Pedestal Rocks and Kings Bluff Trails
Best known for its funky rock formations, this nearly 4-mile loop has a bunch of scenic views along two trails, including the overlook of the Illinois Bayous basin. Just three-quarters-of-a mile into Kings Bluff Trail is a fenced off overlook with wide views of the setting sun. It’s less than a mile to get here, so bring a flashlight. The rest of the hike could be spent in the dark. The trail picks up to the left of the bluff and connects with the Pedestal Rocks Trail. Look for the trails’ key features like Arch Rock.
Where to Snap a Photo: The overlook onto the Illinois Bayou basin
Distance: 2.5 hours south of Springfield
Centerpoint to Goat Trail
Big Bluff is the tallest bluff face between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains, giving it an upper hand as one of the most beautiful spots to watch the sun go down. There is a caveat though: To get to the bluff, you have to start on Centerpoint Trail, which dives 1,000 feet in elevation. From there, veer right to pick up the Goat Trail, which leads to Big Bluff. The total hike to get to Big Bluff is just over 3 miles, and it hikes mostly through the woods, meaning the hike back is vigorous. But for the jaw-dropping views of the Buffalo River, the 6-mile roundtrip is worth it.
Where to Snap a Photo: Big Bluff
Distance: 2 hours south of Springfield