Mommy And Me Travels has searched the area around Scott Air Force Base to find the most kid friendly hikes in Illinois for you to enjoy with your entire family. These hikes are easily accomplished by kids of all ages, even my 2 year old was able to easily accomplish these hikes. These hikes are geared towards those families that are looking for outdoor fun near Scott AFB with paved areas or wooded trails. If you are a military family new to the Metro East in southern Illinois, have been here for years, or looking to take a day trip to the area; keep reading to discover these great outdoor hikes with your kids around Scott AFB.
Rock Springs Park – O’Fallon, IL
Address – 1428 E 3rd St, O’Fallon, IL 62269
Rock Springs Park is a quiet area to hike through woods located behind a subdivision in O’Fallon, IL. You will find two different asphalt walking paths at this park. The outer loop is 1 mile through the wooded area which allows the trees to provide shade from the sun during your family hike. The inter loop is a ½ mile and will take you around the tall grass area. Both are great and can be explored with your family at their pace.
We love taking the outer loop because it allows us to also break off of the paved areas and explore the dirt paths throughout the woods. The off trail hiking paths are great for kids to explore the area, climb over downed trees, jump in muddy puddles (or not), make their way down to a stream, and see more wildlife in their habitat.
Rock Springs Park has more than just family friendly hiking trails. You could spend a few hours or even a whole day at this park. There are restrooms, a dog park, a fire pit to rent, gazebo for lunch, and a large playground for kids to play at after their hike. This park is well taken care of and very clean.
A couple of other things to note about this family hike area. Dogs are allowed on leash and there are cleanup bags around the trail, so please clean up after your dogs. There is a large asphalt parking area so you should easily be able to find a place to park. If you are looking for more information about this family hike near Scott AFB, visit the Rock Springs Park website.
Three Springs Park – Shiloh, IL
Address – 2250 Frank Scott Pkwy, Shiloh, IL 62269
Three Springs Park is a beautiful lake that your family can hike around easily as it is paved. There are two different hiking loops that you can choose to explore. The shorter loop is a ½ mile area around the sports fields and playground area. The longer hiking loop is around a beautiful lake and is about 1.5 miles. You can easily combine both of these loops together and make it a 2-mile family fun hike starting by walking around the lake and finishing with some free time at the playground.
Three Springs Park is located right behind a large shopping center. While you can’t see the lake from the road you can see all of the other features available at this location. Here you will find ballfields, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, a large clean playground, and nice bathrooms. When you do venture out to the lake, keep an eye out for the ducks, geese, turtles, and fish.
A few additional things to know about this family friendly hiking park. Dogs are allowed on leashes when walking the path to the lake. You cannot have dogs at the playground or on the sports fields. There is a large asphalt parking lot with plenty of space so parking should not be an issue. The park does allow fishing at the lake but make sure you check the requirements before you head out fishing. If you have more questions about this kid friendly hike around Scott AFB, check out the Three Springs Park webpage.
Pleasant Ridge Park – Fairview Heights, IL
Address – 401 Pleasant Ridge Rd, Fairview Heights, IL 62208
Pleasant Ridge Park is a unique family hike trip because it is all inside wooded area on dirt paths. The boys are always super excited when we head out to Pleasant Ridge Park for our family hike because it feels like you are exploring a real forest with downed trees to climb over, bridges to cross, and even a stream with a waterfall to explore. Families can spend a few hours or all day wondering around the woods. There are many different entrance points but we start at the Pleasant Ridge Main Trail as it is the longest trail. We usually end up hiking about 2 miles but you can definitely shrink that to fit your family hiking desires.
Pleasant Ridge Park is located in northern Fairview Heights in a nice, clean, and quiet area. In addition to hiking through the woods, you will find restrooms, a playground for kids to run, large field area to allow dogs to play fetch off leash, and multiple pavilions that you can rent for a reasonable price. There is also a part of history represented here with the Kinsella Log Cabin. Located behind the cabin is the entrance area for the Pleasant Ridge Main Trail.
