Join a guided hike led by Mike Leahy, MPF technical advisor and ecologist with the
Missouri Department of Conservation, to the largest complex of intact loess hill prairie in
Illinois. Located just 25 miles south of Belleville, Illinois, this site of loess hill prairies on
towering bluffs above the Mississippi River floodplain is an outstanding natural feature
and national natural landmark not far from the St. Louis metropolitan area. We’ll see a
variety of native prairie plants typical of loess hill prairies including side-oats grama
(Bouteloua curtipendula) and silky aster (Symphyotrichum sericeum) and commanding
views of the Mississippi River valley. If we’re lucky we might spot migrating hawks. After
the hike to the top of the bluff and across the hill prairies we’ll return for a tailgate lunch
followed by a short tour along the edges of Kidd Lake Marsh. We might be able to spot
migrating waterfowl, shorebirds, and wading birds in the marsh along with lotus
(Nelumbo lutea), false aster (Boltonia asteroides), and a variety of smartweeds
(Persicaria species). For more information on the site see:
Expect hiking on trails with steep terrain and some off-trail hiking on the loess hill
prairie. We won’t be hiking into the marsh, but will observe it from the road’s edge. Be
prepared to walk on uneven terrain with steep slopes. Dress for the outdoors (including
protection from ticks and chiggers!) and bring water and sun protection. We’ll break for
a tailgate lunch. Bring a sack lunch and drinking water.
Meet at the park and pavilion in the small town of Fults, IL at 10 am. This is located at
the intersection of Church St. and Fults Road, about ¼ mile SE of the intersection of
Fults Road and Highway 3/Bluff Road. See the link:
The site is located along the Mississippi River bluff near the town of Fults. If coming
from the north, take Rt. 3 south to Waterloo, IL. Turn right on Rt. 156, then take the first
left on Lakeview Rd. (also known as Mayestown Rd.). After you have passed downtown
Mayestown, turn left on Bluff Rd. See the directions above for the meeting place in
Fults, IL, off of Bluff Road.
Cost: Free. Participants: minimum 10; maximum 25.
To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 636-303-7418.
Note: Hike will be held rain or shine. If storms/lightning is predicted, MPF will contact
registrants in the event we need to reschedule.
Photo of yellow coneflower from Illinois Department of Natural Resources website.