Salt Lick Point is a favorite hike of ours on the Illinois side of the metro area. This hike is located on a former quarry site in Valmeyer, Illinois. In fact you can even spy interesting old remainders of this site’s former life.
The preserve consists of three different trails. We like to make a loop by hiking a portion of the Salt Lick Trail along the bluffs, continuing along on a section of the Newman Trail, and then completing the loop by hiking the Johnson Trail which travels along the base of the rugged bluffs.
The first part of the Salt Lick Trail will get your heart rate up as it does involve a moderate climb to reach the top of the bluffs.
Before you know it, the trail will flatten out and soon you will be rewarded with spectacular views across the flood plain.
There is a portion of the trail soon after with a sign pointing left for a scenic overlook or right for a bypass. The scenic overlook is a bit too overgrown for much of a view and if you go this way, it is a bit steep on the way back down to rejoin the trail. There is a cable to hold on to though. Your kids might find adventurous at least!
Keep on following the main trail and there will be several more view points with better views. If you feel in need of a break, there are benches and signs explaining features of the area at the Salt Lick trail junction with the Newman Trail.
You can either stay on the Salt Lick trail and loop back that way to the trailhead or follow the Newman trail to the base of the bluffs. If you do follow the rest of the Salt Lick trail, just be warned you will have to hike a small portion on the road to return to the parking lot.
We prefer to take the Newman trail to connect to the scenic Johnson Trail. The Newman trail descends fairly quickly to the base of the bluffs where it joins the Johnson Trail at the edge of farm field. The views along the Johnson Trail are also great as you get to view the ruggedness of the bluffs and interesting rocks from the bottom.
The Johnson Trail is also a good place for wildflower viewing in early spring.
Continue to admire the views as you follow the easy and flat Johnson Trail back to the parking area. You will pass the old stone quarry building as shown in the first photo of the post. If you decide to take a closer look, please do so with caution. Since every good hiker deserves ice cream, head down the road a little ways to the old General Store in quaint and historic Maeystown for some sweet treats as a delicious way to finish the day.