Moraine View – Tall Timber Trail

Our spirits were high when we set out to walk this 1.5 mile backpack trail in Moraine View this morning. Punchy and Bossy were excited to explore.

tall timber

Part one: the Tall Timber Trail. This is a beautiful, peaceful, easy hike. The timbers are truly tall, and the chirping of birds is all that can be heard once you’re in the woods. There are ten marked tent camping spots to choose from, if that’s your thing.

We reminded our children about the first rule of nature: take only pictures, leave only footprints. Punchy said “I am not going to take this rock. I’m going to leave it here so a chicken can eat it.” (We did not see any chickens on our hike.)


The trail has two pretty footbridges that go over what is, right now, a glorified puddle. At some points in the year, it is probably an actual stream.


Last week J told the boys that the gurgling of water was one of her favorite sounds in the world. That must have made an impression on Bossy, who said “Mommy, I heard your favorite sound! A frog giggled!”

Part two: the Trail of Snails

of this one, Punchy said “His ears are out!”

There were tiny snails all over this trail. It was bizarre. Punchy found the first one and was heartbroken that we wouldn’t let him keep it. “I just want to pick that snail up and keep it forever,” he said. “I just love snails.”

We were all interested in the first, oh…two or three snails. The next 997 snails we found were less interesting for J and A, but increasingly interesting to Punchy and Bossy. By the end, mommy was nudging snails off the trail so the boys wouldn’t notice them and force us all to examine another one.


Part three: The Trail of Tears

At 1.5 miles, this trail was just a little too long for Punchy and Bossy, who had stayed up late watching a movie the night before. A tried to institute a quiet “nature minute” to staunch the whining, but Punchy interrupted by saying “I have something really important. Are bees real?”

By the end, we were all frazzled. J had Punchy on her hip while A gave Bossy a ride on his shoulders. We were happy to see our car at the end.

Experience 5/5

  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Bug spray is a MUST!

Kid-Friendly 3/5

  • Easy, well-maintained trails
  • An outhouse nearby (not that we use these because peeing on trees is FUN!)
  • Picnic areas and playgrounds
  • Safe
  • Slightly too long for little legs

Dog-Friendly 5/5

  • A water pump near the entrance and exit for thirsty pups
  • Easy trails

Moraine View & Tanglewood Self-Guided Nature Trail

003There is nothing better than Memorial Day weekend. Beautiful weather, an extra day off work, and the whole summer before you, full of possibility.

It was with that optimism that we set forth for our first family hike today, and decided to finally start the blog we talked about all last summer and never actually did.

So where to? Moraine View in Le Roy, Illinois is one of our favorite locations. Moraine View boasts boating, camping, a beach, Lake Dawson, and many hiking trails to choose from. We headed straight to the Tanglewood Nature Trail because it’s J’s favorite.

The Tanglewood Nature Trail is a short (half mile), circular trail with clear paths that make it great for kids. Hikers start out covered by a forest canopy, walking along a dirt path. Our hike got off to an exciting start because both of our dogs took a poop. This is welcome entertainment for both of our children: Punchy and Bossy.


After walking through the woods a bit and crossing a picturesque bridge, the trail opens up into classic Illinois Prairie.

“Isn’t this where we saw those people doin’ it last year?” J asked A. A confirmed that yes, they were either pre or post coital, right over yonder on a blanket.

While the kids started whining that grass was touching their calves, A surveyed the land. “See? If sh*t goes down like the Handmaid’s Tale, we can come out here and live off the land until everything blows over.” A looked at J, perhaps expecting relief to cross her face. J scoffed and preemptively complained about the bugs.

Just about the time Punchy started begging for someone to pick him up, we got to the best part of the trail: The floating bridge.002

J has done a lot of naturing in herlife and has never seen a floating bridge like this. It’s a highlight for our family because it lets you get up close and personal with frogs, marsh, cattails and pond scum.

Almost immediately, we heard the telltale sounds of frogs splashing into their hiding spots.

“GUYS!” screams Punchy. “GUYS!’ He repeats, at the top of his lungs. “Sshhhhh. Be Quiet. We don’t want to scare the frogs.” 10-4, Punchy.

there is a frog – look closely

While we all sway and watch the frogs, A gets a little anxious and grips the dog leashes tightly, remembering that Little Dog fell in the water last year while attempting to sniff one of the aforementioned frogs.

All in all, it was a great morning. We strongly recommend Moraine View for nature lovers and and hikers alike.

Experience 5/5

  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Camping
  • Boating

Kid-Friendly 5/5

  • Easy, well-maintained trails
  • An outhouse nearby
  • Picnic areas and playgrounds

Dog-Friendly 5/5

  • A water pump near the entrance and exit for thirsty pups
  • Easy trails