Terror Hill!

click to enlarge
swallow cliffs from top
Swallow Cliffs Toboggan Run
Palos Hills, Illinois

One of the two remaining toboggan runs in the Chicago area, Swallow Cliffs is over 90 feet high and toboggans can reach speeds of 50 miles per hour as they slide 900 feet. Last used in 2003, Swallow Cliffs was also known as Terror Hill by local residents.

The last ice age created the "cliff" that the toboggan run is built upon. Glaciers formed moraines at this point in the country and glacial meltwater created the predecessor to Lake Michigan called Lake Chicago. Over time, the waters began to erode the moraines that were keeping the water in place. Over a period of about 3000 years, this meltwater drained Lake Chicago into the Mississippi River with a flow greater than today's Amazon River. The meltwater carved out the depressions known as the Sag that runs through this area. This cliff was actually the shore of Lake Chicago - you'll note in the photo that the land is flat once you get down from the top of Swallow Cliff. If there was a rise in the distance, that evidence would have proven this had been an ancient riverbed, but the land remains flat showing it was once a large body of water.

A private company wishes to create a winter park out of the old Swallow Cliffs Toboggan site. So perhaps once again in the winter, children and adults will experience "Terror Hill."

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