkville Illinois.   Yorkville is located in Kendall County about 50 miles south west of Chicago.  This small town sits right along the fox river and has a population of 19,000.

The Marge Cline Whitewater Course is part of Bicentennial Riverfront Park and is located in downtown Yorkville.  The park also has a playground, and fishing pier.

A day in the sun at this amazing kayak park is a perfect way to enjoy a warm summer day.  Weather its a canoe, kayak, or tube, there is no better way to travel Illinois.

This man made kayak park is 1,100 feet in length and the Fox River drops almost 6 feet between the eastern and western edges of the chute.  Providing the course with excellent rapids, that are safe enough for beginners, but still provide  thrill seekers with an amazing experience as well.

A 12 foot wide concrete path allows paddlers to walk their canoes, kayaks, or tubes back up the chute to travel down again and again.

A trip through the Marge Cline Whitewater course is a whitewater adventure that is like nothing you’ve experienced before. The kayak adventure of a lifetime can be found at 301 E Hydraulic Street in Yorkville Illinois.

The best part about the Marge Cline Whitewater course, is that its always free to use!

For those interested in renting a vessel, The Yak Shack, is open daily from 9 to 5.  Providing adventurers with canoes, kayaks, rafts, and tubes.

Aerie’s Resort Offers More Then a Great View

Many times on our quest to find the best adventures in the Midwest, we end up out in the middle of nowhere.  Surrounded by nothing but wilderness. While that type of trip is usually what I crave the most.  Every once in a while its nice to go on an adventure, without sacrificing comfort.

At Aerie’s Resort your treated to an incredible adventure with first class accommodations.   Whether you’re planning a romantic rendezvous for two, a fun retreat with friends, or a weekend adventure for the family, Aerie’s offers a variety of accommodations with something sure to fit your plans. If your looking for comfort, convenience, and the Best View in the Midwest, book your stay with Aerie’s.

This beautiful resort is also home to Grafton Zipline, which has 7 incredible lines totaling 2 miles in length. The ziplines range  from 300 feet to the longest line checking in at just over 1600 feet.  As is the case with any zipline course, its only as good as the views around it.  At Grafton Zipline you soar high above a lush forest  overlooking the confluence of the Illinois & Mississippi Rivers.

Aerie’s Resort and Grafton Zipline is so much more then just a beautiful resort and Canopy tour.  There is also an amazing winery.  The winery at Aerie’s Resort is the perfect choice for award-winning wines, fine dining, and live entertainment.

The Terrace at Aerie’s Resort is a unique venue for weddings, banquets, conferences, and corporate events.  The banquet room is gorgeous and has wrap around windows with panoramic views. There is also a 4,400 square foot outdoor deck overlooking  the lush green hillsides and rolling rivers.  Memorable events deserve an unforgettable setting and at Aerie’s Terrace you and your guests will have the experience of a lifetime.

Some people visit for the heart pounding rush of the Grafton Ziplines, others come to enjoy the fine dining and live music, others plan their trip for the award winning selection of wines, while some just come for the breath taking views surrounding the facility.  No matter what your reason is, we are sure you will have an amazing time at Aerie’s Resort and Winery.

For more information or to book your stay call:   (618) 786-9477 or visit

https://www.aeriesview.com/

 

Exploring Wildcat Den State Park

 Wildcat Den State Park is one of the most beautiful state parks in all of Iowa.  Combining preserved historical structures with natural beauty, and a wonderful trail system.  The unique trail system winds through a variety of different terrain and covers more then 4 miles on 420 acres of rugged beauty.  With 75 foot high cliffs and amazing rock formations scattered throughout, its easy to see why Wildcat Den is a favorite spot for hikers and outdoors lovers alike.

With so much  natural beauty, its easy to forget about the two historical attractions.  the first is the pine creek grist mill, built in 1848.  This mill is listed on the national register of historic places, and is one of the best examples of mid 19th century mills left in the country.  The other historical attraction is located near the south entrance, and is an early 1900’s era, one room school house.  These two attractions offer a glimpse into the past and are perfectly preserved and open for viewing throughout the summer months.

Wildcat Den State Park is also a great location for your next camping and picnicking, the park has 28 campsites with non modern restrooms.  There is also two shelters and a wide variety of picnic settings throughout the park, many with picnic tables and mounted charcoal grills.

