Continuing on in my Adventures in southern Illinois series, I am venturing to Union County and the neighboring area. Union County features a large portion of our wine trail and has a lot of beautiful hills and valleys. I strongly suggest that if you haven’t watched a sunset in Alto Pass, you should.
SHAWNEE CANOPY TOURS | MAKANDA, IL
Deep in the woods is Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours, where you zipline from tree to tree. I would NOT suggest driving a sportscar – I was very glad to be cruising in a Jeep. Call ahead to make your reservation. Not Union County technically, but geographically extremely close.
ROOT BEER SALOON | ALTO PASS, IL
What is a root beer saloon? Oh, just a bar with only root beer! Open limited hours, this “bar” has different root beer on tap. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to get strawberry shortcake – which is SUPER AMAZING BY THE WAY. The owner also builds/sells his own brand of eco-friendly guitars and collects unique items. The only time to know you’ll make it in time is to make sure to visit during one of their cookouts.
On Saturday, July 27 & Sunday, July 28, it’s “Salmon and Trout Weekend.” Must have high tolerance for taxidermy. There’s a lot of it.
BALD KNOB CROSS OF PEACE | ALTO PASS, IL
Bald Knob Cross is a well-known location for the annual Blessing of the Bikes in which motorcyclists from many areas visit. It is at the top of Mt. Bald Knob, and you can see the forest and valleys below you. There is also a gift shop and a “hiking trail” you can trek. I say this with quotes because my experience is, hike down, turn around, go back up very steep hill. WEAR BOOTS. Very glad I had mine on.
HISTORIC BELL HILL | ALTO PASS, IL
With all the nearby wineries, it might be wise to plan to stay at a B&B. There are numerous cool B&Bs to stay in Alto Pass alone. Historic Bell Hill is just one of them.