Buffalo Rock State Park

Place Category: Ecology, Geology, Nature & Outdoor Recreation, Birding, and Nature Sites

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    So named because (legend has it) the area once served as a “blind canyon” where Indians ran buffalo for capture, this 298-acre park has long been a natural favorite. Much of Buffalo Rock State Park is set high atop sandstone bluff carved by the young Illinois River just after the end of the Pleistocene epoch. Two park trails, the River Bluff Trail and the Woodland Trail, offer hikers spectacular views of the Illinois River and the surrounding forest. One of the most prominent displays of outdoor sculpture anywhere exists here in a collection called the Effigy Tumuli, executed by artist Michael Heizer. As a tribute to the ancient Native American tradition of sculpting massive plant and animal forms along with their burial mounds (called tumuli), Heizer used heavy equipment to sculpt 5 animal images: a water strider, a turtle, a catfish (770 feet long), a frog (140 feet long), and a snake (2,070 feet long).

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