Sunset Trail

Mississippi Palisades State Park


Mississippi Palisades State Park is located in extreme northwest Illinois, about an hour south of Dubuque, Iowa. The highlight of the park are its towering limestone cliffs which offer sweeping views of the Mississippi River itself. I had visited the park a couple times before but time and/or weather conspired against my ever exploring it the way I most enjoy...on foot. On this day I decided to hike what was reputed to be the most beautiful portion of the park, joining three trail loops into a pleasant 4-mile stroll. Along the way I found myself trudging up and down numerous ravines, staring up into the outstretched arms of immense old oaks, circling my way through one of the most pathetic little 'prairies' I'd ever seen, and standing atop bare limestone outcrops a hundred feet or more above the mighty Mississippi...


Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 42.129348, -90.157237

Route Type: Triple Loop      Difficulty: CHALLENGING (Petzoldt Rating: 5.20 )      Mileage Hiked: 4.0 miles      Trailhead Temp: 78'F      Min. Elevation: 610'              Max Elevation: 860'      Total Elevation Gain: 600'

Trails Used: Prairie View, Sentinel, Sunset


8-21-2011