Pack your bags for the past. ILLINOISouth is home to many great historic sites and museums and makes the perfect day trip. Whether you are a history enthusiast or want to teach the kids about the past, check out these great trip ideas. The first trip idea is in our Western Region to explore all that the Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail has to offer.
The Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail
The Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail can be traced back 8,000 years where the trail was mainly used for trade, social and religious purposes. Small villages and cities quickly began growing with forts and settlements along the route building so much history as they went. There are several attractions that still exist today along the path and make great stops to learn more about the land and who inhibited it.
The first stop along the KC Trail is Ellis Grove where visitors can see Fort Kaskaskia and the Pierre Menard Home. Fort Kaskaskia was constructed by the French in 1759 to defend the town of Kaskaskia. The fort only contains a three-room barrack and a kitchen because it was never fully completed. Today, guests can get a full understanding of the historic site with the remains of Fort Kaskaskia, Garrison Hill Cemetary, the Mississippi River overlook and picnic area, and a large campground.
No visit to the KC Trail would be complete without a stop in Prairie du Rocher. This small town is home to so many
historic sites and really embraces it’s heritage. Stops include a visit to the Creole House, St. Joeseph Church and the largest draw, Fort de Chartres. The fort marks the location of 4 previous constructed forts for the French army during the eighteenth-century colonization of the Illinois Country. Although many parts of the fort have been reconstructed and restored. Visitors can spend the day exploring the grounds and enjoying the recreational facilities also located on the grounds. Visitors flock to the area for several events that are hosted at the fort throughout the year, including:
- The Colonial Trade Faire and Musket & Rifle Picnic held in April
- Kid’s Day held in May
- Rendezvous held in June and November
- Several demonstrations held throughout the year
- French and Indian War Encampment held in October
Another stop along the Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail includes the city of Modoc where visitors enjoy the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Recreation Complex. The complex includes the Lock and Dam, Confluence Heritage Trail, Visitors Center and more. The Confluence Heritage Trail is a great stop for outdoor enthusiasts. It is a 1/2 mile loop primary used for hiking and walking and features amazing views of the river.
The last stop on the Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail that you
miss because of the history is the village of Maeystown. The entire village is on the National Register of Historic Places. This small German village is like taking a complete step back in the past with nineteenth-century storefronts, quaint restaurants and lodging, and a picturesque view of what Jacob
stubbled upon in 1852.