Midwest Living Review
The natural beauty of Palisades State Park draws visitors for picnics, rock climbing, hiking and the pleasure of simply taking in the view.
Through millions of years, Split Rock Creek has slowly cut a path through pink quartzite here, creating low shelves, 50-foot cliffs and unique formations. About 3 miles of trails (some sections are steep and challenging) lead hikers to formations with names like Chimney Rock, King and Queen Rock and Balancing Rock; overlooks with interpretive signs; a footbridge across the creek; and the remnants of a dam and an old milling village. The newest walk is the Lichen Trail, which identifies the 30 types of lichens found here. The park also hosts special programming on summer weekends.
Though Palisades attracts quite a crowd, there are enough picnicking places and parking lots that it doesn't feel jammed. Picnic sites range from gazebos overlooking the creek to tables in the grass under shade trees. Grills, water fountains and clean vault toilets dot the grounds. Other activities include fishing, volleyball, horseshoes and a playground. (Note that jumping and diving from the rocks is strictly prohibited.) Feel like spending the night? Palisades offers more than 30 nicely spaced campsites, six tidy camping cabins and a group lodge that accommodates 12.