Information on:

Mississippi Palisades State Park

16327 Il Route 84

The Native American pathfinders along the rock palisades of the Mississippi River did as present-day hikers do -- in coursing the bluffs, they took the paths of least resistance. The trails at the Mississippi Palisades, especially the park’s southern routes, put you in touch with the past. Walk them and you’ll trace the footsteps of all those who came before you, some of whom came this way nearly a thousand years ago.

Located near the confluence of the Mississippi and Apple rivers in northwestern Illinois, the 2,500-acre Mississippi Palisades State Park is rich in American Indian history.

Natural Features

Palisades is the word used to describe a line of lofty, steep cliffs usually seen along a river, and Mississippi Palisades, 3 miles north of Savanna in Carroll County, handsomely lives up to its name. Caves are evident as are dangerous sink holes--limestone caves that go straight down. Erosion has carved intriguing rock formations, including Indian Head, with its aquiline characteristics, and Twin Sisters, a pair of humanoid figures on the bluff tops. The U.S. Interior Department recognized the remarkable nature of this area in 1973 when it designated acreage here as a national landmark.

Wooded ravines, whose brilliant hues splash the cliffs with color each autumn, dissect the unglaciated terrain. Ferns dot the deep ravines, while in the park’s northern region, white birch leaves of ripple in the wind. Each spring and summer the valleys and slopes are dappled with the blooms of trillium, bluebell, lobelia, shooting star and yellow ladies’ slipper.

Animal life, within the park and the river areas immediately adjoining it, is varied. Waterfowl and shorebirds are numerous, as are wild turkeys. Striking pileated woodpeckers make their home in the park, and depending on ice conditions, eagles feed at the river in January and February. Because so many birds migrate along the river, their lyrical songs can be heard at the Mississippi Palisades each spring.

But not all that’s fascinating about Mississippi Palisades’ wildlife is in the skies. White-tailed deer, gray squirrel, skunk, muskrat and weasel can be viewed in the park, as can mink, gray and red fox, woodchuck and, occasionally, badger.


Roman Buchberger

Saturday, July 7, 2018
Very clean and quiet campground minus the occasional train. Lots vary in size and some require you to level. Staff is friendly and the night sky is just great. Lots of hiking trails but almost zero cell or satellite signal due to so many trees. Definitely not a complaint just a statement.

Heather Perry

Wednesday, June 6, 2018
So many things I enjoy about this park. I get the best ever drinking water here.(I am in no shape ,way, or form suggesting that you should drink it just merely stating that I choose to) I enjoy the wide variety of birds. The turkeys, butterflies, deer, & other little cuties I spot are a real treat. Hiking the trails or just walking the hills is a great workout for my glutes. The only downfall. The litter on the trails is a big disgrace but not the fault of the park. People need to be respectful & pick up their trash.

Justin Tate

Wednesday, May 30, 2018
As a campsite most are nice, but for the price compared to other parks they had water and power at the site. Park was nice for hiking and if you have a boat for the river. Would like to see park store open up and money put into the boat dock area. Bugs are a large issue if that is problem for you.

Ashley Aarseth

Monday, May 28, 2018
We went on our annual Memorial Day weekend camping trip, but we like to go somewhere new each time. We picked this place because the reviews seemed decent. However, I would have to disagree with their experience. Although it does have a lot of hiking trails and fishing, the bugs (gnats and mosquitos) made it impossible to do anything! There was such an overwhelming abundance of them you couldn't even be outside for 30 seconds without being attacked. I had to go for a jog rather than a walk just to evade them. A ton of the sites had reservations, but they were empty. All the picnic pavilions were empty and never have I seen that over a holiday weekend. We saw one smart family that had bug nets over their heads to protect themselves. Definitely will not be coming back. Everyone left with a ton of bug bites despite spraying ourselves with deet a couple times a day!

Elise Raz

Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018
Great weekend camping trip! Just enough to do leisurely over two nights. Beautiful campsites and the bathrooms are kept up well. Overlooks on the Mississippi River are great picnic spots! Hiking is great for intermediate level hikers. The trail on the furthest overlook was not updated on the map we received though so be careful if you try it! Hosts were incredibly friendly and helpful!

Mississippi Palisades State Park is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media