By Wade Ellett, Let’s Move QC Outdoors
Editor’s Note: This past summer, Let’s Move QC Outdoors Blogger, Wade Ellett, walked the entire Great River Trail, picking up trash and enjoying the sites along the way. He’s chosen a few of his favorite off-the-beaten-path attractions we’ll share with readers over a series of posts to celebrate great walking tours in the QC area.
North of the QC along the Great River Trail, you’ll find many spots worthy of a Fall drive, hike or bike ride. From The Giant Cyclist of Port Byron, to the Albany Indian Mounds State Historic Site, and Fulton’s Windmill to the Thomson-Fulton Sand Prairie, you’ll find plenty to see. The final site is a few miles north of the Sand Prairie, at the Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center.
You can walk, bike or drive it.
As you go, you’ll find the grasses growing taller, more reminiscent of what you might think of when you imagine an Illinois prairie.
As the stalks sway in the wind, you’ll feel like you’re in a sea of tall grass.
Soon, you’ll come upon the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge and therein, the Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center, just south of Savannah, IL.
This great facility houses hands-on exhibits, friendly staff, and an incredible view of both the sweeping prairie and the Mississippi River.
High-powered binoculars are set along the edge of Sloan Marsh for your viewing pleasure. Definitely take the time to survey the area!
You’ll see the island where the American white pelicans nest. You might also see bald eagles and sandhill cranes, wading birds and waterfowl.
If you’re patient and time your visit right, you’ll see all kinds of amazing wildlife!
This is my final post about the Great River Trail, but the 5 spots I’ve shared aren’t the only great spots along it.
From roadside stretches to wooded canopies, the GRT is a great trail in our own neck of the woods. There are plenty of places to camp along the way, if you’re so inclined, or can’t bike the full trail there and back in one day.
I hiked it, but I’ll be honest, it is much better suited for biking in some areas; a few stretches are on country roads, without many signs. Still, if you’re looking for a nice long hike, bike, walk, or run, consider getting on the GRT. Just be sure to wear some bright colors so everyone can see you!
Not ready to make the full 60-mile trek? Don’t worry, there’s plenty of places to park along the way for day use. Every attraction I’ve included has parking available if you want to drive a little closer before you set out on foot.
|Meet Wade Ellett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Outdoor Blogger. Wade is an outdoor adventurer who shares his passion for QC outdoor adventures here! Read his other posts by clicking here.|