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From the Field: BACKPACKER trail scouts’ top Central local hikes

Try a 9-mile out-and-back in Ohio's Hemlock Gorge or hike through history in Per Marquette State Park or on the Saddle Rock Trail in Nebraska.

Pere Marquette Loop, Pere Marquette SP, IL
Pam Warford, Grafton, IL

Hike past 2,000-year-old Native American burial mounds on this 3.5-mile loop through rugged southern Illinois. Exposed 20-foot limestone bluffs near the trailhead signal the Cap au Grés fault, the rift believed responsible for the Mississippi’s abrupt eastward jog nearby. Watch some of the park’s hundreds of overwintering bald eagles soar from 828-foot McAdams Peak (mile 1.2) and Twin Mounds (mile 1.4), where tribes once buried their dead. Pick up the Fern Hollow Trail at mile 2.2 to make a six-mile loop. Trip ID 311935

“On very clear days, you can spot St. Louis’ Gateway Arch.” 

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