Woodford SFWA and Marshall SFWA: Let’s make a weekend of it!

Kicking off our summer of hiking, we spent Memorial Day weekend in Peoria to visit as many parks as possible. On day one, we briefly stopped to pick up a friend, before travelling to Woodford State Fish and Wildlife Area.

This park is deceptively large, but if you are not boating and have never been to the area before, you would never know. With some manmade channels leading into the river, as well as a public boat launch, we felt this park is best for someone who wants to go fishing. There are about 3 miles of hiking trails available, but we were not able to find them.

We were able to find a trail map for this park, but what we could not figure out was where the trails started. There is a main road with some parking for RVs and trailers, with some spots that looked as though they should lead to places to hike, but they quickly became difficult to navigate.

Instead of getting lost because the trail was overgrown, we walked around the campsites for a little bit to admire the fields of yellow flowers.

We ended up leaving earlier than we’d hoped since we were so confused by where to go. From there we went to Marshall State Fish and Wildlife Area. This park is primarily a campground, and a busy one at that. There were several tents set up on the day we were there, with many people enjoying the river.

This is another case of there being hiking trails, but us not having any idea where they were. We were not able to find a map at all this time, so had no basis for where to start looking. It seems like this park is divided into three units covering 6,000 acres on both sides of the river, and simply asking google to take you there will lead you to the campground. Without knowing where to go or what to search for, I can’t help but feel this is a missed opportunity.

Finally, we decided to cut our losses and head into town to check in to our Airbnb, and check out two breweries: Bearded Owl Brewing and Rhodell Brewery. Both had really great options, but both Steph and I really enjoyed Rhodell’s Blueberry Cream Ale the most.

We feel that both of these parks are best for campers, with a bit of fishing at Woodford specifically. In order to hike, you have to know the trail is there, and would not be a good destination for a novice. As it was, finding a trail map was too difficult and ultimately did not help with knowing where to go.

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