Mississippi Palisades State Park in northwestern Illinois is home to over 2,500 acres of luscious wooded landscape, unique rock formations, and the waterways of the Mississippi and Apple Rivers. Follow the pathways of ancient Native American peoples as you hike the 15 miles of trails that have been used for nearly a thousand years. Get out of the rig and onto the Mississippi backwaters by boat and enjoy spectacular views of the cliffs while fishing for catfish and carp.
The word palisades is a geological term referring to the steep cliff faces surrounding river banks, and the Mississippi Palisades is a stunning example of this formation and the power of nature. Limestone caves are visible from the water, and striking rock features such as Indian Head and Twin Sisters tower out of the earth. The adventurous can take advantage of rock climbing areas, one of only three parks in the state that allow this fun and challenging sport.
Abundant wildlife and bird watching opportunities persist throughout the year. In the spring, carpets of wildflowers come to life, and come fall the foliage of the wooded ravines make a beautiful display of autumn color. Four easily accessible viewing platforms provide sweeping views of the park and the Mississippi River. Explore Mississippi Palisades State Park on foot or by boat for a nature experience you won’t forget during your RV vacation to Illinois.
RV Rentals in Mississippi Palisades State Park
Transportation in Mississippi Palisades State Park
Mississippi Palisades State Park is located in the northwest corner of Illinois, north of the city of Savanna in Carroll County. There are two park entrances at the north and south ends of the park, with the north entrance being closest to the campground. Both entrances are accessed off Route 84. Located along the banks of the Mississippi River and within three hours of Chicago, the park is a great RV road trip stop. Whether staying for the day or overnight, there are multiple places to park your RV and hit the trials.
You’ll have no trouble getting to the park using the main state highways. Once inside, the park roads wind through the attractions, so it’s best to use the north entrance for a more direct route to the campground. Use caution if driving the RV around to the lookout points in the park, as some roads are steep and you’ll need to move slowly as the speed limit is 10 miles per hour. Alternatively, you may choose to leave the rig at the campground and walk to the trails and viewing platforms. There are parking areas throughout the park near many lookout points and trailheads. Be aware of weather conditions, as wet and icy roads may make travel difficult within the park.
Campgrounds and parking in Mississippi Palisades State Park
Campsites in Mississippi Palisades State Park
Mississippi Palisades State Park Campground
There are 241 campsites open for RVs, trailers, and tents. 110 of the RV campsites at the park come with 50V or 30V electrical hookups and have a maximum occupancy of four people. Campsites come with fire pits and picnic tables and may offer shade coverage. There are no water or sewer hookups in the campground, but drinking water stations and two sanitary dump sites are available.
Indoor showers and comfort stations are available at the campground and are open from May to October. A camp store is open during the summer months. Reservations can be made three days prior to your visit or up to six months in advance. There are a number of accessible campsite options available for those with mobility issues. Leashed pets are allowed throughout the campground.
Mississippi Palisades State Park Campground
141 campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. These only include a small number of sites with electric hookups, so be sure to book ahead if you will need power during your stay.
Seasonal activities in Mississippi Palisades State Park
Boating and Fishing
Boating and fishing are a great way to take in the natural beauty of the Mississippi River and the fish that populate its waters. Common catches here are catfish, carp, bass, crappie and, bluegill. Be sure to pack your fishing gear and bring your own boat as there are no on-site rentals. Boats of all motor sizes are welcome and there is no fee to access the boat launch. Finish off your day on the water by making use of the picnic tables back on land.
Mississippi Palisades State Park offers some of the best rock climbing in Illinois. Get a rare opportunity to rock climb at three designated areas in the park: Sentinel Area, Twin Sisters, and Indian Head. There are over 150 climbing routes available on these scenic limestone bluffs. Most of the routes are top-rope or traditional climbs of about 50 feet, but some are up to 100 feet high. Be sure to bring your own climbing equipment in your camper as there are no rentals available on-site.
Get a close look at the flora and fauna of this stunning area by hiking the 15 miles of trails that traverse the land. The trails are divided into five routes, with the southernmost trails being the steepest and nearest the rock faces. The northern trails are wider and less strenuous, and between all the trails there is a difficulty level right for everyone. Make sure to bring your camera out of the rig to take pictures of the sweeping views from the lookout point platforms.
Mississippi Palisades State Park offers several hunting opportunities during the year. In the spring, wild turkey season attracts archers looking to practice their bowmanship. During the fall, a three-day deer season is opened to firearms, during which time the day use are and trails of the park are closed for safety. With 1,500 acres of huntable land, there’s plenty of room to explore the topography of the park while tracking the wild animals that roam within it.
Cross-Country Skiing and Sledding
Outdoor enthusiasts will love getting their fill of crisp winter air during the snowy months in Illinois. Cross-country skiing is available on the trails with a full range of difficulty levels from the easiest in the north of the park to the rocky and steep trails at the south of the park. Bring your own sled and childlike enthusiasm for an easier way to ride down the hilly terrain. Kids and adults alike will have fun in the snow while enjoying the views during their winter RV trip to Mississippi Palisades State Park.
Don’t let the cold weather get in the way of your fishing hobby. During the winter, ice fishing is permitted at the boat launch area once the ice is thick enough. A fun alternative to traditional fishing, you’ll enjoy the peace and serenity of winter while getting a glimpse of the aquatic habitat beneath the ice. Dress warmly and bring a chair, it won’t be long until you’ll be reeling up the fish from the icy waters below.