Don’t Miss:   The Pine Grist Mill and bridge.  If hiking is not your thing, you can still make your way over to the pine mill bridge.  It’s only a short walk from the parking lot, but the view is breathtaking!  This section of the park is one of the most photographed locations in the state.  A popular destination for prom and engagement photos.   There is also a waterfall located just behind the mill.

 Logistic’s:  From Highway 22 turn North on Wildcat Den Road, follow road for 1 mile to the park entrance.  1884 Wildcat Den Road, Muscatine.

Best Time:  It’s always a good time to visit Wildcat Den.  Although visiting during mild weather is my favorite time to visit.

Pit Stop:  The Buffalo Shores Parkway is located less then 8 miles from the park, and offers camping and fishing.  The parkway also features a long sandy beach perfect for swimming or relaxing on the Mississippi River.

Extended Play:  West Lake Park is only 14 miles away, and has rental cabins, fishing, camping, paddle-boat rentals, and a beach area to dip your toes in the water.

Travel Smart:  As always when hiking, remember to pack weather appropriate clothing and comfy shoes.  I also recommend bringing sandals or a water shoe, as there are several different opportunities to cool off by wading into the pine creek which runs throughout the park.  Remember to pack plenty of water for your trip, bug spray, and sunscreen may also be a good idea.

Exploring Maquoketa Caves State Park

Maquoketa Caves State Park:  This beautiful state park is one of the most popular in the entire state.  Located in Jackson County, sitting just Northwest of Maquoketa.  The park rests on more then 360 acres of rough, hilly terrain.  In 1991 111 acres on the east side of the park became listed as a historic district.   Maquoketa Caves State Park has more caves then any other park in the state.  The trail system, offers a beautiful hike, that links together the caves, rock formations, and scenic overlooks.

White settlers discovered the cave’s in 1834, after 2 hunters tracking a deer stumbled upon the dance hall cave.  Over the years various artifacts such as  pottery, tools and arrowheads made of stone, have been found in and around the park.   This indicates that the caves have been visited by humans for hundred’s maybe thousands of years.

The park features 16 accessible caves, which offer great caving  for experienced and inexperienced cavers alike.  The hiking trails are just over 6 miles in length, and are a great way to see the park.  There is also a campground with 29 campsites, 17 of which have electrical hookups.

Don’t Miss:  The dance hall cave,is the largest cave in the park.  Checking in at over 1000 feet in length, this cave is partially developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and has a paved walkway, along with a lighting system.  For the more adventurous park visitors, be sure to check out the Wye Cave, for some of the best spelunking in Iowa.

Logistic’s:  Located Northwest of Maquoketa, from Highway 61, take Y31 west till you turn right  onto 98th street, follow the winding road into Maquoketa Caves State Park.

Best Time:  From Memorial Day to Labor Day the park is pretty busy.  I suggest visiting during a weekday to avoid the crowds.

Pit Stop:  After all that hiking, your sure to have worked up an appetite.  Swing into Bluff Lake Catfish Pond for a delicious home cooked meal.  This charming restaurant sits on the waters edge, nestled between a dense forest and a beautiful rock bluff.  Time your trip right and you might catch a 25 foot waterfall flowing over the bluff into the lake as you enjoy your meal.

 

Travel Smart:   You are hiking and spelunking so comfortable shoes are a must.  This is a trip in which you might get a little muddy, so bringing a change of clothing may be a good idea.  In addition to clothing, you will want to pack cool drinking water, bug spray, sunscreen, and most importantly flashlights.

Dogwood Canyon Is An Adventure You Won’t Want To Miss

Dogwood Canyon  has been described as an outdoor wonderland just waiting to be explored.  This Midwestern paradise is spread out on more then 10,000 acres of ruggedly beautiful terrain.  The park has 4 waterfalls, 2 lakes, and a beautiful meandering stream, that winds its way through the canyon.

The 6.5 mile paved walking trail guides you past gorgeous limestone bluffs and tumbling waterfalls!  Beautiful rainbow trout swim in clear spring-fed waters, easily visible as you pass by. Native Ozark wildlife can be seen throughout the wilderness park as you walk or hike on the many trails available.

There are currently several different ways to explore Dogwood Canyon:  Hiking, Horseback riding, Segway Tours, Tram Tours, by Bicycle or by private tour.

