My 2 boys and I (12 and 10) have been hicking for several years now, and I'm looking to take them on their first overnight backpacking trip. We would really like somewhere thats not crowded, and within a few hours ride from Northern Illinios, and would be good for 2-3 days of backpacking. Not interested in backpacking to a spot and day hiking from there, but to simply hike, camp, repeat.
I have been looking into section hiking the Ice Age Trail which is not to far from us, but there is a lot of road walking on the sections close to us.
Looking for advise, much thanks!
I led several members of our Boy Scout troop on a 3 day trek on the Ice Age Trail through the Kettle Moraine South Unit in early Nov. Fall colors were a little past peak, but we found a section that had no road walks. Your most likely camping options are in the state park public campsites. Note that it's tough to get reservations at the trail shelters on weekends. Have fun!
Kettle Moraine southern or northern units in southeastern WI are great getaways. There are three-sided shelters that can be reserved, but the reservations go quick. Each of the shelters have a picnic Table and fire ring, but hauling firewood can be quite a chore. Tons of forest. In the southern unit, there is the largest wet prairie east of the Mississippi, it is called the Scuppernong Prairie.
Devils Lake in centeral WI is also a popular area.
And there is an REI just a few miles away in Brookfield, WI!
The Knobstone is similar to the AT, but much closer to Chicago. Depending on when you go, verify water supplies. https://www.hoosierhikerscouncil.org/knobstone-trail/
Hi! It’s a little bit further then Kettle Moraine, but I’ve backpacked the Manistee River Trail/North Country Trail in Michigan. We did it with when our first son was 1.5. We did an out and back along just the Manistee River Trail. There are first come first serve sites, plenty of places to filter water, and it’s a great first backpacking adventure. I have not completed the full 22 mile loop that includes the North Country Trail, but certainly worth looking into.
Garden of the Gods and the Little Grand Canyon are both tremendous. Both are in Shawnee Forest 5 hours due south of Chicago
enjoy hike safe !!