Northwest of Chicago and Apple River in Jo Davies County, the 300 acre Apple River Canyon State Park has miles of hiking trails rolling through deep ravines. The trail system consists of five routes: Pine Ridge Trail, Tower Rock Trail, River Route Trail, Sunset Trail and the Primrose Trail.
The Apple River has cut through the masses of limestone, dolomite and shale until massive cliffs now rise high above the water and canyons have formed. Vast ages of water and erosion widened and deepened the crevices as rivers and streams cut their way through the stone. Close-up views of the colorful canyon reveal walls dotted with mosses, lichens and tenacious bushes which have found crevices to hold their roots on the sheer walls.
Apple River Canyon State Park is located 2 ½ hours west of Chicago. Take I-90 West to US Rt. 20 located by Rockford. Take US Rt. 20 West for approximately 50 miles to Rt. 78 North. Turn right onto Rt. 78, go 6 miles to Canyon Road. Take a left on Canyon Road. The park is well signed on Rt. 20 and Rt. 78.
Overall, Apple River Canyon State Park is the 8th most popular hiking trail of all 17 hikes in Illinois.