A trip to Dogwood Canyon is as much educational as it is adventurous.  On the tram tour guests will learn the unique history of the land from knowledgeable guides. There are also fly fishing programs, and the education center is a great place to learn about the beauty of the Ozarks.

While  the area is surrounded with breathtaking natural beauty.  Some of the man made attractions are equally appealing. Dogwood Canyon  features a gorgeous  chapel, a covered bridge of Amish design, and one of the most amazing treehouses you will ever see.

The park is owned and managed by the Dogwood Canyon Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the canyon’s natural plant and wildlife environment.

 Don’t Miss: The private tour is an amazing way to view the park.  This is a two hour long guided tour, that takes visitors to parts of the park that very few have seen before.

Logistic’s:  2038 West State Hwy 86 Lampe, Missouri 65681

Best Time:  The fall is my favorite time to visit, the canyon is so beautiful with the fall foliage .  Plus the cooler temps make being outside more enjoyable.

Pit Stop:  Visit Cosmic Cavern, just 7 miles away from Dogwood Canyon.  Cosmic Cavern is one of Arkansas most beautiful natural attractions!

Extended Play:  Spend the night in a tree house at Branson Tree-House Adventures, located just 18 miles away.

Travel Smart:  With most outdoor activities, you need comfortable shoes, sunscreen and bug spray.  For this trip i also recommend a good camera.  There is so much beauty to be found in Dogwood Canyon, you will need a good camera.

For more information visit: http://dogwoodcanyon.org

Kayak the Current River

Kayak The Current River:  The current river is one of the most beautiful water trails in the Midwest.  With crystal clear water, towering bluffs, and several caves right on the water.

But its not just the spectacular views that make this float trip special.  Its also the rich history of the area. During your float trip you will pass several points of historical interest, including an old school house from the 1800’s. There is also two abandoned cabins. The Howell-Maggard Cabin built in the early 1800’s, which has ties to the legendary Jesse James.  The other cabin is below Pulltite Springs, and was built in the French style in which the logs are placed upright so as not to have to notch them.  This cabin was finished in 1913, and is still open for exploration today.

The Current River is spring fed and moves through stunning Ozark landscapes, with bluffs ranging in height from 12 feet to 200 feet. The water has a constant year round temperature of 58 degrees.  Which makes it one of only a few places, you can kayak in the middle of winter.

On the International Scale of River Difficulty, the Current River ranks as a Class 1 river, the easiest and safest rank. It is enjoyable for both beginners and experts. A float trip on the Current River is an experience you won’t forget.

Don’t Miss:  Allow yourself extra time to explore the area.  There are several hidden caves in the area, multiple fresh water springs, and even the ruins of an abandoned hospital hidden behind Welch Springs.

Logistic’s:  The Current River forms in the southeastern portion of the Ozarks of Missouri and flows southeasterly out of the Ozarks into northeastern Arkansas.  There are several great options to access the river.   The most scenic section, stretches from Cedar Grove to Round Springs, about 29 miles.

Best Time:  This is a great place to spend a hot summer day.  There are several springs to cool off in and the 58 degree water is especially refreshing on a hot day.

Pit Stop: Pack a picnic and take a break at  Medlock Springs.  The area  is  beautiful and features a cave and a gorgeous spring on the hillside.

Extended Play:  There are four named caves along the river, and five more hidden ones.  To add to your adventure try finding all nine.

Travel Smart:    Any time on the water, can be dangerous if you do not plan your trip properly.  Be sure to plan a start and finish time and location.  Share your plans with others.  This way others will know where to begin looking if you do not arrive as planned.  Pack life jackets, water and snacks.  There are several outfitters in the area that provide kayak rentals as well as shuttle service.  I highly suggest using one of these companies to help your trip run smoothly.

14 Trails In Illinois That Lead To Amazing Places!

If you ever need a little motivation to lace up your boots and go for a hike, here are 14 trails in Illinois that will provide all the motivation you need.  All these paths take you to unexpected wonders that will blow your mind

Devil’s Prop Nature Preserve:  Located near Mount Vernon, this hike leads to a cave that is very unique.  Hikers take an easy 1.8-mile trek through Devil’s Prop Nature Preserve to see this natural formation.

