It's officially winter here in the stateline.


We woke up to single digit wind-chill temperatures. It's going to be December tomorrow. The sun seems like it sets at 2:30 everyday and the color of the sky the next 3 months can usually be described as some type of gray.

What I'm saying is this is going to be a tough 3 months coming up. You can attack it two ways. You can never go outside and be angry for 12 weeks OR you can go out and enjoy the "unique" season of winter that we experience here in the Midwest.

I'll be honest. I've usually fallen in the former camp. I don't like the cold and hate being damp but I've also been kind of depressed for approximately 35 consecutive winters. I think I'll try something new this year and try to enjoy the beautiful scenery that a brisk winter setting can provide.

It just so happens that we have a WONDERFUL spot right here in town to such activities at Rock Cut State Park.

The website highlights 5 trails at Rock Cut that are open year round. So grab some nice boots, layer up, don't forget the sunglasses, and embrace the Midwestern beauty that is freshly fallen snow at one of the best state parks in Illinois on one of these 5 trails in Rock Cut State Park.

1. Rock Cut Park Main Loop

This 3.2 mile loop has mild elevation changes and is a great easy hike that you can knock out in a few hours with some great views along Pierce Lake.

2. Pierce Lake Trail

Joe Dredge
Joe Dredge

This 3.6 mile loop is a little more difficult than the main loop but offers great views of every side of Pierce Lake. I've done this hike during the summer and the terrain can get difficult at spots. Make sure you're wearing good shoes.

3. Rock Cut Perimeter Loop

This is a long 9.2 mile loop that goes all around the perimeter of the park. Some of the trails are lightly traveled so it might be treacherous during the winter months. Again, dress accordingly.

4. Willow Creek Trail

This 5.2 trail isn't a loop, so unless you have 2 cars, one to leave at one end and drive to the other, this is actually a 10+ mile hike if you go end to end and back again. Alltrails doesn't suggest hiking this one during deep snow so take that into consideration.

5. Perryville Path

I will admit that this is a little bit of a stretch to call this a Rock Cut trail. It does start in the park, but most of the 13 miles of this trail runs along Perryville road all the way south to about State Street. This is a nice trail but not exactly what I think about when I think of hiking through the woods.

Dress well, and you'll have an enjoyable afternoon in this frigid hellscape we call home.

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Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

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