If you are lucky enough to live in or near Marshall, Illinois, you don’t have to travel far to see all the splendor of our parks in Fall. Gone are the hot and humid days of Summer and, just like that, now comes the cool, dry air, the soft, gentle breezes, and… the Autumn colors. This is the time to head out to one of our beautiful parks and spend the day hiking, boating, picnicking, or even camping to enjoy what many people consider the best time of the entire year.
People in warmer climates drive hundreds, even thousands of miles, to see the colors and the parks in fall, that we, here in Marshall, see every day. And one of the best places to see them in full force is Lincoln Trail, State Park.
Sure, you can sit by the edge of the lake and take it all in, but if you want to get into the thick of it, you will want to take advantage of the hiking trails the park has to offer. There are two great trails to walk in the park where you can see the beautiful changing of the leaves and the many fall flowers that are in full bloom this time of year.
For a shorter hike, choose the Beech Tree Trail. It is just a half-mile long, and you will have excellent vantage points to view the beech-maple forest in the nature preserve from the series of stairways and footbridges you will encounter along your hike.
If that short hike doesn’t get you winded and you decide you want to spend a little more time in the wilds of the park, choose the Sand Ford Nature Trail. This hike is two-miles long and takes you through the oak-hickory forest. You can always hit the refreshment stand on your return and enjoy a cold, or, maybe soon more appropriately, as we move deeper into Fall, a hot beverage.
If you’re into flowers, there are many blooms to see along the way.
This is the time to see the Fall blooming members of the Aster ACE family, which will be in bloom till near the end of October. From the lovely light purple of the New England Aster Astronova to the warm yellow of the Golden Rods, also in the Aster family, the Asters will brighten your day. The bees are buzzing, pollinating these blooms, so if you are allergic, make sure to keep your distance.
Not into hiking? The Asters are blooming lakeside right near the restaurant. You can see these flowers from the comfort of the Lincoln Trail State Park restaurant. Enjoy a big hearty sandwich and wash it down with one of their signature Lincoln Trail Ales.
Along the roadside prairie in the park, if you slow down as you drive by, you will see a veritable field of snowy white blossoms. They’re a native flower called the Late Boneset Eupatorium serotinum. The park claims they did not lay the seed for these plants, but they just came up on their own, and they are a lovely sight to see.
If you’re more of a water lover, you can rent a boat or kayak from the boat dock or bring your own small boat. Tool around the lake, surrounding yourself with nature. The lake has plenty of fish to catch, so bring the rod and reel.
When September Ends!
Fall is an excellent time of year to get outdoors and enjoy the cooler weather before it becomes the COLDER weather. Football has begun, and baseball season is ending. As September comes to a close, we look forward to all the activities of October with Octoberfests, Halloween, pumpkin and apple picking, and all the great apple pies, apple butter, and apple cider we know will fill our bellies.
But we’re not there quite yet, so enjoy these last days of September, the occasional hotter than usual day, the surprisingly warm breeze that hits you when you aren’t expecting it, the warmth of the sun on your back at midday, the last vestiges of the Summer of ’22 slipping away.
Take time to see the changing of the leaves, the bees buzzing around, and the gift of living in or getting to visit places like our Marshall parks in fall. You have a front-row seat to the best show in town.