Area Attractions

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Recreational Area Attractions

Palace Campgrounds
11357 US Hwy. 20 West, Galena, IL61036
Telephone: (815) 777-2466


Mississippi Palisades State Park (Approx 22 miles south of Galena)

Mississippi Palisades State Park, located near the confluence of the Apple and Mississippi river in northwestern Illinois is located in the southern part of the geologic region know as the "Driftless Area." The unglaciated topography of MississippiPalisadesState park contains steep limestone bluffs and rock palisades that overlook the Mississippi River. The bluffs are cut by wooded ravines. The name palisades was given to the steep bluffs because of their resemblance to similar geological formations on the Hudson River.



With 241 Class A and B sites in both shaded and open areas, Mississippi Palisades is in demand by campers. Electrical hookups are available at 110 sites. Showers and flush toilets are situated in three buildings and are in operation from May 1 until Oct 31. You can pick up supplies at a camp convenience store, open during the summer. The campground also features water and two sanitary dump stations. Only campers with permits are allowed in the campground, with admittance prohibited from 10 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. Reservations are no longer being taken for the Class A and B sites at Mississippi Palisades.

Two youth camping areas are also available. These may be reserved from June 1 through October 31. An adult must accompany every group of 15 minors. Any group of 25 or more must get permission from the site personnel before entering the park.



The gateway to seeing the park’s impressive assortment of plant and animal life is its rugged 13-mile trail system. The five trails in the northern part of the park are generally wider and less strenuous than the five in the south, which are narrow and extremely close to the bluff. The southern trails also are very hazardous when wet.

The North System includes High Point Trail at 3.5 miles and Aspen at 1.9 miles. Sentinel Trail, at 1.2 miles including spurs, is the South System’s longest hike, but it and other southern loops aren’t for the tenderfoot. Ozzie’s Point, Louis’ Point and Lookout Point, four developed overlooks accessible by short walks, offer a surfaced trail leading to an overlook. Oak Point offers a trail surface suitable for the physically challenged.


Throw a checkered tablecloth across one of the park’s many picnic tables and enjoy one of summer’s simple pleasures. Playgrounds and toilets are convenient to the picnic areas. The shelter houses and drinking fountains in the park attest to the 1930's craftsmanship of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Three shelters are available to groups of 25 or more on a reservation basis.



With the Mississippi River and its backwaters the perfect habitat for so many kinds of fish, anglers are consistently baiting their hooks at Mississippi Palisades. Catfish and carp are the most commonly caught fish, but bluegill, crappie and bass are out there too. Those long on experience might even land walleye and northern pike.




Apple River Canyon State Park (Approx 25 miles Southeast  of Galena)

Apple River Canyon State Park is in the hilly northwest art of Illinois in Jo Daviess County near the Wisconsin border. This scenic canyon area was formed by the action of the winding waters of AppleRiver.  Limestone bluffs, deep ravines, springs, streams and wildlife characterize this area which was once a part of a vast sea bottom that stretched from the Alleghenies to the Rockies.


The park offers 47 Class "C" sites without showers and also two handicap accessible sites. Reservations are not accepted, sites are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Camping permits must be obtained at the park office. Walnut Grove offers youth group camping and requires a reservation. The reservation form is available on this website or may be obtained by contacting the park office. Winter camping is available from 11/1 - 4/15 in our Walnut Grove Youth area only. 



Five trails - Pine Ridge, Tower Rock, River Route, Sunset and Primrose Trail (handicap accessible) - wind through the woods for several miles within the park.



Four picnic areas with tables, grills, accessible drinking water and toilets may be found along the river’s banks. There are also three shelters, two are handicap accessible. The reservation form is available on this website or may be obtained by contacting the park office.



The AppleRiver has a variety of fish including smallmouth bass, sunfish, crappie, carp, and suckers. When economically feasible the Illinois Department of Natural Resources stocks AppleRiver with keeper-size trout. The river is one of several in the state where the department releases this fish. Trout require clean, clear, cold water and in the spring, AppleRiver meets these requirements. However, the fish do not live through the hot summer months so the stream is stocked on a put-and-take basis.  License and trout stamps may be obtained at the park office.



Apple River Canyon State Park is located 2 ½ hours west of Chicago. Take I-90 West to US Rt. 20 located by Rockford. Take US Rt. 20 West for approximately 50 miles to Rt. 78 North. Turn right onto Rt. 78, go 6 miles to Canyon Road. Take a left on Canyon Road. The park is well signed on Rt. 20 and Rt. 78.