Devils Prop Nature Preserve Photo owned by John Irvin

Hawk’s Cave Trails: This trail is just .7 miles and is one of the easiest trails to hike at Ferne Clyffe near Goreville. Along the way, you’ll pass wild flowers and wildlife as well as an impressive rock formation you won’t want to miss.

Hawks Cave Trail Photo owned by John Irvin

Panther Den Loop:  A 3.1-mile path through Panther Den Wilderness will take you past some amazing  rock formations riddled with caverns and canyons. As far as cave trails go, this is one of the best loop hikes in the state.

Panther Den Loop Photo owned by John Irvin

Salt Lick Point Trail:Part of the 600-acre Salt Lick Point Land and Water Reserve, this is one of the coolest cave trails in Illinois. You’ll find the cave along a 2.9-mile loop path near Valmeyer. Be sure to allow for extra time on this hike, there is so much to explore you could stay all day.

Salt Lick Point Trail Photo owned by John Irvin

Sentinel, Sunset, and Pine Trail:  Part of the Mississippi Palisades, this gorgeous  area is located near Savanna, and is one of the most photographed areas in the entire state.  The 3.2-mile loop trail takes hikers by the river, rock formations, and other scenic natural wonders that are all sure to stir your imagination.

Mississippi Palisades State Park Photo owned by Beth Dykman

Rock Cave Nature Preserve:  The trail at this preserve is 1.3 miles long and leads to a tiny little-known cave. Located near Altamont, the paths here are not well-marked and can often be muddy and overgrown. Bring good hiking shoes.

Rock Cave Nature Preserve Photo owned by John Irvin

Sand Cave:  Located near Ozark, this short hike is just 1.2 miles and is easily accessible for hikers of all ages. You can even have dogs and horses on this path of mind-blowing rock formations.

Sand Cave Photo owned by John Irvin

Saint Louis Canyon Trail: This trail system leads you to a waterfall, inside a beautiful canyon that is like something out of a fairy tale. It is located near  Utica and covers 2.1 miles of Starved Rock State Park.

St Louis Canyon Photo owned by Beth Dykman

Rim Rock Recreational Trail:  This is a  moderately difficult, 1.7-mile hike on this loop trail through the Shawnee National Forest leads around a huge rock formation and then descends to the valley floor. This is where hikers squeeze through “Fat Man’s Misery,” a steep decline past an old Indian wall that is very narrow but fun to see amongst the trees and bushes.

Rim Rock Trail Photo owned by John Irvin

Bork Falls:  Tucked away in the Shawnee National Forest, there is a trail leading to what might be the most beautiful waterfall in Illinois. It is part of the Illinois Ozarks and is a year round waterfall that pools into a swimming hole. Near the Ohio River, visitors can also enjoy the many  rock formations, towering trees, caves, and other seasonal waterfalls in the area.

Bork Falls Photo owned by John Irvin

Jackson Falls:  You wouldn’t expect Illinois to have so many, but waterfalls are a big part of what make it great. Nestled in the Shawnee National Forest, a five-mile trail with easy terrain leads to this beautifulwaterfall. Visitors are blown away by the stunning rock formations which water travels through and are also great for climbing.

Jackson Falls Photo owned by John Irvin

Cave-in-Rock State Park:  One of the most interesting attractions in Illinois is along the Ohio River. This cave was once used by bandits and pirates but is today enjoyed by nature lovers from all over the Midwest. The rock formation opens 55 feet at its widest, and visitors can explore all over the cave.

Cave In Rock State Park Photo owned by John Irvin

Ferne Clyffe State Park:  Southern Illinois is full of amazing  wonders and this park is no exception. The waterfall here doubles as a water slide due to the way the rocks lay as well as due to water smoothing them over many years. Rushing water falls down a hillside, and you just jump right in. Beware, though, that it can be very dangerous, but many do it anyway.

Ferne Clyffe Photo owned by John Irvin

Pomona Natural Bridge:  Found in the Shawnee National Forest, along a .3-mile trail is a bridge formed  from rock and natural erosion. At eight feet wide, it is safe to walk on, and the surrounding terrain is easy to explore. An additional attraction is a tiny cave located beneath the 90-foot bridge that is fun for the imagination of young and old alike.

Pomona Natural Bridge Photo owned by John Irvin

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