Last weekend, I took a trip to look around the lesser known parks on the Tazewell side of the Illinois River in order to take in the fall colors. This year the color was weaker than in the previous few. Most tree simply turned pale yellow and sheading their foliage quickly. Only the sugar maples seem not to notice the unusually warm fall weather in the area.
John T McNaughton Park
This park is one of the larger ones around Pekin named after an advisor in the federal government of whom I never heard of before now but was a local boy. The park itself is rolling grass and forest covered hills with the lowest points in the park containing several small lakes/mosquito breeding pits.
The main attractions are a rather large 18-hole Frisbee golf course and equestrian center near its northern end. The course looked like it would be quite challenging given the hilly terrain.
It the rolling grassland provided a pleasant stroll but the hiking trails are better served on horseback. There were too many ruts and mud pit to make for an enjoyable time.
The park itself had few amenities. The most interesting ones were the teepee style campfire rings that dotted the area that are for the Boy Scouts who set up camp in the park.
Independence Park is located in Marquette Heights. It is a well designed park with a fair number of play ground areas, ball diamonds, and paved biking trail. In the local area, it is also known for having decent mountain bike trails.
These trails follow most along the upper edges of hollows with some changes in elevation here and there to give a ride some variability. It reminds me somewhat of Evergreen Park park biking trails with many tree roots to give people bumpy rides.
Overall it is a nice and well maintained park. The only problem is you never feel like you are in a rural landscape. The park abuts I-474, so nature lovers get to hear both bird songs and semis.
I was reluctant to visit Pekin given few people have said good things about it, so I passed up going to both the town and this park for years. Laying on the Illinois River the park part reminded me other old river towns such as Quincy and the Quad Cities. Off have tried tried to spruce the riverfront up. Unfortunately, the nice new park amenities clash with the old industrial theme of the local area.
There wasn’t much to see in the park itself except bogs and trash. I was more interested in the industrial areas surround it.
Totally makes me want to reinstall Fallout and go ruin exploring in a power suit.
Veterans Park is a typical park set in East Peoria. It sits on hills over looking the Peoria downtown cityscape. The amenities such as the baseball diamond and playground equipment are very well maintained and look almost new. The walking path lets a person take in the hilly terrain and enjoy the nearly perfect Illinois fall weather.
Fondulac Park West
This park sits right across the street from Veterans Park. However, the city does not make it easy to walk to it and place fences between the park and Springfield Road. To make matters worse, there are no sidewalks in the area in order to even get to the park safely without driving.
I liked this park for its single feature, it sits on a large steep hill. Only the brave would sled down it because of the line of trees at the bottom.
Hmm, doesn’t look as impressive on camera. My maybe the hike up the hill wasn’t as tiring as I thought.