Apple River Canyon State Park is located in the Northwest corner of Illinois. If you are traveling from the south, you can take I-39 to Rockford, then US Rt.20 West to Rt. 78 North, go 6 miles to Canyon Road, take a left on Canyon Road. The Park is well signed on Rt. 20 and Rt. 78.     815.745.3302


Le-Aqua-Na State Park (Approx 45 miles east  of Galena)

Oak, hickory, walnut and other hardwood trees are in abundance, along with large tracts of pine plantation. A good variety of woodland wildflowers, including Dutchmans breeches, bloodroot and bluebells, cover the ground in the spring and early summer. Squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and other small animals are often seen in the wooded areas, and deer are also frequently sighted.
Observant visitors might also catch a glimpse of a badger. For many years, Lake Le-Aqua-Na was the only State Recreation Area where badgers could be seen. They have recently begun to populate other State Recreation Areas, however, and are becoming less rare.



RV, tent, equestrian and youth groups are all accommodated in the various campgrounds. While there are just a few secluded sites, the majority are open and spacious with adequate shade available on most.

There are a large number of electric sites and water is conveniently located throughout the areas.While the RV campground is open year-round, the shower building with flush toilets and the trailer dump station are operational only from May 1 - Nov. 1.

The equestrian campground has a shelter, vault toilets and a hand pump for water. Access to the area is on county roads that border the park, not the main park entrance. Contact the park office prior to your equestrian outing, as the campgrounds and trail may be closed due to wet conditions.



Whether you enjoy hiking, horseback riding or cross-country skiing, 8.5 miles of marked trails include something for everyone. Pets are welcome to enjoy the trails with you, but must be kept on their leashes.



Whether you are planning a picnic for two, have invited the whole family, or even the whole neighborhood, Lake Le-Aqua-Na has a picnic site to suit your needs. All sites include tables and grills. For those who like to plan ahead, two picnic shelters with electricity may be reserved in advance, beginning Jan. 2 each year.



Periodic stockings of walleye, northern pike and channel catfish compliment the lake’s self-sustaining largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and bullheads. Brush piles and fish cribs are located throughout the lake and provide the perfect habitat for the fish population. To keep the supply abundant, however, regulations governing catch limits and sizes are strictly enforced.



FROM THE CHICAGO AREA : Take I-90 west to Rte 20 west at Rockford. Travel on Rte 20 west to IL 73 north (Approximately 60 miles). Turn right onto IL 73 and go north 2 miles into the town of Lena.
Turn left on Lena Street. Proceed .4 mile, turn right onto Lake Road and go approximately 3 miles to Park entrance.
FROM THE WEST: Travel on Rte 20 east to IL 73 north. Turn left onto IL 73 north and to 2 miles into the town of Lena. Turn left onto Lena Street. Proceed .4 mile, turn right onto Lake Road and go approximately 3 miles to Park entrance.

Casper Bluff, Land and Water Reserve

Located just 5 miles outside of Galena, this 85-acre property, offers some spectacular views of the Mississippi River from above. Cut trails wind between a woodland bluff and is surrounded by tall Grass prairies. Casper Bluff provides habitat for a variety of species such as the red-headed wood pecker, eastern bluebird, wood duck, and blue winged warbler.

    Not only does Casper Bluff boast some of the most commanding views of the Mississippi River and its back water sloughs, it is also an archeologically significant site. Casper Bluff includes the Aiken Mound Group — 51 burial mounds including the only known existing bird effigy mound in the state of Illinois.



Keough Effigy Preserve is near the recently purchased Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve. Both sites contain similar remnants from the lives of the American Indians, who lived in this area between 200-800 AD.

The two properties are also connected by supporting habitat for migratory birds and resident wildlife in the Greatest Need of Conservation in the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan.

Once open to the public, the Keough Effigy will be an ideal location to take a deep woods hike and explore the cultural resources on this property. Future plans include connecting Keough Effigy Preserve with the nearby Casper Bluff property via the
Galena River Trail.



Buehler Preserve the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation owns an 18-acre property north of the city of Galena.  Containing a hilly woodland in the eastern portion and a large, flat floodplain near the Galena River, it’s a gorgeous secluded area for walking and wildlife observation.  A mowed trail wraps around the perimeter of the flat floodplain area for public use and restores the floodplain to native wet mesic prairie. The property is a good example of a prairie restoration.

The Buehler Preserve is bordered by the channelized and partially bermed Galena River on the north and west and by the Illinois Central Railroad right-of-way on the east.

To reach the Buehler Preserve, cross the Galena River at the Meeker Street footbridge (located behind Westwick Foundry). Walk north on the levee until you reach the gate to the Preserve (about a mile).



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