Goat Cliff-Hickory Loop, Pere Marquette State Park, IL
Hundreds of bald eagles winter in this park beginning in November. Find them perching on outcroppings and treetops throughout Pere Marquette State Park, but snag a bird’s-eye vantage above them on the Hickory Trail, which winds across the steep bluffs. The best way to get there is by making it the centerpiece of a 3.5-mile circuit beginning on the Goat Cliff Trail. Climb to Illinois River views before merging with the Hickory Trail and looping around the catwalk-like bluffs to scan for eagles. (If you strike out, don’t worry: Some 230 other bird species call this 8,000-acre park home.) When you return, check out the visitor center’s eagle cam, which broadcasts life in an eagle nest.
This 13.7-miler unfurls across the backbone of Kittatinny Ridge showcasing lake-dotted landscapes and views above Culvers Lake. Must see!: Take the sidetrip to Buttermilk Falls, New Jersey’s highest waterfall.