Rising Above the Mississippi

View Over the Sentinels
Rising up from the usually flat lands of Iowa and Illinois, the bluffs of the Mississippi Palisades State Park offer a unique look back into the geologic history of northern Illinois.  Referred to as the driftless area, this small portion Illinois was spared from the scouring action of the glaciers during the last ice age.  Because the glaciers did not flatten this area, most of the old geology is still visible here, including tall bluffs and rock cliffs.

Situated right next to the Mississippi River, the cliffs offer sweeping views of the mighty river, and the surrounding landscape. And in the winter, the lack of leaves on the trees allows visitors to see a bit more of the view in areas not generally known for good views.

Over the Mississippi

It's interesting to see how the Mississippi River changes the low lying areas around it. Rain, snow, and drought all shape these areas, and it's never been the same on any of my visits. The area is home to countless birds including white pelicans and bald eagles, all commonly seen in the trees across the river.

Mississippi River Wetlands

The lack of leaves on this visit helped us find a rock structure called The Sentinels. The trail up was surprisingly icy in some areas, preventing easy access to the overlook, but we were able to carefully make it to the top where the view was beautifully framed by the surrounding trees.

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