Salt Lick Point Land and Water Reserve is an area of land dedicated to the preservation of hill prairies and glades. Owned by the Village of Valmeyer, Illinois, the 600-acre reserve protects several threatened and endangered plant and animal species native to the region.
Visitors may hike the 2.9-mile Salt Lick and Johnson Trail Loop around the bluff, with a steep 452 ft elevation gain at the peak. Bring sturdy hiking shoes and some water for your hike! Once you finally reach the trail maximum, a beautiful view of the surrounding bottomlands awaits you.
Available Hiking Trails
- Salt Lick Point Trail, 1.8 miles (approximate)
- Johnson Trail, 1.3 miles (approximate)
- Newman Trail, 1.9 miles (approximate)
The Salt Lick Point Trail parking lot.
A park map, picnic table, and portable toilet are available near the trail entrance. Be sure to use the provided trail boot brushes to remove foreign contaminants as you enter and exit the trail. This is a protective measure to prevent any outside debris from disturbing the native species along your hike.
The site was once an agricultural limestone quarry, operating as Columbia Quarry No.3 during and proceeding World War I. Land purchased from the Iron Mountain Railroad in Valmeyer would be converted into an underground mining operation to produce chemical, agricultural, and highway stone. The decline of the railway transport industry in the 1970’s would eventually shutter production at this quarry. Truck transportation would take a decade to implement, leaving Columbia Quarry to focus on its other operations.
A view of the surrounding bottomlands. A nearby bench assists out-of-breath hikers after ascending the steep initial climb.
A panorama of the surrounding region viewable from the Scenic Overlook. Click on the above image for an enlarged view.
As you descend from the peak along Johnson Trail, you will find yourself traversing a vernal wetland. Vernal wetlands are seasonal pools of shallow waters that provide habitat for plants and animals.
An abandoned quarry building located near the parking lot and base of the trail system.
Salt Lick Point Reserve is a beautiful local gem featuring a steep hike to observe an incredible view of Illinois bottomlands. The climb can be challenging at times, but your efforts will be rewarded with an epic view of the surrounding area.
While you are in the area I recommend taking a scenic 15-minute drive East to visit Waterloo, Illinois. With an ideal elevation and close proximity to the Mississippi River, the city of Waterloo was initially settled by the French in the 1700’s and is rich with early American history. Located close by is the historic French stronghold Fort de Chartres, which hosts an annual two-day Rendezvous festival to highlight French and Native American frontier culture. While regular flooding by the Mississippi River has put most of the fort into ruin, some original sections remain and many areas have been reconstructed throughout the years. This year marks the festival’s 51st annual event, celebrating the Fort de Chartres’ 300-year anniversary.
Downtown Waterloo features several craft restaurants and plenty of historical tours. There you will find one of my favorite local breweries, Hopskeller Brewing Company. Try Ahne’s Homemade Pretzel and the Midnight Rambler pizza, they’re phenomenal!
Salt Lick Point Land and Water Reserve – Valmeyer, IL 62295
Fort de Chartres – 2006, 1350 State Rte 155, Prairie Du Rocher, Illinois 62277
Hopskeller Brewing Company – 116 E 3rd St, Waterloo, Illinois 62298
Camera Technical Info: Fujifilm x100V