by Jerry Neff

To explore , enjoy and protect.  These are the first words of Sierra Club’s motto that states our mission.  As our outings leader, I want to make each one of our outings live up to our motto.  I want our outings to be more than just a walk in the park.  It’s always fun to explore new places so my goal is to find places that most of our group may not be familiar with.  And we want to have fun.  I don’t want our hike to be a test of endurance.  On the other hand I like to have to some challenges of our abilities so when we finish we can look at each other and say, Wow! that was really fun or I’m glad I decided to come.  So there is a narrow balance between making the outing too easy and rather dull, or too difficult.

Selecting the right place, the right time of the year and hoping for good weather is a real challenge for the outing leader, especially when the Club’s rule is “the outing will be held rain or shine,” with the exception of visible lightning or a severe weather warning.

On September 26 our fall outing will be at the Illinois Palisades State Park just north of Savanna.  This park is quite hilly with great views of the Mississippi River from high cliffs.  We will be hiking two trails, the Sunset Trail and the Sentinel Trail.  Each trail is about a mile long with some short sections of steps.  Hiking poles or sticks are recommended.  I use a broom stick.

Plan to arrive at the park  about noon.  Enter the park at the south park entrance and drive to the Look Out Point Overlook.  Watch for the signs. Bring a sack lunch to the Look Out Point Overlook.  From here we will hike the Sunset Trail.  We then drive to the Sentinel Trailhead near the south park entrance.  Fill your water bottles at the spring before we begin our hike to the Sentinel.  This trail takes us to the highpoint where we can look down on the Sentinel, a 90 foot tall column of rock where we might see climbers.  We will then return to the trail head and a short walk takes us to the base of the Sentinel.  No climbing will be allowed on this outing.

For this outing we will meet at the Look Out Point in the park rather than carpooling from the Quad Cities, so arrange rides with friends in advance.  I rate difficulty of this outing to be moderate to strenuous.  For more information, call Jerry at 563 332 5373 or cell 563 508 2513.

Register for this event here.

Photo by moistpics3 [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons



  1. Roberta Shadensack

    Jerry, It sounds great but I have to pass on this hike. When you say it is strenuous I’m sure
    it would be VERY strenuous for me. Thanks for your leadership and skill.
    Roberta Shadensack


    1. Jerry Neff

      I’m sorry Roberta, that you won’t be coming. Some of the trails are pretty steep in some sections. Safety first. Jerry


  2. kelly morris

    Jerry, You might want to check out the conditions of the trails before you go.I have been up there a couple of times this summer and Sunset Trail had a a rather sizeable chunk closed off because of some issues with the stairs and other things that the park decided made it inaccessible/dangerous. I dont know if thats been resolved but I just wanted to give you a heads up.
    ps There is a new movie coming out based on the book “A Walk in the Woods” a rather humerous account of a hiking experience on the Appalachian Trail you might enjoy!


    1. Jerry Neff

      Kelly, thanks for heads up warning. I was up there this summer and walked both trails and except for being a bit overgrown it was OK. I will give them a call. Jerry



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