PHOTO: The Mill Springs Trail at Franklin Creek State Natural Area in Franklin Grove is wheelchair accessible. This easy path makes it possible for visitors with various levels of mobility to enjoy nature's beauty. (Photos by Andrea Mills for Sauk Valley Media)
The Mill Springs Trail wends throughout the state park – but this is no ordinary park trail. The paved concrete walkway smooths out all the rough edges found in nature: no roots to trip over, no mud to slide in, no hills to climb. You can even walk it in your Sunday best shoes, but I would recommend them only if they’re comfortable.
The trail is even wheelchair accessible, allowing people of all mobility levels a chance to enjoy nature.
This trail is a favorite of mine. I took it recently with my family, walking along the shady path when the late spring flowers were still in bloom. Franklin Creek flows throughout the park and runs alongside the trail, helping set the scene for a peaceful walk. The concrete trail lends itself to leisurely strolls or brisk strides. The secret though is to take your time and go slowly so you can notice more of the hidden beauty in the woods.
As the trail winds down, visitors will know they’re at the end of the trail when they see a spring. Once there, explorers can return along the same pathway.
For the more adventurous, 4 1/2 miles of trails let hikers get to know the woods better. Pioneer Pass is particularly beautiful, and it’s recommended by the park district website.
Those with horses can enjoy 12 miles of equestrian trails, courtesy of the Rock River Trail and Horseman’s Association. Restrooms and drinking water are available in the equestrian area.