When heading to this park, there are a couple of things to remember. This is an off leash dog area. You will see dogs running in the fields, throughout the woods, and wondering around the grounds. If you plan to go out for a hike after a rainfall (even 2 days after a rain), do expect it to be muddy. Most of the trail area is covered by trees which makes for a break from the sun on hot summer days, but also means the dirt path takes longer to dry. If you are interested in learning more about this kid friendly hike in Fairview Heights, then make sure to check out their page here: https://www.cofh.org/facilities/facility/details/Pleasant-Ridge-Park-3
Watershed Nature Center – Edwardsville IL
Address – 1591 Tower Avenue, Edwardsville, IL 62025 (behind Nelson Elementary School)
Watershed Nature Center Edwardsville is one of the many unique hiking trails in Illinois as you will get to partake in a marsh walk, hike around 2 lakes, have both unpaved and paved trail options, and so much wildlife, flora, and fauna. There are many hiking trails at this location that are family friendly. You have an unpaved trail just off to the right of the welcome center that is ~1/2 mile. You can take the trail loop that is ~1 mile. If you like something a little more challenging, then take the lower railroad trail. This path runs along the rail line with narrow areas and downed logs.
Watershed Nature Center Edwardsville IL is located approximately 35 minutes from Scott AFB. This is a true nature park and you will definitely not want to miss the Marsh Walk during your visit. The Marsh Walk is a paved walkway around the wetlands area of the park. You will get to see a ton of wildlife and plenty of fauna. There is a welcome center at the Watershed Nature Center but it is open by appointment only. If you are wanting to get information from them make sure to call ahead.
When visiting the Watershed Nature Center there are a couple of last things to know. This area is stroller friendly if you do not venter onto the lower railroad trail. Dogs are welcome on a leash. Make sure you plan a stop to the Tree House that will give you great views of the Upper and Lower Lakes. Last but not least, take your camera. You will find so many beautiful things to photograph that you will be glad you did. For more information about this kid friendly hike in Edwardsville check out their website Watershed Nature Center.
Centennial Park – Swansea IL
Address – 311 N Belt E, Swansea, IL 62226
Centennial Park Swansea IL is an easy and super kids friendly hike near Scott AFB. This trail is only 1-mile long. It is flat, graveled, and easily navigated with a stroller. Centennial Park has the trail laid out to circle around Richland Creek. Kids will get to glance at the water regularly as they walk which helps keep their attention on this adventure.
Centennial Park Swansea has the walking trails and a small nature playground at the beginning. Other than those 2 items, there isn’t much here. The smallness of this area makes it great for a nature sighting of turtles sunbathing or fishing. The trails are dog friendly as long as they are on leashes. Centennial Park Swansea IL does not have its own website but you can find a little bit more information on it at the main Swansea Illinois website.
Wrap Up On Family Friendly Hikes Near Me At Scott AFB
Gray, Josh, and I hope you have found these hiking ideas helpful and look forward to seeing you on the trails. As a bonus here are a few hiking with kids tips for you to use to get your little ones interested in going on outdoor adventures.
Tip 1 – Make it an adventure. We like to play like we are going on a bear hunt.
Tip 2 – Take your time. This is to build family memories not run a marathon. Enjoy this time exploring with your little ones.
Tip 3 – Don’t push yourself or your kids. Some of these hikes are more difficult than others. Listen to your body and take breaks as you need to. Pushing yourself beyond your limits will not keep you motivated to get out and explore these family friendly hikes near me at Scott AFB.
Don’t forget to come back here often as we are always adding new family friendly hikes near Scott AFB as we discover them. Make sure you bundle up in layers if you are on these hikes in the chilly weather. You also should join our facebook group Little World Adventure Travelers to not miss out on any of the fun family outdoor activities in Southern IL.
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